Russell Moore was on NPR’s “Weekend Edition” to discuss the Southern Baptist Convention’s response to the oil spill. Two weeks ago, the SBC passed a resolution calling 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.”
Moore played a key role in getting this resolution passed, and he argues on NPR that Christians have to break with conservative stereotypes to rethink the issue of creation-care. He explains:
“There’s really nothing conservative â€” and certainly nothing evangelical â€” about a laissez-faire view of a lack of government regulation because we, as Christians, believe in sinâ€¦ That means if people are sinful, if all of us are sinful, then all of us have to have accountability â€” and that includes corporationsâ€¦ Simply trusting corporations to go about their business without polluting the water streams and without destroying ecosystems is really a naive and utopian view of human nature. It’s not a Christian view of human nature.”
You can read the rest of the NPR report here or listen to it below.[audio:http://public.npr.org/anon.npr-mp3/npr/wesun/2010/06/20100627_wesun_02.mp3]
Wow! I’m taking it that you agree with Moore on this, Denny. Surprisingly, I’m with you guys 100%. I don’t see how you can believe this and use the opposite arguments against socialized medicine and other matters, but I agree with this all the way. Good word!
Dr. Moore is certainly correct about human nature, but the same argument has been employed in favor of limited government for over two centuries now. If depravity implies that we cannot entrust creation care to corporations, what makes us think we can entrust it to the government?
But what if it were in a corporation’s economic interest to treat the earth with care? What if economic incentive became the driving force of creation care? That is what Ryan Anderson has explored in the essay located at this address:
Government certainly has a role to play, but I am reluctant to begin championing more government when the government has shown itself to be not only unable to deal with this mess, but also constantly driven toward imposing regulations on us that really don’t help the environment but do chip away, bit by bit, at our freedoms.
Hear, hear, for Moore (again).
I donâ€™t speak for Dr. Burk, but there is (in my opinion) a massive difference between regulation and ownership/management. I havenâ€™t been able to listen to the NPR, but it sounds like (on the surface) the former is what is championed here versus the latter for government run health care (and many who oppose Obamacare proposed regulations to address costs). It also seems there is an aspect of the latter that involves forcing the rich to pay more and while Iâ€™m not in that category (of footing the lionâ€™s share of the bill), I think that is unbiblical (we donâ€™t sin to get others to not sin). Thereâ€™s more than that, too including much of government run health care not addressing the root problem, just throwing money at it, taking debt in a manner that is unwise, etc. Thoughts, or am I off base?
Aaron also makes a good point, too. Iâ€™m interested in reading Andersonâ€™s piece (along with listening to Dr. Moore. I so enjoy him when he speaks!).
I think we (and Dr. Moore) need to back up a bit here. We actually did have a government bureaucracy in place to prevent this sort of thing and it failed us.
It may have failed us simply because the people in their jobs were there for political reasons (just like Brown was at FEMA) and it also may have something to do with how big the bureaucracy was. Lean bureaucracies tend to work decently well, bloated ones do not- they tend to be unresponsive and corrupt, just like we are now discovering about MMS. We ought to call for house cleaning with any bureaucracy that is bloated, corrupt and unresponsive.
For this reason, I think Dr. Moore is setting up a sort of straw man. Christians and conservatives were not protesting the presence of Minerals Management Service (MMS). If they had been, he might have a point. Really, the focus ought to be on the people a) in the bureaucracy/government and b) the people in charge of them.
Great point and link, Aaron. If we’re going to have an adult conversation, we need our friends on the left to appreciate and understand that limited government does not mean “no government”. We need them to be grown up enough to understand that when we want to trim bloated and corrupt bureaucracies, we are not calling for their total removal. The overwhelming majority of conservatives are in favor of punishing criminal conduct, including environmental abuses. We just don’t believe that bigger is always better. In many cases, it is far worse.
I just read a great quote from Doug Wilson:
“Markets are formed when men agree to not behave coercively toward one another in their economic transactions. Governments are formed when men agree together on what the structure of their collective coercions shall be. Markets are not coercive, by definition. Governments are coercive, by definition. The person who needs to have his unbiblical views of the nature of sin adjusted is the person who thinks that government presents less of a temptation to sinners than markets do.”
As one who knows Dr. Moore, I know he is not a statist. But I fear that his argument, if not carefully nuanced, could become another tool of statist propaganda. Unless we issue a call for environmental action that clearly defines and limits the role of the state, then we have become just one more voice in a crowd of the naive inviting the government to seize more and more power over us.
And it is no accident that those nations with state-controlled economies are the ones that have raped the earth the most.
I love Dr. Moore but I agree with Aaron and Derek; it seems RDM is setting up a strawman.
Another quick note – some have argued – correctly, I think – that preexisting regulation is in part to blame for this. If we would allow more drilling on land (which is safest), along the Atlantic and Pacific seaboards and then in more shallow Gulf water, we would have less need to engage in this hazardous deepwater drilling.
I’d rather walk or ride a bike everywhere than walk along a coastline dotted with oil drills! No thank you.
Your response is sophistry, plain and simple. This is exactly what I mean when I talked about the need for adult dialogue in #6. First, no one is arguing for “coastlines to be dotted with oil drills”. Most offshore drilling happens in areas or at a distance you can’t see on your bike anyway.
Secondly, it is fine if you can ride a bike to work, but is totally impractical for the vast majority of people.
Third, you’re burying your head in the sand to the larger implications of a diminished oil supply. For instance, you’d probably be one of the people complaining the loudest when semi-trucks have to triple or quadruple their price for delivering milk and grain to your local Whole Foods store.
If you want to dialogue about realistic plans for “getting off oil”, that is a worthy discussion. But sophistry and straw man arguments like this doesn’t advance us, it sets us back.
I was only half-joking. Lighten up man!