Evangelical sportsmen

EVANGELICAL SPORTSMEN … “Do you consider yourself an evangelical Christian?” On first reflection, that might seem an odd question to have been included in the National Wildlife Federation’s recent poll of sportsmen’s attitudes toward global warming.

Yet, 50 percent of American hunters and anglers identified as evangelical.

One enduring story has been that of evolving partnerships on green issues. In February, for instance, the Evangelical Climate Initiative announced that 86 evangelical leaders had signed a statement declaring climate change a moral issue. In early June, Sierra Club executive director Carl Pope and United Steelworkers president Leo Gerard christened a Blue-Green Alliance to address workplace hazards, alternative energy, and job creation. Last week, Sierra Club president Lisa Renstrom trekked to Lake Charles, La. for a national meeting of hook and bullet writers.

Typically these stories are covered as: environmentalists find a new ally.

But that overlooks the extent to which groups, motives, and identities already overlap. 20 percent of Sierra Club members are hunters. Half of sportsmen are evangelicals. The most popular section of the Steelworkers’ magazine is the hunting and fishing section. Most people aren’t drawn to green issues for a single reason, and concerns traditionally labeled environmental aren’t only environmental.

UPDATE: In response to a query: the NWF poll was conducted by Mark Duda of Responsive Management, whose niche is outdoor recreation.