Friday, November 9, 2012

Sin, Pride Apparently to Blame for Hurricane Sandy

In a prior post, Republic of Gilead highlighted several Religious Right reactions to Hurricane Sandy. As they do with most natural disasters, Religious Right voices blamed everything from gays to impiety to improper foreign policy as the culprit for the storm. More voices have weighed in, blaming sin, pride, and LGBTQ rights initiatives for Hurricane Sandy's onslaught.

First, during the October 31st Reformation Day gathering in Dallas, Texas, Dennis Lindsay of Christ for the Nations prayed for Sandy's victims. While his sorrow appeared sincere and heartfelt, his ideas about the storm's origins made me ill at ease. At the 42:42 mark of the rally video, he suggested that the "enemy" and sin were to blame for the hurricane. (See www[dot]generals[dot]org/reformationday/)
"Americans and internationals who live on the East Coast are suffering at the hands of the enemy. We know you are a good God. We know it didn't come from you, but it came from our sins, my sins, that came upon the land and hit part of our family. And so we pray for your angels to come and sovereignly meet the needs of those people who have lost everything."
Next, the Washington Blade reports that Pastor Luke Robinson of Quinn Chapel AME Church in Frederick, Maryland blamed support for LGBTQ equality for the storm. In an audio segment from an anti-Question 6 rally at Baker Park on November 4th, Robinson blamed several culprits for the hurricane: New York City's pride, Mayor Bloomberg's $250,000 donation to a same-sex marriage campaign, and the northeast's alleged rejection of truth.
"On October 28th, a storm hit New York, and one of the things that we have discussed and learned from New York is that New York is a proud city ... The Bible said this very clearly. Before a fall, pride cometh! And so here was the mayor of New York giving a quarter of a million dollars, coming down to Maryland discussing the matter. While he’s here, somebody whispers in the ear, you better go back home and protect your stock, because God is sending judgment ... God sent a storm that tore the place up, up in Massachusetts and all up in that lot because they have rejected the truth and the knowledge of God ... For all of your money you still can’t win if God says he’s on our side and we are on the side that can win and must win."
Later, Robinson claimed that this "mess" would not have happened if Christian pastors had been "on watch." It was unclear if the occurrence that would have never happened was Hurricane Sandy or an increasingly pro-LGBTQ cultural climate.
"To our shame, the church, where are they? To our shame, the pastors, where are they? This would have never happened if the pastors of this country had been on watch. But since they aren't on watch, we always got to play catch up ball. One day, you'll not be able to catch up because God will have had enough of this mess."
Every time a natural disaster devastates the land, I'm amazed at how quickly fundamentalists blame real or imagined human flaws. Some, like Lindsay, are well-meaning people whose theodicy leads them to unfortunate conclusions. Others are only too eager to blame groups they dislike for the devastation, relishing other's suffering and their own self-righteousness. Whatever their reasons, fundamentalists need to stop blaming disasters on human victims and alleged "sins".

16 comments:

  1. It's always the victims' fault. Not sure what the Christian pastors were supposed to be "on watch" for.

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    1. Donna -- Maybe they were supposed to be on watch for any inkling of justice for LGBTQ persons, since they're supposed to keep their flocks homophobic. Ugh.

      I'm so sick of the victim-blaming. It does nothing to prevent or soothe these tragedies.

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  2. "...you still can’t win if God says he’s on our side and we are on the side that can win and must win..."

    ...except when it comes to elections. :-)

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  3. Doncha just love it when you can avoid science and just blame things on people who they hate just because it makes them nervous to think about themselves? I rather find it amusing, I must say.

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    1. Sherry -- It's a real shame. Their world would make so much more sense if they'd just think more.

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    2. Hurricane Sandy and it's devestaing after birth, ah, Aftermath....were directly caused by America's turn to cheap lite beer. God told me so....why gosh we play cribbage every other thursday and he told me so! Now, why would God lie to someone like me?

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    3. Okjimm -- But...there must have been craft beer drinkers among the victims! Dogfish Head Brewery is in Delaware, near where the hurricane hit! Why would God punish the beer drinkers with good taste along with the lite beer infidels? You better ask God when you play cribbage again.

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  4. This makes me think of a quotation I heard on NPR, and I think it comes from the show Newsroom. A character said something like, "I'm a registered republican. It just doesn't seem like it, because I believe that hurricanes are caused by high barometric pressure and not gay marriage."

    :)

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    1. Michelle -- A rare voice of sanity in the GOP!!!

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  5. Sucks to be them. Seriously. Blaming generic "sin and pride" used to be kind of a fun, yet humble way to admit that shit happened outside of our control that could only be a result of someone (usually church leaders) sinning too much... or maybe it was me... and my pride. I had too much pride though I didn't know how to sin. God was trying to teach us/me a lesson, again, and again, and again... and when it became evident that nothing I was doing was sinful or even all that prideful, and if anything there was pride in playing the victim/persecuted Christian, I started realizing that disasters, personal and within the community, were not about sin and pride... it was about the fact that my humanity was all I had and I was not immortal and had no control over shit happening. Shit happens. I am finite. And though it sucks sometimes, it's okay... and I'm not so proud as to think I can control it (tornadoes, car accidents, death, suffering). Sure... They can claim sin and pride if they are willing to consider their denial of their calling to be GOOD stewards of the earth as a sin of pride. And it is. At least the left of center Christians, even those in the Center, know that their stewardship of the earth is probably more of a sin and to blame for superstorms than lesbians making out... in public.
    ERG.

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    1. Christine -- In a way, acknowledging that some things are out of our control helps us cope with tragedy. We know not to blame ourselves or twist ourselves into theological pretzels wondering why God let horrors happen.

      I think some of the victim-blaming we're seeing is the result of Christian theodicy. Fundamentalists can't bring themselves to blame God or admit that tragedy is arbitrary, so they blame "bad" people instead.

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  6. What's that dictum conservatives like to throw back at liberals? Oh, yes, I remember: "Never let a good crisis go to waste."

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    1. SW Anderson -- Fundamentalists have been following that credo faithfully with every disaster, unfortunately.

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  7. I really fear these people. They stand in the way of real progress. Their religion hasn't earned them a single benefit it seems - rather, it makes them frightened, paranoid, and angry all the time. Is that what their God wants of them?

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    1. Snoring Dog Studio -- It must be miserable, going though life with a fundamentalist mindset seeped in fear and anger.

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