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Articles by Brian Palmer

Brian Palmer covers science and medicine for Slate.

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This story was originally published by Slate and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

In 2007, the Reverend Joel Hunter formed a creation care team at his Northland evangelical megachurch in central Florida. “Creation care” describes a movement within the U.S. Christian community to better steward God’s creation, aka the Earth — it is, in short, environmentalism for the faithful. Many embraced Hunter’s initiative. Many did not.

“What are you doing? Are you going liberal on us?” Hunter remembers some of his congregants complaining.

Ten years later, Hunter left Northland. His gentle push toward environmental responsibility wasn’t the only factor in his departure — Hunter also urged his congregation to consider its views on racism, gun violence, and homophobia, especially in light of the Pulse nightclub shooting that killed 49 people not far from the church’s campus. But his environmentalist nudge certainly contributed to the overall perception that Hunter no longer held the same views as his congregants.

Environmentalism and American evangelicals are like oil and water. Joel Hunter was one of a small number of high-profile leade... Read more