‘God is Sad and God is Mad’ Over Oil Spill, Says Liberal Religious Leader

July 7, 2010 - 6:48 PM
 The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico 'has to convert us and change us,' an evangelical preacher told reporters this week.

This image from video provided by BP PLC early Wednesday, June 23, 2010 shows oil continuing to gush from the broken wellhead, at the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil well in the Gulf of Mexico. The Coast Guard said Wednesday that BP has been forced to remove a cap that was containing some of the oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico. (AP Photo/BP PLC)

(CNSNews.com) – “God is sad and God is mad” because of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the Rev. Jim Wallis, editor and CEO of the liberal religious magazine Sojourners, told reporters on Wednesday.

Wallis and other religious leaders recently took a three-hour tour of coastal Louisiana to examine the damage from the Gulf oil spill. Their tour was organized by the Sierra Club.
 
During a conference call on Wednesday, CNSNews.com asked the religious leaders,  “Do you feel that President Obama has done enough? Do you think he should do more? What is your take on that?”
 
Wallis responded, "None of us have done enough. This is a Washington question, of course. Who is to blame? Who has done enough? Who is acting fast enough? We are trying to get to some deeper issue here.”
 
“We left [the Gulf] and the first impression I had was how beautiful this place is, how utterly beautiful it is," Wallis said. "Then I saw what was happening and I thought: God is sad and God is mad.  Let's face that level first. God is sad and God is mad."
 
The tele-conference was held on the 79th day since the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion, which claimed 11 people's lives and resulted in the pipe damage and subsequent (and ongoing) oil spill in the Gulf.  
 
The spill has now marred the waters and beaches of all five Gulf-coast states. Tar balls washed up on Texas beaches over the July 4th weekend.
 
Wallis continued, "And we better all look in the mirror and realize that we haven't done nearly enough, we haven’t reflected deep enough, we haven’t acted strongly -- none of us have. The White House is trying their best, I am sure of it.”
 
“This has got to be an epiphany in the Gulf,” said Wallis. “It has to convert us and change us. Let's stop pointing fingers. And it is time for all of us to look and see what this means for all of us about our faith."
 
Wallis further said that he thinks Congress should pass "Gulf restoration" legislation as a step toward a "clean energy economy."
 
"You want a political sound bite, I will give you one,” he said. “The House and the Senate ought to pass major Gulf Coast restoration and begin the journey toward a clean energy economy before they go on vacation."
 
Rev. Gerald Durley, pastor of Providence Missionary Baptist Church, said that the change needed to help the people of the Gulf "comes from the people," not the "top."
 
"I don’t care if it is in China or America, whatever country, the people are beginning to speak,” said Rev. Durley. “I think that that jogs some of the work that might be going on or might not be going on in the White House. A lot times we don’t know the insides and outsides, whether it is political and if people are working together. But if people begin to speak out of the depth of their heart and God is on their side, we can do anything but fail. I think the administration is beginning to get that message."
 
Other religious leaders invited on the trip according to a release from the Sierra Club included: Rev. Canon Sally Bingham, founder of Interfaith Power and Light; Fr. Dan Krutz, Episcopal priest and director of Louisiana Interchurch Conference; Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism; Rev. Brenda Girton-Mitchell of the Progressive National Baptist Convention; Sayyid Syeed of the Islamic Society of North America; Lynn Hybels, co-founder of Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago; Rev. Kris Peterson, pastor of Bayou Blue Presbyterian Church; Rabbi Julie Schonfeld of the Rabbinicial Assembly; Pastor Chris Seay, senior pastor of Ecclesia Church; and Susan Stephenson, executive director of Interfaith Power and Light.