Virtual Voices

Sojourners and Keystone: Using the Bible for political purposes

Politics

Fast as always with a press release, Sojourners came out with an extraordinary headline this afternoon: "Obama Administration Rejects Keystone XL Pipeline. Christian and Other Faith Leaders Praise Administration's Decision to Put Creation over Narrow Corporate Interests."

Oh, so that's what happened.

Sojourners contends that it cares for peace, and that the United States is wrong to have fought a war for oil in the Middle East. That's enormously oversimplifying why our soldiers were in Iraq, but if we take the Sojourners line at face value, shouldn't we reduce our dependency on Middle Eastern oil and thus lessen the likelihood of future wars?

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Sojourners contends that it cares for the poor. We have at least 8.5 percent unemployment. Some economists say the real figure is 16 percent. Should we not care about the poor who would love to work on the pipeline, and will now continue to be unemployed? Should we not care about the poor who find it hard to pay more and more for gas?

But more is at stake here than what's reasonable and what's not: What about our use of God's revelation in the Bible? Sojourners has complained over the years, justly at times, about folks on the right claiming biblical warrant for their political opinions. Here's an attempt to seize the Bible for the left and turn a reasonable question-how do we achieve energy independence, create jobs, and reduce gas costs?-into a creation vs. corporations cage fight.

The Bible is clear on the importance of honoring God's Creation. It's not clear on exactly how to do so. It's clear that God sent man "out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken." It's not clear how exactly to do that. That's why we need to look at the facts and thoughtfully evaluate them from a biblical perspective-and not in the kneejerk way that Sojourners did today.

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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