ATLANTA, March 10 (UPI) -- A group of influential members of the U.S. Southern Baptist Convention are criticizing their denomination for being "too timid" in confronting global warming.
In an about-face from a resolution passed last year, 44 Southern Baptist leaders released a declaration Monday calling for more action on the issue of climate change, The New York Times reports.
Signers of the document include convention President the Rev. Frank Page and two past presidents.
The document urges ministers to preach more about the environment and for all Baptists to keep an open mind about considering environmental policy.
With more than 16 million members, the Southern Baptist Convention is the largest denomination in the United States after the Roman Catholic Church.
For years the group's Washington policy director, the Rev. Richard Cizik, has been pressing for more action on the issue of climate change, CNN reports.
Last year several conservative evangelicals signed a letter urging that Cizik rein in his views or be encouraged to resign.