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The SBC and Going Green

Russell Moore, at Southern Seminary, was part of drafting this statement from the Southern Baptist Convention about creation care:

In a resolution, the [Southern Baptist] 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.”


And he even suggests this issue and how folks respond could be a defining — a Rowe v. Wade kind of defining — moment for some evangelicals, and I say “Good on you Russell, and I hope the SBC and all evangelicals will become more sensitive to the green issues.”

On his blog, Moore has posted something of a call-to-arms for evangelical Christians to take action to protect the environment. The Gulf spill has the potential to be a defining moment for evangelicals, he says, much like Roe v. Wade activated the evangelical anti-abortion movement.


“Prior to Roe, most evangelicals really thought of those issues of life and protecting the unborn as being a Roman Catholic issue,” he says. “Somebody else’s issue. But then after Roe v. Wade, suddenly evangelicals saw what was at stake and became involved.”

“This catastrophe in the Gulf could be that kind of defining moment.”

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posted June 30, 2010 at 8:09 am

Some are attuned to the possibility of looming catastrophe and know how to head it off. Others are unprepared for risk and even unable to get their priorities straight when risk turns to reality.
The Dutch fall into the first group. Three days after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico began on April 20, the Netherlands offered the U.S. government ships equipped to handle a major spill, one much larger than the BP spill that then appeared to be underway. ?Our system can handle 400 cubic metres per hour,? Weird Koops, the chairman of Spill Response Group Holland, told Radio Netherlands Worldwide, giving each Dutch ship more cleanup capacity than all the ships that the U.S. was then employing in the Gulf to combat the spill.
To protect against the possibility that its equipment wouldn?t capture all the oil gushing from the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, the Dutch also offered to prepare for the U.S. a contingency plan to protect Louisiana?s marshlands with sand barriers. One Dutch research institute specializing in deltas, coastal areas and rivers, in fact, developed a strategy to begin building 60-mile-long sand dikes within three weeks. . . .
Why does neither the U.S. government nor U.S. energy companies have on hand the cleanup technology available in Europe? Ironically, the superior European technology runs afoul of U.S. environmental rules. The voracious Dutch vessels, for example, continuously suck up vast quantities of oily water, extract most of the oil and then spit overboard vast quantities of nearly oil-free water. Nearly oil-free isn?t good enough for the U.S. regulators, who have a standard of 15 parts per million ? if water isn?t at least 99.9985% pure, it may not be returned to the Gulf of Mexico. . . .
The Americans, overwhelmed by the catastrophic consequences of the BP spill, finally relented and took the Dutch up on their offer ? but only partly. Because the U.S. didn?t want Dutch ships working the Gulf, the U.S. airlifted the Dutch equipment to the Gulf and then retrofitted it to U.S. vessels. And rather than have experienced Dutch crews immediately operate the oil-skimming equipment, to appease labour unions the U.S. postponed the clean-up operation to allow U.S. crews to be trained.
A catastrophe that could have been averted is now playing out.
Read the whole thing.

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posted June 30, 2010 at 8:11 am

Oil Messed Up
Anger grows along the Gulf Coast at the Obama administration?s pathetic response to the largest oil spill in U.S. history.
BY Winston Groom

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posted June 30, 2010 at 8:41 am

It is good to hear them come out this way, but they are a little late to the game.
Many Evangelicals have been pushing ecology and enviromental issues for many years, even leading to somewhat of a split on the issues within Evangelicalism. This was most obviously seen in 2007 when the NAE (National Association of Evangelicals) pushed back against James Dobson and some others, who were upset with the NAE?s emphasis on environmental issues.
From the Washington Post March 2007:
?Rebuffing Christian radio commentator James C. Dobson, the board of directors of the National Association of Evangelicals reaffirmed its position that environmental protection, which it calls ?creation care,? is an important moral issue.?
I may be wrong, but it sounds like many in the SBC leadership were quiet, or out of the loop, at that time.

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posted June 30, 2010 at 9:51 am

Many of us have been strong believers in taking care of creation — doing our best to be good stewards of this magnificent creation — without becoming radical, earth-worshiping tree huggers (ala Al Gore and Jim Wallis). And we will continue to care for creation in responsible ways, while opposing harmful and ridiculous measures like “Cap and Trade.”

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posted June 30, 2010 at 1:30 pm

The Exxon Valdez wasn’t big enough for him?

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posted June 30, 2010 at 5:46 pm

From JF’s link at the Financial Post;
“The Dutch know how to handle maritime emergencies. In the event of an oil spill, The Netherlands government, which owns its own ships and high-tech skimmers, gives an oil company 12 hours to demonstrate it has the spill in hand. If the company shows signs of unpreparedness, the government dispatches its own ships at the oil company’s expense.”
I think the Dutch way of thinking about this is correct and in line with the SBC statement. We must never again just trust the oil companies to come up with a response to a catastrophic oil leak. Our government must be prepared in advance to step in quickly to take control of the situation and have the equipment on hand to do so.
As the article stated, we dropped the ball in 1989 with the Exxon Valdez response and didn’t learn from that mistake. We must learn from this one.

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posted June 30, 2010 at 6:20 pm

The Netherlands has a socialist government, many aspects of which I admire. Perhaps that is why, as a state, they are so effective at handling oil spills.

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posted June 30, 2010 at 6:58 pm

I wonder if this means the SBC will distance itself from the Cornwall Alliance, which (IMO) tends to provide Christian cover for valuing profits over the environment.
I’m not holding my breath.

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