Battlepanda: So...does God hate Republicans? Or is it Protestants?


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Monday, January 02, 2006

So...does God hate Republicans? Or is it Protestants?

You all know what I'm talking about here. Oklahoma and Texas are getting pounded by wildfires, and by all accounts, they're not going to be out of the woods for a while. And if the title seemed glib, please forgive me and understand my meaning. What's happening in these places is a tragedy, and I have honest sympathy for all those who've been killed, injured or displaced by these horrible events. However, it illustrates a point about the mentality of Divine Wrath that's so pervasive in today's society, both abroad and here in the States. I got to thinking on this during the spate of tornadoes that hit Kansas a while back ( does God hate Intelligent Design?), but better late than never, and I'm curious to hear how the wingnut camp will sound off on this issue. I expect the silence to be deafening.

As I'm sure you all remember, a year and a week ago, a massive tsunami devastated southeast Asia. By all accounts, it was the deadliest and most destructive seismic event since the catastrophic 1556 Shaanxi Earthquake that hit eastern China. And the tides had barely started to recede before the finger-pointing and claims of divine providence started. Muslims gloated over a mosque that remained upright amidst the destruction. Christians perpetrated an internet hoax about a Christian community spared after being forced out of town to celebrate Christmas. Even the Buddhists joined in the sectarian pig-pile (seriously, guys, I expect this kind of stuff from the Abrahamic religions, but not you).

This kind of scapegoat is nothing new, and seems just as pervasive as ever. If you'll remember, Hurricane Katrina was blamed on jazz and lifting one's top for beads. The Pakistan earthquake was viewed as retribution against those sinful Muslims. And I'm sure that there's someone out there who would place the blame for Hurricane Rita on Galveston's hopping music scene.

It's been many years since I've believed in god in any meaningful sense, so maybe I'm not in the right mindset to comment, but I find this kind of rationalizing repellent. It ascribes seriously questionable motives to a supposedly omnibenevolent entity, and undercuts that entity's supposed omnipotence by virtue of it's really bad aim (plenty of wealthy sinners got the hell out of Dodge ahead of Katrina while people of faith were floating face-down on Bourbon Street). It also raises some serious questions about why some places have gone so long without getting smote. Aside from a little flooding, Las Vegas seems to have chugged along pretty much natural-disaster-free for decades. Maybe God's building up to something big? Or maybe he just likes Wayne Newton.

I'm no theologian, and it's not my business to tell people what they should or shouldn't believe, but when you start pinning natural events to your higher power, you'd better be ready to back up your logic.