I am sure that tonight, people all around the nation are in a buzz about Hurricane Irene and the potential devastation that might come to the eastern seaboard of the U.S. in the coming days.
Many people, desiring to make sense of it all, will ask questions such as “Is Hurricane Irene a sign from God?” or “Is God punishing the Northeast — especially the state of New York — for its acceptance of the “gay lifestyle” and the regions embrace of gay marriage?”
I would not be surprised if these are questions and statements that we will be hearing from many Religious Right leaders if Irene has the impact on the New England coastline that forecasters are predicting it will.
After all, it was Pat Robertson, founder of the Religious Right’s Regent University, who just a few days ago, claimed that the cracks in the Washington Monument, caused by the recent Virginia earthquake, were a sign from God that His favor upon the U.S. was diminishing.
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New York Rabbi Yehuda Levin was more direct, howver, and blamed gay marriage for causing the East Cost earthquake.
To those in the Religious Right, the Bible “clearly” teaches that God controls where and why natural disasters strike. In order to make sense of these natural disasters in their own minds and their view of a loving omnipotent God, they assign blame to those whom the natural disaster strikes.
It must be those in New Orleans’ fault, for example, for being so hedonistic that Katrina would cause such devastation. The Haitian earthquake must have been the people of Haiti’s fault; because they made a “pact with the devil” (Pat Robertson). In the world of the Religious Right, natural disasters are not “natural disasters” and do not happen indiscriminately. Instead, they happen for a distinct and purposeful reason.
Yet, at the same time, when a tornado hits Joplin, Missouri or Tuscaloosa, Alabama, leaders of the Religious Right are interestingly silent.
Though they like to preach messages of judgement, it does not make sense for the socially and “Christian” states of the Bible Belt to receive the wrath of God. But, if God controls and has a purpose with natural disasters, does that not necessitate that disasters, such as the devastating tornadoes, are the result of His judgement as well?
Would an earthquake which levels Memphis, Tennessee and St. Louis, Missouri be a direct consequence of the actions of individuals in those cities?
To Religious Right leaders, judgement upon the good “Christians” cannot happen.
Instead, there must be something in God’s plan that we are fallible human beings do not understand. Maybe God uses situations like Joplin or Tuscaloosa to bring people to His son? Maybe he does it to test the resolve, trust, and patience of His followers? A natural disaster is an opportunity to grow closer to, and lean more upon Christ.
Yet, if it happens in New York, its clearly the fault of the gays. Clearly…