Interfaith Coalition Responds to Gulf Oil Spill

Six months after the beginning of the BP oil spill crisis in the Gulf of Mexico, the Religious Action Center is launching “After the Spill: Religious Communities Restoring the Gulf,” an interfaith oil spill response and Gulf Coast restoration campaign.

In announcing the project, Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center, spoke of visiting Myrtle Grove, La., during the summer to meet with fishermen and faith leaders affected by the spill. “I pledged that the religious community would play a central role in the long-term restoration and renewal of the Gulf Coast.”

After the Spill is a joint effort of Jewish and Christian communities who share the belief that they are called to protect God’s creation and to speak out for justice for others in times of crisis.

Saperstein said that though each of the participating organizations is already engaged in Gulf restoration efforts, “we know how much work remains to be done and how much more efficient and effective we will be when we work together.”

Rachel Cohen, the RAC Sustainability Program Coordinator is directing this project, building on her knowledge of energy and environmental issues and her strength as an interfaith coalition-builder. Among other groups taking part are the National Religious Partnership for the Environment, Jewish Funds for Justice and the United Methodist Church.

Saperstein noted that “five years after Hurricane Katrina and six months after the Deepwater Horizon explosion, people of faith remain committed to restoring the Gulf Coast. We will not leave the 20 million residents of the Gulf Coast to rebuild alone, and we will work tirelessly to keep this issue in the public eye and atop the political agenda.”

The group calls on the government and the oil industry to respond to the immediate needs of those suffering in the Gulf and, crucially, begin paving the way to a clean and sustainable future while ensuring that those who depend on the oil industry for their daily survival are not left behind.

The group will continue to develop the worship and advocacy resources on, partner directly with communities and organizations in the Gulf, and add a moral voice to the conversation around long-term recovery and restoration.