Evangelist Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of Dr. Billy Graham, has taken to Facebook to pray for Texas, and voice her consternation that God would allow such a thing to happen…to Texas. (This was after she and others attempted unsuccessfully to pray the storm away.)
“How can this be?” she laments on her Facebook page. “How can You allow Hurricane Harvey to sit over Texas? To slam into Louisiana? To ruin property and destroy lives? Why?"
I confess, I'm confused!
This is the same woman who saw the recent solar eclipse as a warning of God’s impending judgment.
This is the same woman who says God allowed the 9-11 terrorists’ attacks because of transgender “silliness.”
This is the same woman who proclaims that America has imploded because of same-sex marriage.
Obviously, science is not one of Anne’s strengths.
Solar eclipses happen, and have for centuries. Same with hurricanes, earthquakes and tornadoes.
My problem here is that Anne is among those who are usually so quick to blame such natural, though tragic, phenomenon on those deemed “sinners.” It is divine retribution against those who don’t believe the same way, and those who don’t’ vote the same way. (Others have been quick to assign blame to Houston's lesbian mayor or liberals' lack of support for Donald Trump.)
Why is she so distraught at this “divine” disaster?
(Is it because Texas is somehow supposed to be one of God’s favorites, and immune to such devastation?)
Fundamentalists ensconce themselves in a black-and-white, cause-and-effect worldview. God is like a cosmic video game; if you push the right buttons, at the right time, you are rewarded. But if you don't, there are divine consequences.
- If you sin, God will smite you.
- If you are gay, God will punish you.
- Pray and attend church, you will be blessed.
- Send money, and God will make your rich.
I would love to ignore such ignorance, as some have implored me to.
I should be "nice" and "agree to disagree," as many have encouraged me to do.
Such simplistic, naive theology is not only indefensible, it's dangerous. This is religious-based oppression because it singles out and demonizes a group of people, which makes them a logical target for hate and brutality. As we've seen clearly in recent years, there will always be those who take it as their mission to carry out divine vengeance, in the Name of the Lord, against those who are perceived as the "cause" of these disasters. (i.e., "Earthquakes come because of fags, so if we kill the queers, the world will be a better place.")
I’m sure many in South Texas and elsewhere are asking lots of hard, emotional questions about this storm, but the reality is: harsh weather is part of the world we live in. Hurricane Harvey is not (NOT!!) a punishment for those who've sinned, any more than sunshine is a reward for those who are righteous. I seem to remember Jesus saying: “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…[your Father] causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:44-46 NASB)
Author's Note: If there is a “sin” involved, it would be our leaders’ continued denial of the negative impact we’re having on our environment, and their refusal to address the results!
In the end, I personally think such pearl-clutching and hand-wringing by these Fundamentalist Snake Oil Barkers has two primary purposes:
(1) it keeps them in the spotlight they so desperately crave, and
(2) it raises the money needed to fulfill that first goal!