Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin wants God to help the state’s ailing oil and natural gas industry.
The Republican governor originally issued a proclamation inviting Christians to “thank God for the blessing created by the oil and natural gas industry and to seek His wisdom and ask for protection,” the Progressive Secular Humanist blog reported.
A new version of the “Oilfield Prayer Day” proclamation calls on everyone to thank a deity, declaring that “people of faith acknowledge such natural resources are created by God.”
“There was some question about whether it was one particular faith or another, so we just amended it to say all faiths,” Fallin told The Associated Press. “There are many people suffering right now who have lost their jobs in the energy sector ... there are a lot of families who have been hurt, and I think prayer is always a good thing, for anyone.”
The proclamation was requested by the Oilfield Christian Fellowship.
“The oilfield is experiencing an economic disaster with catastrophic impact on the industry,” Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma oilpatch chaplain Tom Beddow told the Baptist Messenger. “The most recognizable need is for the recovery of economic loss, but the greatest need in these depressive times is hope... the hope that comes from God.”
Not everyone was impressed by the governmental plea for help from a higher power.
“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,” Ruth Milka of Nation of Change wrote.
The industry has suffered from cheaper energy prices. Earlier this year, NPR reported that lower prices were a cause for the state’s $900 million budget gap, as well. It’s unclear if the observant should ask God to raise those prices.
In recent years, the state has also experienced a series of earthquakes that was blamed on wastewater from oil and natural gas production. A 5.8 temblor last month tied the record for the strongest quake in the state’s history.
Oilfield Prayer Day is Thursday.
This article has been updated to reflect that the earthquake in September was a magnitude of 5.8, rather than 5.6, per later analysis by the U.S. Geological Survey.