(RNS) Southern Baptists issued a veiled but sharp critique of the nation’s oil companies on Wednesday (June 16), saying “all industries are … accountable to higher standards than to profit alone.”
Members of the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in Orlando, Fla., said the massive BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was a timely reminder that `our God-given dominion over the creation is not unlimited, as though we were gods and not creatures.”
The resolution, passed as the two-day assembly concluded, urged churches to pray for an end to the catastrophe and asked businesses and governments to work together to prevent future accidents.
The nonbinding statement comes as various religious groups are struggling to determine how best to respond to the spill and those whose livelihoods hang in the balance.
“We call on Southern Baptists to be ready to assist the communities and churches of the Gulf Coast through the clean-up process with the same generosity of spirit that Southern Baptists exhibited after Hurricane Katrina of 2005,” it reads.
Baptists also adopted statements stemming from their opposition to homosexuality, opposing the proposed Employment Non-Discrimination Act and plans to allow openly gay members to serve in the military.
While proposed language for ENDA — which would protect gays and lesbians from workplace discrimination — contains an exemption permitting churches to not hire gay staff, the statement said the bill does not similarly exempt religious bookstores and other ministries.
Repeal of the Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell military policy will “restrict or redefine the gospel message” of Southern Baptist and other chaplains and could endanger national security, they said.
“No government should implement standards or policies regulating the lives of military personnel based on nothing other than indulging sexual desires,” the resolution reads.
Baptists also adopted a statement about the “scandal of Southern Baptist divorce,” urging churches to emphasize in wedding services that vows are a sign of a lifelong covenant rather than a mere token of romance.
“… (A) denomination seeking God’s blessing in revival and reformation ought to address the spiritual wreckage left in our Southern Baptist churches by our own divorce rates and our silence about the same,” they declared.
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