Friday, September 09, 2005

Did God Send Katrina?

Some Christians seem to think so, as a punishment for New Orleans' sin and decadence. Even Sister PeaceBang is asking the question (and asking for links to support the answer, as well). Well, this was posted a few days ago on Rude Pundit in answer to the question, and it's worth repeating:

Oh, sweet Christians, yes, the mighty winds and floods of Katrina are indeed the works of God, but, no, the hurricane and its vengeful aftermath are not God's penance on New Orleans and Biloxi for the sins of sex and gambling. For God is far wiser than that. No, Hurricane Katrina was God's way of wrecking the Republican agenda.

Yes, you might say, and you might be right (this being about God, and, really, we are not meant to know God's ways), God could have been a little more subtle about it. Perhaps Tom DeLay caught fellating an illegal Mexican exterminator. But, no, God's tried subtle before - God's sent a plague of throat-lodging pretzels upon the President, but to no lasting effect. Bush has lived before with the oxygen cut off to his brain. And, in the realm of God stuff, eternity, worldwide floods, the like, a hurricane is not that big a deal. God's a big picture kind of deity.

God is all about opportunities, not punishment. Choices, not condemnation. Jesus could have used all kinds of Christ-y magic to smite some motherf***ers when he was up on that cross, but he chose not to. Job could have said, "Yo, God, f*** you," but he did not. When God allowed 9/11 to happen, it was an opportunity, a glass is half full kind of moment, a chance to unify the people of the world, but, ah, yes, the Devil is always there, always waiting, shape-shifting and telling untruths as if they were the tablets from the Mount, for the Devil is, indeed, the Prince of Lies.

So the chance at a kind of peace was shattered because the Devil is like the finest stripper at the cheapest joint: he knows how to dance so the people will be hypnotized by his tempting sashay and thonged ass, so they will not see the cold, calculating machinations going on in the back of the club. Or they will not care when someone opens the doors and says, "Look, see how they keep the Russian immigrants here enslaved, see how they threaten their families back in Moscow, see how they keep them addicted to drugs so they'll be willing to blow the owner's son to keep those hits coming." When the Devil shakes his pussy in your face, who are you, mere mortal, to deny the Devil a buck in his spangled g-string?

Thus, God's hand was forced to bring out the biggest guns to drive into stark relief the images of God's poorest people, the ones that the rest of us are supposed to care about, the ones who got nary a visit from a presidential candidate last year, the ones who are supposed to disappear like ants into the hill after they've done their work: out of sight, out of mind. God's made this pretty f***in' simple, God thinks: what you do to the least of these, you know. The last twenty-five years or so have shown that the American government wants God to live in s**thole housing with no health insurance, no child care, bare bones job training, no welfare net, facing starvation, violence, and/or imprisonment at every turn. And that's a pretty s**tty way to treat God.

So how could a storm like this not give the message that it's time to render unto Caesar what is Caesar's, motherf***ers, and stanch the arterial bleedout of tax dollars to reward the wealthy. F***, God must think, how many camels must be sacrificed through the eyes of needles to make a f***in' point?

The hurricane was God's way of telling the Republicans (and their Democratic enablers) that they have sorely f***ed up God's work by undermining the environment at every turn in favor of business concerns so that the wealthy get wealthier, and, well, s**t, there's already piles of steamy camel guts to wade through to make a point to them. The hurricane was God's way of telling Republicans that eternal war means no peace and here's a big f***in' way to re-prioritize. The hurricane was God's way of telling Republicans that they are responsible for all screw-ups now, big and small, and that God is, indeed, watching.

After the hurricane, God was surprised, though. Even God could not foresee how badly the Bush administration would botch its response, even God had to say, "G**damn, that's some f***ed up s**t." But God knows that the Devil, ah, the Devil is always around, but the Devil can be defeated.

So if you hear some preacher here or there declaim that God sent Katrina to New Orleans to stop the sinning, simply agree and then ask, "What sins are you talking about?"

(Oh, and God's message to the Democrats is this: It's time to have a spine because God's got your back. And if you f*** with God, well, God can f*** you harder.)


At September 10, 2005 at 11:53:00 AM EDT, Blogger Steve Caldwell said...

The sexuality educator and marriage/family therapist Dr. Marty Klein said something similar to this in his latest newsletter in response to those who said that Katrina was "God's punishment" for New Orleans:

"If there is a God, and if God destroys when angry, we should look a little deeper for possible sources of that anger. For example, the dozens of gambling casinos littering the Mississippi and other rivers nearby. Every single weekend, churches charter buses carrying people with open wallets eager to get something for nothing. That's a lot of greed.

Maybe God is angry that Louisiana had the lowest Congressional voter turnout in the nation in 2004. Barely one in four eligible Louisianans voted for someone to represent them in the U.S. House. That's a lot of indifference.

Maybe God is angry that these voters did turn out to overwhelmingly approve a state constitutional amendment banning same-gender marriage by a margin of 80 percent. That's a lot of hate.

Maybe God is angry that Mississippi passed a law last year virtually banning second-trimester abortions. Mississippi's abortion laws are already among the most restrictive in the country. That's a lot of theft of others' rights.

Maybe God is angry that in Alabama it's legal to buy a gun but illegal to buy a vibrator. That's a lot of self-righteousness.

Maybe God is testing the Christian values of this highly religious Gulf area. Have their pieties about the traditional family, traditional marriage, and the sins of contraception kept them from looting, raping, and trampling each other? Did the rich help the poor, or abandon them?

It's easy to be civilized when you have what you need. If religion can't keep you civilized when you don't have what you need, it's worthless."

At September 10, 2005 at 5:37:00 PM EDT, Blogger fausto said...

I hear that, Steve, but I don't really think Katrina was God's angry retribution for hypocritical prudery any more than it was angry retribution for licentiousness. When "Rude Pundit" says, "God is all about opportunities, not punishment; choices, not condemnation," he is preaching pure process theology. The Process God (an apprehension of God, by the way, which UU philosopher Charles Hartshorne had a strong hand in revealing) is a creative chef in the kitchen, optimistically blending and experimenting in search of the perfect new fusion of flavors, not a stern, jealous judge on a high bench, bent on enforcing perfect obeisance.

What Katrina did do, though (and the big repercussions have barely started, I think), was expose the moral bankruptcy of the political agenda that has served as the GOP's mantra and playbook ever since Ronald Reagan humiliated the moderate wing of the party 25 years ago. It has peeled the veneer off many unpleasant aspects of society that for 25 years it has been expedient for our entire society to ignore, and it is forcing us to acknowledge and confront them.

How we ultimately respond to this opportunity remains to be seen, but the early signs are hopeful. Suddenly, what has been the reigning paradigm is greeted almost universally with derision and disbelief whenever it is seriosly put forward. 2006 and 2008 are going to be very interesting election years indeed.

At September 12, 2005 at 9:50:00 PM EDT, Blogger PeaceBang said...

I LOVE that thing by Marty Klein, which I didn't read as a genuine theological statement but as a satire on the ridiculous hellfire-and-brimstone crowd. LOVES IT.

At September 16, 2005 at 10:21:00 AM EDT, Anonymous geode said...

I don't see Katrina as an act of God, but quite probably a result of global warming--from higher temperatures in the oceans. We are likely to continue having more hurricanes every year and worse ones than usual.

Osama bin Laden said he wanted to put the US in the poorhouse. Well, between Iraq, George Bush, and New Orleans, we may be heading in that direction!


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