Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin proclaimed October 13, 2016 to be “Oilfield Prayer Day.” And it’s not a joke.
Jeff Hubbard, with the Oklahoma City chapter of the Oilfield Christian Fellowship, says the proclamation is intended to raise awareness about a statewide prayer initiative focusing on the distressed oil industry, which will culminate on October 13 with an annual breakfast in downtown Oklahoma City.
“We have a saying:” Hubbard said, “The oil field trickles down to everyone.”
The official proclamation states:
“Whereas, Oklahoma is blessed with an abundance of oil and natural gas, allowing the state to be a prosperous producer of these valuable resources; and […] Christians acknowledge such natural resources are created by God; and […] the oil and gas industry continues to produce countless opportunities for wealth generation for Oklahoma families; and […] Oklahoma recognizes the incredible economic, community and faith-based impacts demonstrated across the state by oil and natural gas companies; and […] Christians are invited to thank God for the blessing created by the oil and natural gas industry and to seek His wisdom and ask for protection; now, therefore, I, Mary Fallin, Governor, do hereby proclaim October 13, 2016, as “Oilfield Prayer Day” in the state of Oklahoma.”
The Reverend Tom Beddow, coordinator of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma’s Oil Patch Chaplains ministry (yes, that’s a real thing) and an ordained Southern Baptist minister who formerly worked as an oil field welder, said:
“The oil field is hurting right now. We’re asking churches all over Oklahoma to open their doors, put on a pot of coffee and pray for the oil field, and not only for the oil field but the state, because the economy of our state is so connected to the oil field.”
Beddow has one thing right: Oklahoma is tightly coupled with the oil field, but not in the positive “trickle down” relationship that he speaks of.
It’s true, something is trickling down in Oklahoma, but it’s not wealth, and it smells foul.
Oklahoma’s wealthiest person, Harold Hamm, made much of his $15 billion fortune from shale oil fracking, the same oil extraction method responsible for at least 90% of the earthquakes in Oklahoma.
This is the same Harold Hamm that Donald Trump is considering for his energy secretary.
And what about George Kaiser? Here’s another oil billionaire of Oklahoma, whose family foundation’s bad investments will leave taxpayers on the hook for $535 million in federal loans, and who has built his fortune in part by utilizing tax loopholes.
This whole farce is a disturbing example of the power the 1% wields over politics in America. The oil companies, to ensure their survival, have recruited church and community leaders to fill the heads of their followers with nonsense, connecting their religion with a greedy, corrupt industry which wants nothing more than to protect profit.
Perhaps it would be more prudent for Gov. Mary Fallin and the Republican-dominated legislature to stop praying to the oil industry and start passing laws to make their state’s oil billionaires pay their fair share of taxes.