Dr. Russell Moore of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary has written the most lucid and judicious piece on the tragedy of the BP Oil Spill—anywhere. No secular media source has as accurately captured the importance of culture and creation as Moore has so able accomplished. Connecting the themes of creation care, limits, culture, and Christ, Moore’s asserts that, “evangelical Christians have maintained an uneasy ecological conscience [because] we’ve had an inadequate view of human sin.”

A few highlights:

Because we believe in free markets, we’ve acted as though this means we should trust corporations to protect the natural resources and habitats. But a laissez-faire view of government regulation of corporations is akin to the youth minister who lets the teenage girl and boy sleep in the same sleeping bag at church camp because he “believes in young people.”

The Scripture gives us a vision of human sin that means there ought to be limits to every claim to sovereignty, whether from church, state, business or labor. A commitment to the free market doesn’t mean unfettered license any more than a commitment to free speech means hardcore pornography ought to be broadcast in prime-time by your local network television affiliate.

We’ve had an inadequate view of human life and culture.

What is being threatened in the Gulf states isn’t just seafood or tourism or beach views. What’s being threatened is a culture. As social conservatives, we understand…or we ought to understand…that human communities are formed by traditions and by mores, by the bond between the generations. Culture is, as Russell Kirk said, a compact reaching back to the dead and forward to the unborn. Liberalism wants to dissolve those traditions, and make every generation create itself anew; not conservatism.

And…

Pollution kills people. Pollution dislocates families. Pollution defiles the icon of God’s Trinitarian joy, the creation of his theater (Ps. 19; Rom. 1).

This is an excellent post and I encourage everyone concerned about the deeper elements of culture other than what we see on TMZ or Entertainment Tonight to take five minutes and read this article.

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Posted by Andrew Walker

Andrew T. Walker is an Associate Professor of Christian Ethics at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

4 Comments

  1. Thanks for posting that. It’s excellent.

    Reply

  2. Russell Moore’s comments are closed so I will leave mine here.

    There is no doubt that the Gulf oil spill is a huge tragedy, especially for those on the eastern Gulf coast. Mr. Moore apparently has a personal stake in this with family and friends in Biloxi, and that makes it even more painful.

    I must admit however with all due respect that articles such as this, and there is a growing number, from evangelicals are sounding more and more like we and the oil companies are the ones to blame and the federal government could have prevented this had we only held back our greed and supported more regulations. While I sympathize with Mr. Moore and the personal connection that he feels toward this tragic event, I believe nonetheless that his conclusion (and solution) is naive and overly simplistic.

    Reply

  3. Thanks for posting this. The part that was most beneficial to me was the realization that culture is intimately related to and dependent upon environment.

    Chuck,
    I didn’t get the sense about the post as you. I think the main thing to take away from it is not who’s to blame, but rather the realization that environmental issues are important to Christians not only because God created the earth and its creatures, but also because our very ways of life depend on them.

    Reply

  4. I think odlaram7 is right on. Moore’s post was provoked by this incident, but is not primarily about it. There are far too many Christian conservatives who have a devil-may-care attitude toward the environment. I know many of them, and that attitude hides easily behind an argument about whether a particular regulation is the proper means of protecting the environment. It’s a real question, but too many of us eventually say, “I just don’t think that’s something the government should be working on.”

    Reply

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