|RANT FROM SEPTEMBER 2005
"Retribution, Divine or Not"
Humanists and Freethinkers hesitated to make much of last Christmas' tsunami. A few voices were raised, asking, "Where was God?" The Biblical tradition says plainly that everything that happens is God's doing, so that would mean that God was right there. But we who have our doubts about "God" couldn't say much. The victims were almost all dark-skinned in color, and "God" has been very hard on those folks for a long time now. We didn't want to have to point out that God was doing what he always does, namely coming down hard on the already disadvantaged.|
This hurricane Katrina may be another story. Jerry Falwell told Pat Robertson that the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon was caused by the gays and abortion-rights activists. That would mean that the Saudi agents of El Caida were simply God's agents, executing his divine will. Then one could wonder why God-fearing believers would object to the instruments God chooses to do what he wants done. God used "terrorists" to punish the U.S. for its godlessness, so why blame the terrorists or get mad at them? It hardly makes sense.
Consider this hurricane. When Pat Robertson recommended publicly that the government of the U.S. break its own laws regarding the assassination of foreign heads of state, Katrina was little more than a tropical storm off Florida. But Robertson, who represents God Himself in the view of millions of mindless American voters, committed his grossly uncharitable and unChristian act of sin, right out in public in front of God and everybody, on the radio and TV network owned by him. It requires no stretch of the imagination to infer that God didn't like that. All Hugo Chavez ever did was assert that Venezuela's oil belongs to the people of Venezuela, which sounds correct to me. And he did visit Fidel Castro, which is no sin or crime either, as far as I know.
I suspect that God would be really ticked at Robertson, if there was a God. I have stated before that for me the uncontrovertable proof of God's non-existence is the ongoing persistent existence of Gerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. Any self-respecting God of righteousness and power would have zapped both of them long ago for blasphemy and high crimes.
But let's pretend that God does exist, and that Robertson just ticked him off. Well, there's little old Katrina, doing her thing. Maybe God goosed Katrina a little and turned her into a monster, with which God could punish Robertson's favorite country, the good old U.S.A. Well, one could say he got carried away, as God so often does. He overdid it, beating on the poor and dark-skinned and disadvantaged, as he so often does.
It was a punishment of mythological proportions. The disease and long-term poisoning which is pending may well make the flooding and missing roofs seem tame in comparison. Meanwhile, just in case, the Americans should apprehend Robertson, wrap him in duct tape and deliver him to the government of Venezuela for trial for assault.
I'm thinking that God has plenty of reason to be ticked at Pat Robertson's favorite Acting President, too. He's such a liar, for one thing. And his lies kill innocent people; it's as if the Acting President was horning in on God's territory. He needs punishing, too. Well, Katrina just may suffice for that, because his ideologically obsessed government will not cope well with all this real trouble. The budgets which could have been helpful in relief efforts have all been cut to ribbons. The National Guard is somewhere else. The Powers that Be in this country do not appreciate hard work and refuse to pay for it. All that is the will of the Acting President.
An unfortunate side-effect of this Katrina thing is that it gets Karl Rove's crimes off the front page, just when it has become obvious that he is guilty of treason and should be appropriately punished for it.
But retribution is in the air. Katrina is big trouble, for many more or less innocent people. All the stories of God's punishment, all through the Bible and throughout the ages are like that. Whole cities are swallowed up. Sodom, Gomorrah, Jerusalem twice, Constantinople... Makes a body thoughtful.