Katharine Hayhoe brings climate change message to Christian TV viewers

Katharine Hayhoe brings climate change message to Christian TV viewers

By Steve Valk

In a tremendous breakthrough for climate change communication, Dr. Katharine Hayhoe and her husband Andrew Farley were interviewed last week for a report on the Christian Broadcasting Network’s 700 Club, a program whose audience is predominantly conservative, evangelical Christians.

Watch the segment here (notice the footage from CCL’s conference last month):

The most effective part of the interview, I thought, was the comments of Rev. Farley, pastor of Ecclesia: Church Without Religion in Lubbock, Texas. A convert of sorts on climate change, he did not accept the science when the two were first married:

“Whether it’s ‘save the whales’ or ‘hug the trees’ or ‘eat granola,’ ‘wear hemp,’ ‘bathe in a stream,'” Farley said. “Along came this issue of climate change and I lumped it in with everything else.”

It took two years, but Hayhoe’s patience and persistence paid off:

“Her determination to show me the facts and then, quite frankly, going to NASA’s website and looking at global temperature over the last 200 years and just saying, ‘Look what’s happened: here’s this spike; it’s undeniable.’ Either all of NASA is duped or maybe there’s some validity to this thing,” Farley said.

As one might expect, CBN caught a lot of heat from some of their regular viewers. A comment on their Facebook post:

“I was so disappointed to see that you would have someone on your program promoting Climate change. Not one thing they said is true. The liberal media is promoting this and the true facts are being hidden so as to make their point look real. i AM VERY, VERY DISAPPOINTED IN THE 700 CLUB FOR PUTTING THIS ON THEIR SHOW.”

Dr. Hayhoe gave us a little background in a message she sent late last week:

Apparently when Gordon Robertson replaced his father Pat at the 700 Club, he decided to make some changes – one of which was to start talking about climate change and creation care. However, the interview he did with Andrew & I yesterday, followed by his own commentary about extinctions and caring for God’s creation, raised such vitriol that CBN had to issue an official statement on their Facebook page!

I think they need to know there are people out there who support them and welcome their change of heart, and what better network than CCL to get people to weigh in?

We issued a plea for help, noting that the best ways to show your support were to:

Our volunteers responded in droves with well over 100 comments on CBN’s Facebook post. It’s a safe bet that CBN will have Hayhoe on again and continue to talk about climate change from the perspective of “caring for God’s creation.”

Having been exposed to America’s most persuasive climate change communicator — and with the prospects good that they’ll hear from her again — it’s only a matter of time before CBN’s viewers make the same leap of faith that Rev. Farley did.

Steve Valk
Steve Valk is Communications Coordinator for Citizens' Climate Lobby. Steve joined the CCL staff in 2009 after a 30-year career with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter at @valklimate.