Friday, September 09, 2005

Why Did God Smite New Orleans?

The Columbus Dispatch runs a story (behind a paywall, sorry) today surveying Christians who believe New Orleans is flooded because God is angry. This was predictable and predicted. They agree that the hand of God is at work, but have different opinions as to why:

  • Because America allows abortion. "Steve Lefemine, an anti-abortion activist in Columbia, S.C., was looking at a satellite map of Hurricane Katrina when something in the swirls jumped out at him: the image of an 8-week-old fetus.

    "'In my belief, God judged New Orleans for the sin of shedding innocent blood through abortion,' said Lefemine, who e-mailed the map to fellow activists across the country."
  • It's about Isreal. "In Israel, Christian journalist Stan Goodenough was struck by the juxtaposition of Jewish settlers being removed from their homes in the Gaza Strip and Americans being forced out of their homes in New Orleans.

    "'Is this some sort of bizarre coincidence? Not for those who believe in the God of the Bible...,' hewrote in a column for the Web site Jerusalem Newswire. 'What America is about to experience is the lifting of God’s hand of protection.'"
  • It's the gays. "In Philadelphia, Michael Marcavage saw no coincidence, either, in the hurricane’s arrival just as gay men and lesbians from across the country were set to participate in a New Orleans street festival called 'Southern Decadence.'

    'We take no joy in the death of innocent people,' said Marcavage, 'But we believe that God is in control of the weather,' he said. 'The day Bourbon Street and the French Quarter was flooded was the day that 125,000 homosexuals were going to be celebrating sin in the streets..'

  • Aside from the obvious problem with all this -- that these folks are engaged in preliterate, Old Testament, magical thinking -- the Katrina disaster doesn't even look like God's retribution should look.

    Recall that Katrina made a beeline for New Orleans, only to veer to the east at the last minute and head for Mississippi. You know, Mississippi that has among the most restrictive abortion laws in the country. Mississippi that has banned gay marriage since '97 . Mississippi which has among the highest rates of church attendence in the nation. Mississippi that has been reliably red since the Dixiecrats bolted. That Mississippi.

    This is like God raining fire and brimstone down upon a colony of ascetics so that some splashed onto Sodom and Gomorrah. Is God's aim always so bad when he's really pissed? He could have sent a small but powerful hurricane a la Hugo to innundate New Orleans, then head due north from there with enough reserve to flood the Clinton Library. But no, He nukes Mississippi instead.

    If ever we needed proof that fundamentalists are allergic to critical thinking.