Sunday, November 27, 2016

Standing on the Wrong Rock

Despite living in Minnesota most of my life, I consider myself a North Dakota native having been born in Fargo. A recent oil boom has caused a marked increase of the Roughrider State’s population. It’s also resulted in a protest that has captured the world’s attention. The issue at hand is the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline that would run from the Bakken oil fields in western North Dakota to southern Illinois, crossing beneath the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, as well as part of Lake Oahe near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. 

Many people including a few celebrities are “standing with Standing Rock” by blocking construction of the pipeline. One reason is to protect the water from a possible oil spill (the phrase “water is life” is often used by protesters). What should be pointed out is another pipeline and other utilities have been previously built underneath the Missouri River. The chairman of the Standing Rock Tribal Council happens to own a gas station.

Another reason given for the protests is the pipeline supposedly affecting Native American sites. U. S. Army Corp officials offered to hold hearings that were largely ignored by the Standing Rock tribe. Still the pipeline is to be constructed miles away from their sacred grounds. 

Protesters misrepresenting other facts have added fuel to the fire. Despite claims of peaceful protests, law enforcement officials have been attacked with rocks, bottles and Molotov cocktails. One person taunted policemen by holding a dead pig’s head on a stick. On Black Friday about 100 Standing Rock protesters gathered at a shopping mall in North Dakota’s capital city of Bismarck. At least 33 of them were arrested for trespassing after disregarding repeated orders to disperse and stop blocking an entrance.

Nevertheless, some religious groups (and even a few of my Facebook friends) have sided with the protesters. The outreach director of one organization posted a YouTube video from Standing Rock in which he talked about “saving Mother Earth.” I must remind eco-protesters the earth isn’t our mother! It’s simply the planet we live on.

This conflict will hopefully end soon since an eviction notice has been issued to protesters camping illegally on private property. In the meantime, I advise all professing Christians “standing with Standing Rock” to refocus your priorities by standing with “the Rock of our salvation” (Psalm 95:1). Believers should be more concerned about saving the souls of men by telling them about Chief Cornerstone who’s part of the tribe of Judah. Protesting a pipeline doesn’t get people into heaven.

“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock” - Matthew 7:24

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