Are ‘natural’ disasters (like Hurricane Harvey) acts by Mother Nature or acts by God? If they are acts by God then they are signs of God’s wrath against the wicked. God’s wrath is the position taken by the extreme elements of the religious Christian right-wing fundamentalists and evangelists. It’s hogwash.
There are way, way too many far right-wing fundamental and evangelistic Christian True Believers who are plain bat-shit crazy. Consider some responses to the Hurricane Harvey event which hit hard the Texas Gulf Coast and Louisiana and adjacent regions with massive rainfalls, associated flooding, and the normal sort of destruction you expect and get with large-scale hurricane events.
You have extremist anti-LGBTQ pastor Kevin Swanson who has declared that Hurricane Harvey was God’s wrath and judgement on Houston and other regions that have adopted sexual perversions as the norm.
In like fashion, you have far-right religious activist “Coach” Dave Daubenmire who stated that Hurricane Harvey was divine punishment on Houston because Houston had a lesbian mayor and has a pro-homosexuality major and the local powers-that-be promote abortion. He also made calls for relief money donations for Hurricane Harvey’s victims be sent to his organisation instead of the American Red Cross or the Salvation Army so that his organisation could distribute the funds Christian-to-Christian, presumably meaning that only victims worthy of his or his organisation’s judgement would get relief funds because he wants people to depend on the church and on God and not on the government.
Also End Times radio host Rick Wiles argued that the damage done to Houston by Hurricane Harvey was God’s punishment for Houston’s affinity with sexual perversion especially having some sort of devotion to the homosexual / lesbian agenda. Furthermore, the local powers-that-be deliberately persecute Christian pastors!
And right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones (InfoWars) suggested that those Democrats in charge in Houston deliberately didn’t order an evacuation of the city in advance of the storm in order to make life as difficult as possible for Republicans like the Texas Governor and President Trump.
Now the obvious problem with this is that way more regions than just Houston were hit by Hurricane Harvey. Further, Texas tends to be a rather conservative Republican-dominated Christian-oriented state and thus an awful lot of Christian True Believers were hit hard by the storm, and killed by the storm, etc. Where’s the logic in having God’s wrath also act against His True Believers instead of on just the alleged wicked? Of course the Religious-right is having none of any other rationale. Mother Nature had nothing to do with this, and obviously human-related climate change had nothing to do with this. It’s God’s wrath pure and simple and it is all wrapped up as one coherent theological package with no loose ends to tie up. Of course maybe God caused the hurricane strike for a totally different reason(s). It seems that the extreme religious right-wing requires their God to act in such a way as to reinforce their own biases. It seems that no matter what the disaster, the extreme far religious right-wing will say that “God did it” because (and insert their pet hatred here as the reason).
As I said, IMHO these people, and there would be thousands like Kevin Swanson, Dave Daubenmire, Rick Wiles and Alex Jones, who either have some sort of extremist agenda and know they are spouting off pure B.S. and deliberately spouting off pure B.S., or else they are in fact just plain bat-shit crazy!
But here’s an analogy for God hitting Houston with Hurricane Harvey. Say you and your wife live in Houston, Texas. Alas, you rather hate your wife because she’s having an affair and you would like to see her and her lover dead. Fortunately, you’re a bomber pilot with the USAF, and so on a training mission you divert and fly over Houston and drop the nuclear bomb on the city’s CBD. Okay, so now you’ve killed your wife and her lover who both work in the CBD. Mission accomplished. But it was rather like taking a sledgehammer to crack a walnut.
Another recent event that attracted the gloom-and-doom attention of the fundamentalists was the 2017 solar eclipse over the USA. Obviously that was a sign from God casting His darkness as a warning sign over the wicked USA. Repent! Of course there’s at least one solar eclipse as viewed from on Earth ever one to three years. So has each and every solar eclipse (going back to when God was just conceived of in someone’s philosophy) a gloom-and-doom sign from God, and if so to what possible end? Even God can only cry wolf so many times before He’s going to be ignored. Further, why is it that if a solar eclipse passes over your area then it’s a sign from God (probably to repent and that the end is nigh) yet when another solar eclipse passes over another area it’s not a sign from God and of no consequence. Further to that point, you don’t hear American extreme right-wing fundamentalist Christians rattle on about extreme weather events in other countries as being God’s wrath, unless the country is a Christian country, and not always even then. God’s wrath seems to be reserved mainly for your country.
There are multi-dozens of hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones happening around the world each year. Is each a sign from God, or another example of God’s punishment and wrath and if so, again, to what possible end? Repeating the same message, a message solely interpreted by (bat-shit crazy) humans for humans endlessly does nothing to make the message more believable.
Sometimes a hurricane is just a hurricane, and “just a hurricane” has no agenda. And when a hurricane happens during the recognised hurricane season, well, that doesn’t impress me much. Now when God has a hurricane strike Texas in January or February, then I might sit up and take a bit more notice. Or, for that matter, what about blizzards in the Amazon rain forest, or tornadoes in Antarctica, or massive flooding in the deserts of Peru, or how about icicles hanging off of the pyramids in Egypt? Now that would be impressive. I’m not holding my breath waiting for God to strike the jungles of Southeast Asia (for example) with blizzards.
As a somewhat related aside, there was recently a photograph taken of the White House with a double-rainbow over it. Of course, according to evangelists and other far right-wing Christians, that was an obvious sign from God anointing and approving of President Trump. Alas, double-rainbows aren’t that rare (I’ve even seen a triple-rainbow) and they are seen all over the world, including most probably even in North Korea.
Science librarian; retired.