The following is from the March 10, 2008, edition of The San Diego Union-Tribune. SMU Political Science Professor Matthew Wilson provided expertise for this story.

Baptist group urges action on global warming

By Michael Conlon
Religion Writer

CHICAGO (REUTERS) – Prominent members of the Southern Baptist Convention said Monday that the church, the largest U.S. Protestant denomination, has been too timid to speak out against global warming and must start taking strong stands.

The statement marks a significant shift in the way one of the country's most conservative churches regards climate change. If the membership at large accepts it, there could be political implications since evangelical Christians are a significant base for the Republican Party which has been wary of taking action on the issue.

Environmental and climate changes “have not always been treated with pressing concern as major issues. Indeed some of us have required considerable convincing ...,” said a statement issued by 46 church members including the current and two former presidents of the 16-million-member denomination...

“This is a profound break with what they have said in the past. But it doesn't call for any specific policy remedy. And the positions of a church hierarchy often have much more political impact when the policy implication is clear than when it is ambiguous,” said Matthew Wilson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

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