Bit of a public stoning going on in the National Association of Evangelicals. Result: Richard Cizik (pictured), a vice president of the NAE for 28 years and the man who pushed the organization into recognizing global warming in 2007, has resigned in disgrace. Here's a time-line:
1. The NAE used to be headed up by Ted Haggard until he was caught in 2006 hiring a male prostitute. Since being gay is considered far worse than being drug-addicted, Haggard blamed it all on an uncontrollable taste for methamphetamines.
2. Early in 2007, Cizik was the main leader and spokesman when the NAE adopted a "creation care" stance that acknowledged global warming as a Christian issue. For this new environmentalism among evangelicals, Time magazine named Cizik one of 100 most influential people, while James Dobson, Tony Perkins, and 23 other conservative Republican Christian mullahs condemned Cizik as an agent of Satan.
3. Last week (Dec. 2), during an appearance on NPR's "Fresh Air" with Terry Gross, Gross asked him, "A couple of years ago when you were on our show, I asked you if you were changing your mind on [gay marriage]. And two years ago, you said you were still opposed to gay marriage. But now as you identify more with younger voters, would you say you have changed on gay marriage?"
Cizik responded, "I'm shifting, I have to admit. In other words, I would willingly say that I believe in civil unions. I don't officially support redefining marriage from its traditional definition, I don't think."
Cizik also said he had voted for Obama in the primaries. And said he was in favor of the government supplying contraceptives to reduce unintended pregnancies.
4. All hell broke loose. Among others crying "heretic" was Nixon hatchet-man and ex-Watergate felon Chuck Colson, whose Prison Fellowship is a member of the NAE.
5. Cizik dutifully put on sackcloth, poured ashes over his head, and confessed that he never meant that he would/could EVER approve of gay marriage. Or of abortion.
6. This past Wednesday night, having spent days on his knees in the snow, Cizik bowed to the hard hearts in the NAE and submitted his resignation, thus saving his fellow evangelicals from any hint that these pious people might include gays as part of the Body of Christ.