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    New Green Bible creates controversy

    In this day and age, you can buy a green bible aimed at almost any demographic imaginable. There are Bibles for everyone from toddlers to teenage girls to recovering addicts. There are even Bibles on disc, narrated by James Earl Jones and Johnny Cash.
    But it's the recently published Green Bible that is causing a stir in the religious community.
    Supporters of the book, which highlights verses related to what believers call "God's creation" and his desire for humans to protect it, say they hope it will encourage more Christians, particularly evangelicals, to embrace environmentalism.
    "In every book of the Bible, there are references to the world and how we should take care of it," said Rusty Pritchard, editor of Creation Care Magazine, an eco-friendly publication for evangelicals. "When you look at it through that lens, it really jumps out at you . . . that God is calling us to care for the world around us."
    But others fear the new Bible, which has been endorsed by secular groups such as the Sierra Club and the Humane Society, will mislead Christians.
    "I am concerned that many who call themselves Christians, or intend to speak for Christianity, don't interpret the Bible literally," said James Taylor, a founding elder and Sunday-school teacher at Living Water Christian Fellowship in Palmetto, Fla. "These groups don't have a religious focus; they have a desire to spread their environmental message."
    Taylor, who is also a senior fellow of environmental policy at the Heartland Institute, a conservative Chicago-based think tank, said there is a healthy amount of "skepticism" among mainstream evangelicals toward the new Bible.
    The debate over the Green Bible's virtues and weaknesses underscores the growing tension within the evangelical community: those who think Christians should be embracing environmental causes as part of their stewardship, and those who worry that such activism distracts believers from their mission to literally follow and spread the word of God.
    Creation Care

    Although some Christians and many progressive churches have long embraced conservationism, others - particularly evangelicals - have historically shied away, viewing it as a "liberal" cause rooted in politics and questionable science.
    But there has been a growing shift in the past year or two, with evangelicals supporting environmentalism in much greater numbers, in a movement they generally call Creation Care. It is simply defined as caring for what believers say is God's creation by stopping or preventing harmful activities.
    Those who do so believe they are following the will of God.
    The effort has received strong support from such prominent theologians as the Rev. Richard Cizik, former head of the National Association of Evangelicals, who has said that Christians had a Biblical mandate to take care of the Earth and that climate change was a crisis that needed to be addressed immediately.
    Cizik, who held his position with the Evangelical Association for nearly three decades, resigned this month amid controversy over remarks in support of gay civil unions. But his supporters already are urging the association to continue his broad-based Christian agenda.

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