Evangelical Group Claims Radical Environmentalism Pro-Life

Opinion   |   Ryan Bomberger   |   Feb 9, 2012   |   6:18PM   |   Washington, DC

In a “prolife” campaign to support new rules from the EPA, the Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN) makes the claim that “one in six children are born with harmful mercury levels in their blood.”

The EEN thanks pro-abortion legislators for supporting the new Mercury and Air Toxic Standards (MATS) and regards them as prolife for endorsing the controversial rules. The alarming statistic of 700,000 babies annually born to such avoidable risk should be a call to action.

If only it were true.

They go on to state “we are called by our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, to love our neighbors and do unto others as they would have them do unto us.”

I agree wholeheartedly on that, but we’re also called, as Christians, not to bear false witness.

The most vocal opposition to the EEN’s campaign and ideology is the Cornwall Alliance, a coalition of scientists, academics, policy experts, and religious leaders ”committed to bringing a proper and balanced biblical view of stewardship to the critical issues of environment and development.” Yesterday they released another statement about the EEN’s and EPA’s potentially destructive and politically driven efforts.

I’m all about taking care of God’s creation. I grew up in the country, on a sustainable farm—one that sustained my adoptive family of fifteen (note: many of us were spared from abortion). In the zeal to care for creation, however, it seems the EEN has embraced the emotional over the evidential.  Last fall, they launched a TV, radio, and billboard campaign devoid of scientific consensus, that claims politicians with 100% pro-abortion voting records can somehow be considered prolife because of their support of the EPA’s new anti-mercury MATS.

Their campaign and their rhetoric render “prolife” meaningless.  More disturbing, however, is that EEN’s funding (in part) comes from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, an unambiguously pro-abortion organization. The “philanthropy” has funded other pro-abortion organizations such as the Global Fund For Women, The Aspen Institute, Tides Center and many other population control organizations. Perhaps EEN executives were dealing with mercury-induced impairment to notice where their money was coming from.

Abortion is a far more menacing threat to unborn children. It’s effect results in death…every time…1.21 million times a year to be exact. I don’t see or hear the EPA worrying about the fatal risk to those unborn children. EPA Director Lisa Jackson is more alarmed by the 3,345 annual deaths caused by asthma (which she claims is caused by the environment, where science claims it’s genetic).

Thankfully, the Cornwall Alliance and Senator Inhofe have been challenging the EPA and the EEN on their unfounded assertions. In a recent press statement, Inhofe charges: “I find it extremely ironic that Rev. Mitchell Hescox and the Evangelical Environmental Network think that the pro-life agenda is best aligned with a movement that believes there are too many people in the world, actively promotes population control, and sees humans principally as polluters.”

The EEN, throughout their website and printed material, cite the National Research Council (NRC) and the CDC, yet both sources completely contradict the EEN’s claims. For instance, the 2000 NRC report estimated that 60,000 U.S. children are born each year at risk to adverse effects of mercury exposure. Where did the EEN come up with the other 640,000 babies?

It’s called advocacy math. It’s not rooted in actual empirical data, but immersed in the political waters of activism. The EEN, in its zeal to support the frequently unscientific EPA, has taken a legitimate issue (concern for harmful exposure to toxins), hijacked “prolife” terminology, and demanded that the public accept politics instead of proof.

The CDC, in its Mercury Fact Sheet, states: “Defining safe levels of mercury in blood continues to be an active research area.” You’d think from the EEN’s campaign, that their assertions are conclusive, and irrefutable, evidence.  The available data all seems to clearly contradict their mercury alarmism. The NRC report determined that a level of 85 µg/L (micrograms per liter) in the blood were associated with early neurodevelopmental effects. However, those individuals who were part of the CDC’s Fourth National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals study all had levels that were less than 33 µg/L.

I had an interesting email exchange with the EEN President, Rev. Mitchell Hescox, in an honest attempt to better understand their position, and specifically where the foundational data came from.

He pulled an Obama on me. When I pressed Rev. Hescox about what the harmful level of mercury was, he responded: “The dose level and sensitivity for mercury is above my paygrade.” Hescox and his organization launched a campaign for everyday people but couldn’t articulate in every day language the main premise and reason for alarm raised by the campaign.

He ended his remarks with the following statement: “Ryan, I suggest you are looking to find something that already matches your opinion and doesn’t seek the latest information in protecting the unborn.”

Sorry, Rev. Hescox. My life is dedicated to protecting the unborn. All I desire is to help set people free by illuminating the truth, using God’s Word as a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Tragically, it seems, some evangelicals have no problem leading people down the wrong path.