For how long of a period can one group — say environmentalists — be described as in the process of “gaining a new ally” — call ’em evangelicals? If it was a small-town local rag looking for filler stories, the counterintuitive hook — Bible-thumpers and tree-huggers get together! — could probably still seem fresh months after it was reported in the larger papers. In the paper of record, however, which has run its share of “scoops” all this past year on the growing publicity for the environmental involvement of religious groups like the National Association of Evangelicals, a story like Michael Janofsky’s “When Cleaner Air is a Biblical Obligation,” seems a little past its shelf date. At this point, the novelty-value of the alliance is stale, as are Janofsky’s conclusions: some evangelicals still feel funny about the Sierra Club; Repulicans may have to keep evangelical environmentalists in mind come ’08. What wouldn’t be stale about the story though would be a genuine and thorough investigation of what it really means to have traditionally conservative groups and traditionally liberal groups try to combine their weight on one issue, while keeping their other, divergent positions on the back burner, and what both parties intend to do when gay marriage, abortion, and all the other social issues that define them, inevitably creep into the discussions of “creation care”?