NPR: An Evangelical Crusade To Go Green With God

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As the oil continues to spill in the Gulf of Mexico, what to do about off-shore drilling and the regulation of the oil industry is cause for debate in Congress and among coastal residents. Now add to this another dimension: religion.

The Southern Baptist Convention has used notably strong language to call on the government — and its own congregation — to work to prevent such a crisis again.

In a resolution, the Convention called on the government "to act determinatively and with undeterred resolve to end this crisis ... to ensure full corporate accountability for damages, clean-up and restoration ... and to ensure that government and private industry are not again caught without planning for such possibilities."

Dr. Russell Moore helped pass that resolution....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEnergy, Natural Resources--The 2010 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesBaptistsEvangelicals* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

12 Comments
Posted June 29, 2010 at 2:24 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Capt. Father Warren wrote:

If these Christians want to totally go “green” with God, then I suggest they use the tool given to them by our Lord Jesus Christ: Prayer!
And here is the prayer: “heavenly Father, we don’t want all this oil and coal screwing up the nice world you made for us.  So, please change the basis of our human chemistry from Carbon to some other element in the Periodic Table. “
There, now it’s out of our hands, into His.  If He transforms us, we will find some other basis for living.  If He does not then we have a green light (no pun intended) to keep on using oil.
What most folks don’t stop to realize is that as carbon based beings, we need carbon to live.  If the whole world generated electricity from nuclear reactors and ran ALL vehicles on water-palladium based fuel cells, we would still need CONSIDERABLE amounts of oil to produce all the chemicals to sustain life: paints, cosmetics, pharmacueticals, plastics, microelectronic chips, and on and on and on.
Or we could all go live in caves:  you first!

June 29, 7:59 pm | [comment link]
2. Jeremy Bonner wrote:

What has such dependence on fossil fuels to do with “responsibility and planning?” Governments do a lousy job of stewardship; they’re run by sinful people. Private corporations frequently do a lousy job of self-regulation; they’re also run by sinful people.

Praying for the conversion of the hearts and minds of those in authority so that they may order them aright is desirable. Recognizing that such conversion may take awhile and that some more imperfect form of behavior management may have to be imposed in the interim is simple prudence. Apparently the Southern Baptists get this (reinforced, no doubt, by the fact that it’s happening on their own doorstep).

June 30, 9:15 am | [comment link]
3. Capt. Father Warren wrote:

Ah, who gets to decide on whose behavior gets managed in what way?  Whether you intended to or not, spoken like a true Progressive!  Bravo!

June 30, 11:46 am | [comment link]
4. Jeremy Bonner wrote:

#3

If that’s spoken as a libertarian, then fine.

Otherwise, your statement is basically a cop-out, because we’re not debating here a specific proposed remedy, but an adjuration for a better system of regulation than the one that led to the present fiasco (starting perhaps with the less-than-stellar tradition of Louisiana regulation of the refining industry).

If it comes down to it, there is no such as an unbiased regulator any more than there is an unbiased business - both have a desire to survive and thrive.

As people on this blog have frequently pointed out, the smaller the business or regulator the more likely they are to take account of those in their charge (and those they immediately affect) because they can “see” them clearly; the larger they are, the less likely they are to be so discriminating. The principle of subsidiarity at work in the body politic. The bigger an enterprise grows the more likely the need for a counterweight in regulatory power, however imperfect.   

Such principles have always been implicit in Catholic Christianity and I would argue that they apply even if the regulators are not the perfectly converted people we would like them to be. Since I’m assuming you’re not saying that every business executive works from a Christian perspective, we can hardly rely on them always to do the right thing. 

Who decides? Well if we can’t regulate at all because we might get the degree of regulation wrong, then I suppose business gets to decide what its responsibilities are. During the 19th Century in my part of the world Andrew Carnegie and Henry Clay Frick got to decide. They built an impressive industrial complex that powered America’s industrial expansion and left some impressive cultural monuments (including Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Library) but they built it with workers whose living and working conditions (however much of an improvement they were on Europe) were not ones most of us would consider adequate. One has only to look at China today to see how regulation is a sacrificed to economic progress.

June 30, 12:16 pm | [comment link]
5. magnolia wrote:

capt, i don’t understand your comment.

we survived and indeed thrived as agrarians for hundreds of years without living in a cave. it was pretty much sustainable living although it was hard, i think we were a stronger people because of it.

“There, now it’s out of our hands, into His.  If He transforms us, we will find some other basis for living.  If He does not then we have a green light (no pun intended) to keep on using oil.”

ultimately He made the Internet too; that doesn’t mean all websites are healthy and good for us to look at. And… i doubt if He meant for us to ravage the planet without regard.

a less snarky tone might be a benefit for comments regarding this subject.

June 30, 12:32 pm | [comment link]
6. magnolia wrote:

you don’t have to be a liberal to love and care for and about God’s green earth. there are a lot of libs that i know personally who are quite ambivalent about living a more careful and sustainable lifestyle. thankfully a lot of conservatives are starting to share my own point of view. the catholic church is one and this article points to another.

June 30, 12:39 pm | [comment link]
7. Capt. Father Warren wrote:

we survived and indeed thrived as agrarians for hundreds of years without living in a cave.
Really?
1.  Life expectancy was about 40 yrs barring an accident
2.  Illness could be sudden and deadly…...i recall reading about a plague once….
3.  The curve of technical progress was essentially flat until the late 1700’s and zoomed in the 20th century
4.  In addition to quantity of life was an amazing jump in the quality of life
5.  My real point above was if the agrarian (in your words) lifestyle is so attractive, by all means go for it.  I probably will not follow you (unless forced to).  Down here on coastal Mississippi we like our AC in the summer.  We like lights at night and the convenience of personal transportation.
Again, if that is not your thing, fine by me.  But I don’t want some faceless authority “managing” me into your utopia.

June 30, 12:52 pm | [comment link]
8. magnolia wrote:

Really?
1.  Life expectancy was about 40 yrs barring an accident.
plenty of people lived longer than that especially after they figured out causations of illness.
2.  Illness could be sudden and deadly…...i recall reading about a plague once….
are you saying carbon would save us from a plague? we haven’t begun to be put to that test yet, even with all the medical ‘miracles’ resulting from carbon usage. beyond that, illnesses are now slow and deadly. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php? storyId=128155080. so i will have to differ with you on that one.
3.  The curve of technical progress was essentially flat until the late 1700’s and zoomed in the 20th century.
wow, so pollution and planetary degradation = progress?
4.  In addition to quantity of life was an amazing jump in the quality of life.
depends on your point of view i guess. i don’t see anyone that happy because they can buy a lot of crap from china. i will concede that some of it is good.
5.  My real point above was if the agrarian (in your words) lifestyle is so attractive, by all means go for it.
i don’t understand your extremist attitude but thanks for your sincere well wishes. i am doing the best i can with it.

June 30, 1:17 pm | [comment link]
9. magnolia wrote:

some final thoughts…
“Down here on coastal Mississippi we like our AC in the summer.  We like lights at night and the convenience of personal transportation.”

i like these things too but i don’t think we have to have nasty air to breathe or dirty water to drink or swim in to have them.

“But I don’t want some faceless authority “managing” me into your utopia.” i don’t have a vision of utopia on earth, only extremists believe in that.

but i was naive in trying to engage someone who obviously believes they know so much what is better for everyone that any differences of opinion are met with comments that are mainly either sarcastic or patronizing and elitist.

have fun swimming in the coastal waters this summer hope you catch a lot of fish, there will probably be quite a few floating round, turtles too.

sorry elves i couldn’t resist snark for snark.

June 30, 2:42 pm | [comment link]
10. Chris wrote:

magnolia, if you want to live the life of a neo Luddite, in a cave or some mud hut, fine.  just don’t expect the rest of us to go there.  and don’t try to cloak said lifestyle as anymore Christian than other people’s.

June 30, 2:46 pm | [comment link]
11. Capt. Father Warren wrote:

But Chris, you are not with the program.  If they are going to live in the cave, they want you there too.  That is the essence of liberalism, equal outcomes: everyone equally miserable.
I am with you bud, let them have the cave, I like the AC.  We crank it down to about 74, nice and cool and dry.  Even my boat has AC!

June 30, 8:54 pm | [comment link]
12. Sick & Tired of Nuance wrote:

I love Mississippi and want to retire there.

My denomination has been drifting green for a few years now and it has me concerned.  I am in favor of good stewardship of the land, water, and air.  I am a father and a hunter. I want my children to have no toxic Love Canals or flaming Cuyahoga Rivers.  I want fish and game to thrive.  Yet, I also want electric light, air conditioning, an automobile for personal transportation, etc.  In fact, I have severe obstructive sleep apnea.  Without a reliable source of electricity, I would most likely die of heart failure, stroke, or auto accident in short order.  There was a story in the paper just the other day of a person that had to have oxygen support dieing because the power company just shut off their power (over due bill).  Could you imagine how many folks pedaling generators it would take to have a simple x-ray?  How about an MRI?  I’ve been to those science museums with the pedal powered 100W light bulbs…it takes an awful lot of human power for just one light bulb.

The fact that “fossil” fuels are found in such vast quantities, miles and miles below the surface ought to inform folks that oil is abiotic in origin.  In fact, there is a lot of evidence that hydrocarbons are abundant on Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter, and some of the moons - all lifeless.  So why would Earth be singled out as not having inorganic hydrocarbons?

Also, there is a vast amount of evidence that the Earth had much more carbon in the atmosphere in the past.  As carbon increases in the atmosphere, plants breathe more of it in.  They love it. The more CO2, the more photosynthesis occurs…more sugar for them.  They actually become more efficient with higher levels of CO2 and also lose less water.  At nurseries, they actually ADD CO2 in the greenhouses to help the plants grow better!

So, what’s my point?  Responsible use of our God given resources is good.  Let the Al Gores of the world lead by example…but I am not bound to follow them.

June 30, 10:04 pm | [comment link]
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