Southern Baptists denounce Gulf oil spill, divorce, gay-rights proposals

ORLANDO, Fla. (ABP) – The Southern Baptist Convention denounced the Gulf of Mexico environmental calamity in a resolution June 15.

ORLANDO, Fla. (ABP) – The Southern Baptist Convention denounced the Gulf of Mexico environmental calamity in a resolution June 16.

“God has designed us with a dependence on the natural resources around us and has assigned us a dominion of stewardship and protection of those resources for future generations,” the resolution said. “Our God-given dominion over the creation is not unlimited, as though we were gods and not creatures, so therefore, all persons and all industries are then accountable to higher standards than to profit alone.”

The resolution lamented the April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that killed 11 workers and touched off an underwater gusher that is being described as the largest environmental disaster in American history.

“There is no Pharaoh-like dominion over the Earth,” resolutions committee chairman Russell Moore told reporters. “There is a Christ-like stewardship of the Earth.”

The resolution called on the government “to act determinatively and with undeterred resolve to end this crisis; to fortify our coastal defenses; to ensure full corporate accountability for damages, clean-up and restoration; to ensure that government and private industry are not again caught without planning for such possibilities; and to promote future energy policies based on prudence, conservation, accountability, and safety.”

It also encouraged individuals, communities, industries and government “to work together to find ways to lessen  the potentiality of such tragic accidents and of such devastating pollution in order that we may protect what God loves and safeguard the lives, livelihoods, health and well-being of our neighbors and of future generations.”

Other resolutions approved on the closing day of the June 15-16 SBC annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., denounced a proposal to repeal the Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy banning open service by gays and opposed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act pending in Congress. The law would expand federal employment-discrimination law to prevent people from being fired because of their sexual orientation.

Another resolution gave attention to the “scandal of Southern Baptist divorce,” noting that despite the convention’s defense of the sanctity of marriage, studies indicate that conservative Protestants divorce at rates equal to or higher than the general population.

“We have been prophetic in confronting assaults in the outside culture on God’s design for marriage while rarely speaking with the same alarm and force to a scandal that has become all too commonplace in our own churches,” the statement said.

It called on churches to limit marriage to “only those who are biblically qualified to be married to one another and who demonstrate an understanding of the meaning of lifelong love and fidelity.”

It challenged churches to view wedding vows “not simply as a token of a couple’s romance but as a covenant before God, until death do them part.”

It further urged churches to minister to families in crisis “through counseling, mentorship and, where necessary, through biblical church discipline.”

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