This is not an oil "spill" we are facing in the Gulf, the way water might spill from a dish or oil from a tanker -- a finite amount in the first place, and then we clean up.
This is more like piercing, penetrating, raping the deep-hidden places in the body of Mother Earth, a mile beneath the surface of the ocean, with such ultraviolence that Her very guts are pouring out, drenching and poisoning us.
But we can take this disaster as a teaching toward a Turning in our lives and action.
To that end, we will present some concrete proposals for action at the end of this essay.
But let us begin by assessing the depths of our distress.
Every morning brings us fresh outrageous news about BP's and Big Oil's obscenities in the Gulf oil eruption -- and the fawning of paid-for governmental toadies:
Using sex, drugs, and money to bribe officials in the first place to overlook unsafety -- so that for years, the Materials Management Service has allowed dozens of wells to be drilled into the Gulf without requiring the Oil companies to get the permits they were legally obligated to get.
Giving BP a pass to drill without even checking environmental standards, though BP was already guilty of hundreds of safety violations in other places and of deaths from its mismanagement of oil wells.
Lying about how much oil is pouring into the Gulf.
Keeping independent scientists from measuring it themselves.
Getting US government approval for new permits and bypassing environmental-impact assessments even weeks after the president announced there would be a moratorium on new permits (in the light of the BP blow-out).
The article that follows looks at four aspects of this disaster, and how to deal with it: (1) spiritual failings; (2) corrupt politics; (3) making policy choices; and (4)prayerful political action.
1. Spiritual Failings
First and most basic, there is a spiritual teaching of all traditions that the US government and global corporations have been systematically violating.
The gulf disaster is an issue of power and the Spirit, not technology. It is rooted in a spiritual disease. One passage of the Hebrew Scriptures -- Leviticus 25 and 26 -- and millennia of human experience describe this as refusing to let the earth have its Sabbath rest.