Russell Moore on the Gulf Oil Spill

For a great perspective on all things ecological, see Russell Moore’s “The Gulf of Mexico and the Care of Creation.” He writes:

‘Some conservatives, and some conservative evangelicals, act as though “environmentalism” is by definition “liberal” or even just downright silly…

‘There’s nothing conservative though, and nothing “evangelical,” about dismissing the conservation of the natural environment. And the accelerating Gulf crisis reminds us something of what’s at stake…

‘We need the creation around us, including the waters and all they contain, because we are not gods. We are creatures who thrive when we live as we were made to live. We exercise dominion over the creation not only when we use it, but also when we conserve it for the generations who will come after.

‘So pray for the Gulf Coast, that the oil wouldn’t devastate a people and a land already devastated by so much. As you do, remember: real conservatives protect what God loves.’

Read the rest of Moore’s article here.

41 Responses to Russell Moore on the Gulf Oil Spill

  1. Donald Johnson May 3, 2010 at 9:54 am #

    ‘So pray for the Gulf Coast, that the oil wouldn’t devastate a people and a land already devastated by so much. As you do, remember: real conservatives protect what God loves.’

    Amen to that.

  2. Matthew Staton May 3, 2010 at 11:25 am #

    I second that.

  3. Scott May 3, 2010 at 12:17 pm #

    Great insight by Moore.

    Limbaugh is hurting the conservative cause with his tiresome routine.

  4. Doc B May 3, 2010 at 12:33 pm #

    Actually, Limbaugh isn’t really off-base. There is more oil seeping into the ocean naturally than is leaking from this well (at least, according to the science books I used in college…I’m a biologist, not a geologist). Natural processes indeed take care of the mess. Oil is an organic compound and is handled by organic means. It’s not until we refine it into plastics and such that it becomes a near-permanent fixture.

    I’m not arguing this to say we shouldn’t clean up the mess, nor to say we shouldn’t prevent these events when we can. But nature will take care of herself.

  5. Kati May 3, 2010 at 12:36 pm #

    Well said by both you and Dr. Moore. Thank you to both of you on your timely reminder to love what God loves and to pray for the Gulf Coast.

  6. JC May 3, 2010 at 1:01 pm #

    Just curious. Did you hear the context from which that quote was pulled or are you allowing the St. Pete Times to frame it for you? Do you even know that this comment was even dealing with the spill? That’s an assumption. One based on a someone else’s words that preceded the quote that’s been pulled out of context.

    Would you allow a student to blindly quote someone from a secondary source without checking to ensure the secondary source hadn’t skewed the quote or ripped it from it’s context?

    It would be equally unfair of me to take your line about selling ocean front property in Arizona and accusing you of either geographical ignorance or greed (since you’re suggesting that you’d take advantage of someone else’s geographical ignorance).

    I think you’ve been unfair to Mr. Limbaugh.

    Dr. Moore’s post was expertly written in a way that actually made people think (and pray), instead of trying to incite some sort of moral indignation at the gall of Limbaugh’s purported suggestion that we not clean up the oil spill.

    The problem with your post is that it attempted pointed out Rush Limbaugh’s sin…Dr. Moore’s pointed out my own.

  7. David Vinzant May 3, 2010 at 1:42 pm #

    Pray for the Gulf Coast? Is that a joke? Does anyone remember how well prayer worked against Hurricane Katrina?

  8. Rick May 3, 2010 at 1:55 pm #

    Unfortunately, Olbermann is going to have a field day taking Limbaugh to task on this one- and rightly so.

    The late Michael Spencer (aka Internet Monk) did a post called the Limbaughization of Evangelicals.

    He concluded it with:

    “American evangelicals:
    Limbaughized or Obamaized- either way is the wrong option and the wrong answer. We are the Church. Jesus is Lord. The Gospel is our business. Whatever we do for the love of neighbor must come from the Gospel. Whatever we do in politics must be done in submission of our lives and loyalties to the Kingdom of God.
    If you think the Kingdom of God is getting a 100% score on a Limbaugh or Obama values checklist, you need to meet Jesus. You’ve apparently misplaced him.”

    http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/the-limbaughization-of-evangelicals

    Prayers for those along the Gulf Coast.

  9. Ryan K. May 3, 2010 at 1:59 pm #

    David I humbly point out that unless one is omniscient, than it seems a tad arrogant to assume prayer was not effective during Katrina.

    I have personally heard many stories about God’s providence, care, and miraculous work in the lives of those who were deeply impacted by Katrina.

    All this to say, it seems silly to mock the notion of praying to the God of the universe that he would work to care for his good creation during a crisis.

  10. Daniel May 3, 2010 at 2:56 pm #

    Yes, Rush’s comments are being taken completely out of context. I was listening when he made those comments, and they were NOT in the context of “It’s okay that 5,000 gallons/day of raw crude are being poured out into the Gulf of Mexico!” Further, to construe this as a “Limbaugh vs. Moore” issue is deceiving; I happen to agree with both of them and easily suppose that they most likely largely agree with each other as well. It’s true that we conservatives so often find ourselves in opposition with the agenda of the “Green Coalition” that our immediate reaction is to try to rebut every “we humans are destroying the earth and we need to erase our own footprints” argument we ever hear. This is hard not to do, and Rush is certainly guilty of this from time to time. He is not, however, guilty of claiming that we should just let this oil leak in the Gulf continue unfettered.

  11. Daryl May 3, 2010 at 3:09 pm #

    The earth has been created with it’s processes by which God cares for his creation. It is also a God-given responsibility of man to have dominion over the earth. That includes caring for God’s creation. The oil spill would eventually be taken care through these natural processes. However, if a wildfire burning in your neighborhood, is out of control and threatening your home, your livelihood, is it wise to do nothing? Of course not.

  12. Brian Krieger May 3, 2010 at 3:49 pm #

    Doc B:

    I agree that it is a naturally occurring substance and is somehow processed by our lands/oceans (though I am lacking in scientific education in such), I would say this is outside the realm of natural occurrences. While just as much may be seeping from the earth, isn’t that kind of like saying swallowing 1 quart of water all at once is fine since our bodies produce that much every day. Again, I’m coming from a non-educated (in geography/ecology) viewpoint, so I could be completely misunderstanding.

    While I think Rush is very often merely being inflammatory (as opposed to inflammatory with a good point 😉 ), I do wonder if he had more to say about it (well, other than to accuse the left of purposefully doing it). I’m willing to bet the statement can be taken at face value as it sounds like something Rush would say.

  13. Scott May 3, 2010 at 3:59 pm #

    JC,

    So you’re saying Rush is the “victim” of being quoted out of context? That’s amazing because he’s built an entire show out of doing that very thing! In fact, the man will make up quotes to support his fanciful & vitriolic rants.

    I’ll say it again, the man has done more to hurt the conservative cause than help it.

    So what was Rush’s actual point, or is he going to blow a lot of hot air about how “the liberal hate media misquoted him” as he normally does when he’s caught with his hand in the cookie jar?

  14. Derek May 3, 2010 at 7:59 pm #

    Folks on ALL SIDES of the political spectrum would be wise to hold their fire until more FACTS are known and TIME has passed.

  15. thatjeremyguy May 4, 2010 at 6:46 am #

    JC’s comments hit the nail on the head. Thanks for sharing.

  16. Raspberry May 4, 2010 at 8:50 am #

    Rush’s comment was actually in response to comments made by a mentor of Dr. Moore, Gene Taylor, who said that the further you get from the spill, the more the oil breaks up. If you listen to the context, Rush was say that, to a certain extent, nature can take care of itself. Which in his estimation and mine, is evidence of a divine creator and a fascinating creation. Mr. Buck seems to have sought to “stir the pot” between two men do not know each other. Why create conflict where none exists?

  17. Michael May 4, 2010 at 11:56 am #

    As others have noted, and as is so often the case with regard to Rush, the comments here cited are far from an accurate portrayal of his overall view of this circumstance. I agree entirely with Dr. Moore’s view but this also leaves room for me to agree in large measure with Rush’s view which is substantially different than this limited quote suggests.

  18. Jimmy B May 5, 2010 at 12:26 pm #

    Did you even listen to the context Burk??? I did he was talking about how the econazis and this president were going to shut down off-shore oil drilling and hurt this country. By cutting off our natural resources by saying we have DESTROYED the eco system in the Gulf. But we haven’t destroyed it nature is a stubborn thing, yes the spill needs to be cleaned up but it is not going to be a nuclear wasteland for all of eternity because of this event.

  19. Scott May 5, 2010 at 2:55 pm #

    “Econazis”…very clever.

    I’m sorry, but you can’t apologize for that quote. He’s trying to minimize the significance of something that is,as most everyone on both sides of the aisle has attested, an ecological disaster. You guys can spin it all you want, but there’s no getting around it.

    If it’s so natural maybe he’ll go down there and drink it up for us!

  20. Denny Burk May 6, 2010 at 12:29 am #

    Okay, everybody. I didn’t hear the Limbaugh broadcast. I got the Rush Limbaugh quote from the St. Petersberg Times, which reads as follows:

    Pundit Rush Limbaugh, who has a home on Florida’s Palm Beach, suggested that the explosion could have resulted from Earth Day eco-sabotage by one of the rig workers. Limbaugh also said a cleanup was unnecessary.

    “The ocean will take care of this on its own if it was left alone and left out there,” Limbaugh said. “It’s natural. It’s as natural as the ocean water is.”

    After hearing your complaints about context, I went and looked up Rush’s remarks (transcript here), and the complainers appear to be right. The Times reported that Limbaugh said the cleanup was unnecessary. But he never really said that. He just said that over time, the ocean will eventually clean up every thing just like it did in Prince William Sound after the Exxon Valdez disaster.

    So I repent in sackcloth and ashes. I have edited my original post so as to remove the errant reporting from the St. Petersberg Times.

    Y’all are awesome.

    Thanks,
    Denny

  21. Michael May 6, 2010 at 7:51 am #

    Thank you, Denny, for your integrity. Now, all above who have raked Rush over the coals without having read the transcripts readily available on Rush’s website, should likewise repent. If you know what he said and disagree, fine and dandy. If you are relying on accurate reporting concerning Limbaugh, forget it, it’s as rare as a funny Carrot Top routine.

  22. Scott May 6, 2010 at 9:40 am #

    I’m still waiting for accurate reporting from Rush. When I get that, then I’ll back down.

    The truth is, you can’t read his quote, even the accurate version, without picking up on his desire to minimize a tragic situation. He’s trying to read his brand of “shock” politics into a situation that transcends partisan divides. There’s no need for it, and it plays off like a man desperate to milk any situation for further attention.

  23. John Holmberg May 6, 2010 at 11:08 am #

    He still appears to be taking a laissez-faire route to the oil spill, and I believe that’s still something we should disagree on.

  24. Mark Gibson May 6, 2010 at 11:34 am #

    It’s really not that tragic of a situation. Does anyone remember the 36 billion gallons of oil spilt by Saddam Hussein back in 1991? It looks like that region recovered. http://www.nytimes.com/1993/03/18/world/gulf-found-to-recover-from-war-s-oil-spill.html

  25. Scott May 6, 2010 at 11:40 am #

    How can you say it’s not tragic, and what’s to be gained from minimizing the situation?

    That’s what bothers me the most about Limbaugh’s position. What’s the point of downplaying it’s significance other than to advance an anti-environment position? I think that’s what Denny was hinting at earlier before the edit. There’s nothing inherently wrong about caring for the environment. Some evangelicals tend to get in a tizzy whenever anyone expresses anything remotely approaching a “pro-green” mindset. It’s absurd, and I think the rush to defend Limbaugh’s comments evidences this mindset.

  26. Mark Gibson May 6, 2010 at 11:57 am #

    The only tragic thing about the event is that 11 workers were killed. Accidents happen. I strongly doubt that BP wanted to lose that oil revenue.

    The only position being advanced is a go-green agenda. It’s a minor oil spill that is being turned into the worst catastrophe in history.

    I would argue that offshore drilling is actually enviornmentally friendly since oil naturally seeps through the ocean floor. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,520839,00.html

  27. Michael May 6, 2010 at 1:31 pm #

    If one assumes that Rush is “downplaying the situation”, one may still affirm that his view has value if only to mitigate the cacophany of overreactions to this and every other manufactured world crisis du jour. I, for one, understand that this industrial accident has damaged the ecology of the ocean and stands to impact the coastline as well. I also understand that even without human remediation, the remarkable power of creation to reclaim stasis will correct the damage caused by the accident. Rush may engage in hyperbole but his aim . . . to bring some sense of proportion to the crisis . . . is not without merit.

  28. Michael May 6, 2010 at 1:34 pm #

    OOPS! It should have been “cacophony”.

  29. Scott May 6, 2010 at 1:42 pm #

    Mark,

    I strongly doubt the state of Louisiana wanted to lose the millions of dollars the spill has cost their fishing industry.

    Should a Christian not care that so much wildlife was/is being lost & that the beautiful ecological systems on the coast are being threatened? Is this more important than the loss of human life, NO. But it should be a concern to anyone that stands in awe of the Creator & respects the dignity of his creation.

  30. Mark Gibson May 6, 2010 at 4:08 pm #

    I actually don’t care because it isn’t that serious of a problem and because it was an accident. I would be mad if it was done on purpose but that isn’t the case.

    Are wind farms disrespecting the dignity of his creation? They kill hundreds of thousands of birds per year. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203706604574376543308399048.html Maybe we should just not use energy at all.

  31. Scott May 6, 2010 at 4:48 pm #

    You don’t care? You don’t think it’s serious?

    It’s this kind of rank and file naivety & ignorance that causes the political left to scornfully mock (rightfully) the Tea Party folks and conservatives in general.

    Weak argument (non-existent one actually). Maybe I’ll just drive over to your house and dump 1,000 pounds of trash in your yard, after all, it’s biodegradable. I’ll even make it look like an accident!

  32. Mark Gibson May 6, 2010 at 5:16 pm #

    I guess you didn’t read any of the articles I linked to. It’s not that serious. It is only made to sound serious so the president can push his green agenda.

    I wouldn’t call conservatives naive or ignorant. It’s liberals that know a whole lot about nothing.

    How is the wind farms argument weak? It completely debunks your argument. Birds don’t count as His creation?

    How do you plan on hauling that 1,000 lbs of trash? Your Power Wheels won’t do the job. You’ll have to get a big gas guzzling truck. Think of your carbon footprint.

  33. Scott May 6, 2010 at 6:36 pm #

    Not worth arguing with you man. Really.

    1) I’ve never said there’s a problem with driving big cars or windmills or nuclear energy or drilling. I only said this was/is a mess.

    2) There’s nothing inherently wrong with “going green” within limits. I completely echo what Denny said & the quotes from Moore’s article.

    3) I think all believers should be responsible stewards (within limits of course). If you feel we have no obligation to the environment, fine. If you don’t read this in Scripture, then we have a different hermeneutic.

    4) Thanks for proving, once more, the Palin/Limbaugh mindset (i.e. completely devoid of intellectual substance & insistent on asserting the contrarian position at any and all costs). While you’ve got your head way down their, why don’t you look for some more oil?

  34. Derek May 6, 2010 at 6:44 pm #

    Scott,
    “While you’ve got your head way down their” should be “While you’ve got your head way down there“. Just a tip so you don’t make that mistake on your papers.

  35. Scott May 6, 2010 at 6:57 pm #

    Thanks. Watching a movie & typing at the same time don’t mix.

  36. Mark Gibson May 6, 2010 at 10:19 pm #

    Scott,

    You can’t call someone naive and ignorant, get fired back at, and then take some fake high road which includes a parting shot. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised when arguing with a liberal.

    My whole argument that the oil spill has been played up as some terrible catastrophe when it is not. It is being used to promote a green agenda. The democrats have even used the spill for fundraising.

  37. Scott May 7, 2010 at 12:35 pm #

    Mark,

    You never engaged my argument. I didn’t take the high road, I simply showed that you didn’t engage my points. You made a snide comment about gas guzzlers (which proved nothing) & said that windmills kill birds (to which I agreed.)

    Nothing I have said indicates I’m a liberal. You’re proving the point of Moore’s entire article. It’s not inherently liberal to care for the environment, and there’s nothing wrong with calling this a catastrophe. I do believe in going green, but within certain obvious limits (especially when God’s glory is replaced with the praise of creation in and of itself). I think you’re drawing an unnecessary line in the sand that says more about certain political agendas than anything else.

    Of course, both parties use situations for political gain, right? But we can, and should, separate those sad agendas from the actual problems surrounding them. When the ecology of the gulf is threatened, more than birds are at risk. An entire economy is jeopardized (one recently devastated if you remember correctly). This transcends a “green agenda” and highlights the potential devastation of the spill.

  38. Mark Gibson May 7, 2010 at 11:12 pm #

    I did engage your argument. You responded by calling me naive and ignorant. My snide comment about a gas guzzling truck was in response to your threatening to dump 1,000 lbs of trash in my yard. You said that you would “make it look like an accident.” Were you inferring that BP intentionally blew up the well?

    I never said that it was okay to destroy the environment. You’re accusing me of something I am not for. It’s a straw man argument. You’re the one not engaging your opponent’s argument.

  39. kevin May 8, 2010 at 11:45 pm #

    I was raised a Southern Baptist, but left the denomination when it became clear I didn’t belong there, and perhaps never did. Dr Moore’s essay serves to remind me that there are many good people in the SBC. Mark Gibson’s remarks remind me why I left.

  40. Mark Gibson May 9, 2010 at 4:18 am #

    You left the denomination because I said that an accident isn’t as catastrophic as it is being made out to be?

  41. Tgold May 10, 2010 at 2:53 pm #

    @Doc B

    Organic compound? Yes. Exists in nature? Yes. In concentrated form from a point source? No.

    This is a fact that Mr. Limbaugh ignores, because it does not fit general his narrative, which generally holds that all human activity, no matter how ecologically profane and destructive, as “natural”, despite conspicuous evidence to the contrary. He would have us abdicate any responsibility for or stewardship of our environment.

    I can’t believe you are actually defending him on this. A biologist should know better.

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