Gulf News Round Up: The Faith Community Responds
[Update, July 7]
As Rabbi Saperstein travels to the Gulf this week with national faith leaders to witness
the oil spill damage first hand and
support the local community with a series of briefings, interfaith
services and tours, here is a quick summary of how others in the faith community are continuing to respond to the oil spill disaster.
- The Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America calls the oil spill “heartbreaking and infuriating” in a recent statement, but also calls on people of faith to recognize our responsibility to engage with and respond to the disaster.
- During a recent conference call, Rob Gorman of Catholic Charities speculated that the oil spill could be, in many ways, worse than Hurricane Katrina. Gorman outlined the potential losses for local industries and the Catholic communities response efforts on the ground in Louisiana.
- AP reports on the particular challenges facing houses of worship and other non-profits as they respond to the oil spill. At least one church has filed a claim with BP for economic damages, and others are expected to follow suit.
- Local faith communities continue to host regular vigils and days of prayer, standing in solidarity with those attempting to cope with the ongoing disaster.
[Update, June 24]
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Catholic scholar Anthony Stevens-Arroyo writes for Washington Post’s On Faith on what our religious values have to say about what should take precedence, corporate profits or the public (in this case, environmental) welfare.
- Houston Belief reports on local churches holding prayer vigils for the Gulf and confronting the spiritually complex issues at play: while our faith calls us to care for our environment, Gulf economies rely heavily on the oil industry and we cannot simply shut off the wells and leave behind the individuals and families in the industry.
- Christian environmental scholar Brian McLaren responds to President Obama’s oval office speech with a faith-driven vision for a better, more sustainable future.
- Our friends at the Evangelical Environmental Network visit the Gulf to meet with local community leaders and witness the disaster while the Catholic community reaches out financially to those in need in the region.
Original post after the jump:
As we approach month three of the BP oil spill disaster, the news
continues to come in from the Gulf at an almost overwhelming rate. To
help keep up, check out the full news round up – and learn how the
environmentally community is responding – with the US Climate Action Network,
and follow our sampling (which will we update regularly from now on) of
how the faith community is talking about and responding to the spill.
- Sybil Sanchez of the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL) writes in New York Jewish Week on the Jewish community response to the spill – both our actions and our advocacy;
- Religion Dispatches reports on Reverend Vien Nguyen, a local pastor well known for his strong stands for social justice, who is confronting BP and working with the Vietnamese community to cope with the economic implications of the disaster;
- Local religious communities are providing space for prayer, comfort, and reflection, and one leader is promoting an innovative way to pray with those affected by the spill from wherever you are;
- A Reverend in Houston writes regularly about the spill and reminds us that prayer alone is not enough for a faith community called to environmental stewardship;
- Robert Parham of the Baptist Center for Join Ethics wrote last week about the Gulf spill as a moral crisis, and again yesterday about how the spill reflects “bad religion”;
- Our friends at Sojourners, the National Council of Churches, and JSpot are each maintaining their own ongoing blog series, and we hope you will check out what they have to say in response to the spill.
With dozens of Congressional hearings on the disaster, and President Obama speaking tonight from the Oval Office following his trip to the Gulf, Washington will be focused intently on spill response in the weeks to come. We’ll have the latest news and legislative advocacy opportunities posted on our “No New Drilling” Gulf response page, and keep our news round up current as well. As always, our thoughts and prayers are with those in the Gulf coping with this unprecedented disaster; please do what you can to help today.