Long an important primary voting bloc for the Republican Party, the National Association of Evangelicals -- a broad coalition that represents 30 million Christians across the U.S. -- is pushing to expand the traditional movement's agenda on sexual morality to include such issues as climate change and human rights.
Last year more than 100 prominent pastors, theologians and college presidents signed an Evangelical Climate Initiative calling for action on the issue.
However, not all Christian evangelicals are convinced they should be focusing on climate change.
Last month, a coalition of Christian leaders including James C. Dobson, chairman of Focus on the Family; Gary L. Bauer, president of Coalitions for America and once a GOP presidential candidate; Tony Perkins, president of the family Research Council; and Paul Weyrich, chairman of American Values sent a letter to the National Association of Evangelicals urging it's policy director in Washington, D.C., to stop speaking out on global warming.
After years of languishing in a political no-man's land on Capitol Hill, environmentalists said climate change is beginning to be taken seriously by politicians.
The House of Representatives voted last month to create a new congressional committee, devoted solely to addressing the issue of global warming.
Forty-four of the votes came from House Republicans, who signed on to the creation of the new Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.
"Global warming may be the greatest challenge of our time," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a statement released to media following the vote.
Environmentalists see it as a sign that in the last year, the controversial debate over whether global warming is happening is over.
"The debate has shifted to what exactly we're going to do to tackle it," said David Willett of the Sierra Club.
Environmental groups said 2006 midterm exit polling found that global warming could begin to be an issue that voters take to the voting booth.
Half of Americans who voted in the midterm elections said concern about global warming made a difference in who they voted for on Election Day 2006, according to a postelection exit poll by Zogby International.
"Some of the most anti-environment members of Congress were sent packing and were replaced by some very forward-thinking environmentally-friendly candidates," said Julia Bovey of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
"It was a wake-up call to politicians that this is something the American public feels strongly about," said Bovey.
Other environmental groups expect more and more politicians will go greener in order to appeal to mainstream voters.
"The trend is the same. They're seeing the same poll numbers and they all have to get reelected," said Willett.