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Tuesday, September 06, 2005

SPIRITUALITY/RELIGION: Treating Katrina as a Punishment from God

Letter for The Oregonian and responses

August 31, 2005
Storm is sign from God

The hurricane and floods in the Gulf states are another wake up call from God to the United States. Each warning gets more intense. How many more wakeup calls do we need before this nation turns back to the God of our forefathers?

The liberals are trying to remove everything godly from our nation: prayer in schools and other public arenas, the Ten Commandments from public places. They allow immorality of every type to be promoted. It is time we pray for revival in this nation, which was founded on all the things we are gradually losing. Wake up, America!

JAN LANDIS Southeast Portland

September 1, 2005
Did God make a mistake?

I wondered how long it would take a benighted fundamentalist Christian to nominate Hurricane Katrina as a sign that their God is in a snit over liberalism ("Storm is sign from God," Letters, Aug. 31). Odd that the punishment meted out by Jan Landis' God would strike three Southern red states that probably contain more Baptists and Pentecostalists per square mile than they do heedless and hedonistic liberals.

Apparently, this protest by God could have been more intelligently designed.

STEFFEN SILVIS Southeast Portland

Where superstition leads . . .

So those darn liberals are the cause of Hurricane Katrina and probably global warming, too? What's next? Sacrificing a couple of virgins into Mount St. Helens' crater every week or so?

Better get that Hubble telescope out of orbit soon because it allows us to see a universe that has been billions of years in the building. Should burning NASA scientists at the stake be the next order of business?

BILL POWELL Northeast Portland

Hurricane Katrina: God's Punishment for a 'Wicked' City?
Urban Legends and Folklore Blog

August 31, 2005
A reader writes: Is it true that Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans on a day that was to observe "Southern Decadence Day" with 100,000 homosexuals gathering to commit unspeakable acts in public?

In a word, no. Despite the fact that some fundamentalist Christians appear eager to characterize the disaster as "God's judgment" on the "wicked" city of New Orleans, and despite their attempt to link its timing to a gay celebration held there annually, the claims are patently absurd:

The hurricane struck on Monday, August 29. This year's Southern Decadence, sometimes called the "Gay Mardi Gras," was scheduled to open today, Wednesday the 31st, and continue through Sunday. The storm obviously did not strike on "the day" of the celebration. Many, perhaps most, of the revelers had not even arrived yet.

Southern Decadence is a 35-year-old tradition in New Orleans. Why did God choose to wait till 2005 to "punish" the city for it?

Why is the French Quarter, the district where the event (now canceled) was to be held, one of the least devastated parts of the city so far?

If this tragedy occurred because God is angry at New Orleans, what was the point of the awful devastation and loss of life wrought in Mississippi and Alabama? (And, if I - OlderMusicGeek speaking here - may add a point, Katrina was heading for New Orleans, but switch directions before hitting land. Did God get distracted and let his aim go off? Let it hit Mississippi more ?)

Lastly, if I may vent a bit, I find it shameful, given the massive destruction, loss of innocent life, and ongoing hardships suffered by the hundreds of thousands of victims of Hurricane Katrina, that any self-appointed spokesperson for God would have the nerve to suggest that these people in any sense deserved their fate. Natural disasters happen all the time, and Katrina was certainly not the first hurricane to strike the southern United States this season. By what logic, and by what right, does any human being arbitrarily declare that this natural disaster was a punishment meted out upon sinners by God?

Hurricane Katrina: Al Qaeda leader in Iraq sees ”start of US collapse”

Al Qaeda group in Iraq, which is led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, on Sunday praised in an Internet statement what it said was the "start of the collapse" of the United States after the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina.

"Congratulations to the Islamic nation, to our sheikh Osama abu Abdullah (Osama bin Laden) and to sheikh Ayman Zawahiri (bin Laden's deputy) for the destruction of America, which is at the forefront of evil. It is the start of its collapse."

The statement was referring to the hurricane which left some 10,000 dead.

In recent days, Islamists website connected between the storm and the "US war against Islam." According to them, Katrina was sent by God to torment the American empire.

An interesting take on God, race and Katrina

Dogpile.com Report on one Fundamentalist view of Katrina
BeliefNet's "Did God Send the Hurricane?"


Anonymous said...

Katrina online
PEOPLE GOOGLE their bosses. They Google their dates. They Google their neighbors.
Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!

I have a ##prayer## site/blog. It pretty much covers ##Katrina## related stuff.

Come and check it out if you get time :-)

zuhn said...

Wow 'anonymous', what a blatant use of a comment box to promote your own blog. Kinda like all the companies out there 'donating' products to the victims of the hurricane. I mean make-up kits? Give me a break!

As for the actual post, it's so hard to fathom how much energy people are devoting to trying to blame someone or some group rather than trying to help the situation. The people who are once again invoking God as a tool to defeat liberal politics and social movements are likely the same ones trying to stop the onslaught of criticisms aimed at the federal government.

Just once, I would like to see people helping people for the sake of humanity and not for ulterior purposes. Altruism is dead, people.

OlderMusicGeek said...

Well, zuhn, I have to admit that I hate when people claim everything bad is a punishment from God. Except when it happens to them... then it's just a test of faith. Kinda convenient, that.

As for altruism - it's not dead. There was plenty of horrible things happening in New Orleans, but lots of good things too.

Even if some people were looting for more than what they needed, apparently some looters were passing out the water and food they stole.

And some of officers from New Orleans not-so-clean police force ran off when they couldn't enjoy the privileges they had before. There were quite a few that did stick around.

And the convention center was a mess, but New Orleans SWAT team went after the shooters there WITHOUT using guns so they wouldn't hurt any of the other people there.

Altruism is around - it's just that events like this bring out both the best and the worst in people.

zuhn said...

I guess I'm a little Hobbesian in my outlook on life.

The will to survive is amoral.

I recently came aross this line in Shauna Singh Baldwin's 'The Tiger Claw'. I thought it was apt for the situation down in Louisiana.

OlderMusicGeek said...

I have to admit I don't know who this Hobbes is that you are referring to. I'm not as well-read as you, zuhn.

I do like the quote and consider it appropriate.

zuhn said...

Don't worry about Thomas Hobbes. I had to sit through many hours of Social Theory for my first degree. He promoted rational thought back in the 1600s under the belief that people are too selfish to govern themselves and thus society requires a secular government to prevent mayhem.

He's also the guy who said 'the life of man solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short'. Really a glass-half-empty kinda guy.

OlderMusicGeek said...

Well, I have to admit that makes sense to me. I always said anarchy is a great ideal, but it could never work in the real world - too many want to lead, and a lot more want people to tell them what to do!

zuhn said...

If you're interested, you should check out his book Leviathan. There are some comments in there about war and the social condition that is still applicable today, 400 years later.

Anarchy as an ideal? I'm not sure if I would agree with you on that one. And true anarchy wouldn't need a leader, right? Of course, my ideal of communism technically doesn't need a leader either, but we all know how well communism in practice works.

OlderMusicGeek said...

I'm sorry if I didn't make myself clear before. Yes, a true anarchy wouldn't have a leader.

Which is why it couldn't work in the real world. A place without a leader is a picture perfect place for a dictator to make his start.

In my humble opinion, it is easy for anybody to find followers. There are quite a few people who rather not have to think for themselves - another problem why anarchy can't work in the real world.

I've always said I'm an anarchist in my heart, but welfare state democrat in my head. (And it's my anarchist tendencies and critical - in many meanings - mind that keep from any religion!)

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