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Date Permissions Signed
Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Neff, Mark W.
Whitley, Cameron T.
As the effects of climate change become more severe, many environmentalists push for federal climate policy to limit greenhouse gas emissions. However, no federal climate policy has amassed enough support to pass, largely because of America’s contentious political climate. White evangelical Christians, who are often Republican, trend toward climate change skepticism and climate policy opposition. They comprise 25% of voters in the United States (National Election Pool, 2016). Therefore, climate policies must have bipartisan appeal to pass. Policy makers may generate bipartisan appeal through creative framing of climate policy that emphasizes more than just the environmental benefits of climate change mitigation. In this study, I interviewed 25 evangelical Christians in Arkansas to better understand their beliefs about climate change and policy. I tested four frames of a renewable energy policy that centered on Christian stewardship, national security, economic opportunity, and recreation. Results from the study found evangelical Christians attributed climate change to a wide number of sources: humans, natural causes, God’s will, and a mix of these. Many participants had moderate to high support for renewable energy policy; for some, support did change with policy frames. Results revealed that evangelical Christians’ climate policy concerns are often rational, nuanced, and reflect concerns of other groups. The study suggested that believing human activities are the overwhelming or exclusive cause of climate change may not be a necessary precondition for evangelical Christian support of climate policy. Yet political allegiances, cultural norms, and theology limit evangelicals’ political support for climate policy and the politicians promoting it. These results suggest that increased evangelical support for climate policy may be possible through better policy framing and allyship between environmentalists and evangelicals.
climate policy, evangelical Christianity, policy framing
Western Washington University
Subject – LCSH
Evangelistic work--Arkansas River Valley; Climatic changes--Government policy; Christians--Arkansas River Valley; Climatic changes--Religious aspects
Arkansas River Valley
Academic theses; Demographic surveys
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Tursky, Sydne, "Faith in a Changing Climate: Policy Framing and Southern Evangelical Christian Views on Climate Policy" (2022). WWU Graduate School Collection. 1097.