An appropriate response to the BP Oil Spill?

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In Church this morning:

Introductory Pulpit commentary: We find our lives dependent upon the destructive forces that have been made visible in the BP oil spill, but which have been a sinful and deadly presence in creation for many decades now. We acknowledge that our current lifestyle of convenience and hyper-mobility, which is based on oil and oil-based products is at the root of the problem and that the irresponsibility and hubris of companies such as BP are only outgrowths of this deeper reality. As the prophets of old said, we hear the land witnessing and testifying against us.

In Bulletin: (emphasis mine)

A call to Lament and Reconciliation
Report from the Duke Divinity Center for Reconciliation Summer Institute

Unison Confession

Merciful God,

As followers of Jesus Chris, creator and redeemer of all creation, we mourn the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe and the BP oil spill now polluting the Gulf of Mexico.

We mourn the human and animal lives lost, the econimies and ecosystems destroyed, and the gifts of God, created from and for his love, squandered and poisoned.

Most of all we mourn our complicity and active participation in an economy based on toxic energy that has made such death inevitable.

We now make a public confession of the sins against God's creation that we have committed and have been committed on our behalf.

We pray for your grace to change our lives.

And we invite all of our Christian sisters and brothers to join us in this acknowledgment of our sin and culpability, and in working toward a true repentance.

Amen.

Thoughts?

Questions for discussion:
• Is our economy based on energy?
• Is our energy necessarily toxic?
• Does the use of oil in our economy make death inevitable?
• If the answer to the above questions are affirmative, is there a safe, sinless way of providing energy for our economy?
• If there is not, should the church embrace the Amish mentality and avoid electricity?

I'm curious to hear other people's thoughts. I obviously am not fully comfortable with the confession and decided not to join in the confession until I had some time to process the implications of the statement.

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• Is our economy based on energy?
Yes

• Is our energy necessarily toxic?
Yes - see nickel smelting for batteries, No CO2 isn't really poisonous, Yes, crude oil is. Polyaromatic hydrocarbons will totally give you cancer.

• Does the use of oil in our economy make death inevitable?
No, being alive makes death inevitable. If your pastor could pull his nose out the Utne Reader longer enough to return to his Old Testament, he'd see where God limits the lifespan of men.

• If the answer to the above questions are affirmative, is there a safe, sinless way of providing energy for our economy?
This is a stupid question. If, in feeding the hungry, some of the hungry get diabetes, that doesn't mean it's a sin. It means life is messy and man is fallen. It's like responding to a farm accident by saying that our dependence on wheat is a sin, and we should all be gathering berries and nuts individually. This sort of argument is completely innumerate, and lacks any kind of systematic comprehension. Which barrel of oil is evil? The one that runs a predator drone, the one that lets fat people from the exurbs who your pastor doesn't like drive to Wal-Mart, or the one that powers an ambulance and boils water for Katrina victims?

• If there is not, should the church embrace the Amish mentality and avoid electricity?
The Amish mentality leads to high levels of both infant mortality and incest. Also, horse poo offgasses methane, which makes a horse-and-buggy more greenhouse-intense than a car.

Needless to say, arguments like this make my blood pressure spike. One can certainly find examples of sin within the production and delivery of energy, but to try to indict the entire system tells me that the person behind the indictment is a lazy and irresponsible thinker who knows not what he wishes for. One need only to survey the world over the last 50 years to see that environmental responsibility is a luxury good which is affordable to rich nations, and rich nations only. The true sign of decadence in a society is when people lose sight of what's outside the walls, and cease to understand the mechanisms that provide their incredibly comfortable existence.
I'm all for a carbon tax and $7/gallon gas, but this sort of useless political claptrap whitewashed in squishy, unexamined religiosity is abominable horseshit.

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