Hurricanes, God, the Religious Right and Gays

A tornadic-producing system formed 19 August 2009, resulting in several small F1 tornadoes traveling in the downtown Minneapolis and surrounding areas, causing minor damage, local flooding, but no fatalities. Calvinist pastor John Piper decides that his God formed this storm system, that produced a tornado, and directed the tornado to disrupt the convention of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. The subject of the convention was whether to consider LGBTQ people eligible to proclaim the Gospel and serve the people of God, in Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit. According to Piper's interpretation of the events: God was clearly speaking to Lutherans in the negative: "the gays" have directly caused God's manifest wrath -- yet again.

The God of John Piper is in the practice of directly causing and actually directing each tornado with His divinely-wrathful finger. "Why would God reach down his hand and drag his fierce fingers across rural America, killing at least 38 people with 90 tornadoes in 12 states, and leaving some small towns with scarcely a building standing, including churches?" (link) Let me guess: "the gays" are responsible. No, actually, as the answer that time for Piper is found in the (capricious and arbitrary whim) decree of his "sovereign" (über-deterministic) God. His God decreed such events from before the world was created; and this God brings them to pass when the appointed time arrives in history. Why? To bring Himself glory, so that others will respect His "sovereignty" and power, and to humble wicked sinners.

Nevermind that tornadoes occur repeatedly in so few places throughout the earth. The U.S., and in particular "tornado alley," is climatically the perfect place for tornadoes to occur. But Piper's estimation of the Minneapolis event is misleading. Yes, the steeple at the Lutheran convention center was damaged, as were the tents they had set up outside. But Piper states, according to one of his friends, that the tornado lifted after it had damaged the steeple of the Lutheran convention center. (link) But that is not true.

MPRNews states that a report at 2:11 PM informs that the tornado damaged the steeple; the Electric Fetus record store was also struck and sustained damage (no doubt a judgment of God upon secular music). "Interstate 35W at 66th street was closed because of flooding." (link) I suppose, then, that God was also angry at the people on 66th street. The brief and small tornado cut power to at least 7,000 people (more judgment of God upon wicked sinners, I suppose). A tornado touchdown "was also reported in Cottage Grove near Highways 61 and 95." (link) Yet these other "judgments" had nothing to do with LGBTQ people, either in affirming them for ministry, or approving their "sinful behavior."

If we were to believe Piper, and his friend's eye-witness account of the event, one might imagine that God dropped down a miraculous tornado that only affected the ELCA convention center as a means to teach them to not affirm LGBTQ people. That, however, would be detrimental to truth and reality. The conditions became ripe for this tornadic event. Was this rather rare for this area? Absolutely. But Piper insists that there was no forecast for this kind of weather event; though, actually, there was: the "metro area was in a slight risk of severe storms from SPC, the Storm Prediction Center." (link) Why is Piper being deceptive about this event? He plays fast and loose with truth in order to perpetuate his evangelical, anti-LGBTQ, Religious Right agenda. But what is actually worse about Piper's deception is his uncanny hubris in perceiving to know the mind of God. How could Piper actually know that this event was God's warning to Lutherans without God explicitly revealing such to him? He can't!

Piper stands in a tragically long line of evangelicals who distort truth and reality to their own advantage. Franklin Graham is so adapt at deceptive rhetoric, pretending to know the mind of God, that, when he speaks, he does so alerting everyone to his theory that God and he share the same goal. "Christians went to the polls," he says (and by "Christians" he means evangelical Religious Right people who claim to follow Jesus while voting for Trump), "and God showed up." (link) How did "God show up"? "God's hand intervened Tuesday night to stop the godless, atheistic progressive agenda [which is LGBTQ-affirming] from taking control of our country." (link) Franklin and God are buddies -- they both think alike. His god, then, is a Republican and his religion is Republicanism touted as "evangelical Christianity."

Hurricane Harvey, which is slated to become the costliest hurricane in U.S. history, is noted to be yet another one of God's "judgments" on the U.S. for affirming the equality of LGBTQ people. Except, this time, the alleged judgment came to the shores of Republican Texas; and Corpus Christi, translated as "Body of Christ," was in the direct path of Harvey. Given that 81% of evangelicals are responsible for electing one of the most perverse men we have ever witnessed in the White House, we are left to wonder where are the Pat Robertsons, the John Pipers, and the Franklin Grahams, in pointing this "most obvious" sign of God's wrath? Currently there are two more systems in the Atlantic.



Joel Osteen suggests that hurricanes (and such) are God's way of saying: "You can handle this!" Actually, victims of hurricane Harvey should take this challenge as a compliment from God, for He thinks they're strong enough to endure the tragedy. (link) Never mind that some gave their lives for this "challenge" of God. He tells victims of hurricane Harvey to not have a "poor old me" mentality. (link) Well, Osteen may not blame hurricanes and such as judgment on our country because of LGBTQ people, but instead he assumes another tragic tact: God still brings hurricanes, which is horrible, and God brings hurricanes and the like as a testimony to human character, strength, and tenacity.

Is God hurling hurricanes onto the shores of America, or taking His tornadic finger and driving tornadoes across the country, in order to judge us or show us how strong we really are? Is God showing us a sign of future judgment in every solar eclipse, as ignorantly insisted by Anne Graham Lotz? No. Jesus even addressed the notion of two fatal disasters happening, one of murderous bloodshed and the other of a tower falling, concluding that the sins of people was not a determining factor. (Luke 13:1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Evangelicals who superstitiously think that God is judging us through weather events conceive of the U.S. as "a Christian nation," which is ludicrous at best, and utterly ignorant at worst. We are not a Christian nation. God did not call anyone to found a Christian nation. The only nation, the only people group, God has ever deemed belonging to Him is Israel, the Jewish people, and those Gentiles who chose to follow the God of Israel. God's people today remains the same: the Church, made up of those who trust in Jesus, Jew and Gentile. If judgment begins anywhere, insists St Peter, it begins with professing Christians. (1 Pet. 4:17) This is why my bogus statement on Republican Texas and Corpus Christi (the Body of Christ) regarding hurricane Harvey as a judgment of God is, though ignorant and deplorable, more worthy of acceptation than Piper's, Graham's, or Robertson's when they slam their fist on pulpits and rage against the vast (alleged) America-destroying LGBTQ agenda.

If Pat Robertson can insist that affirming LGBTQ equality will "bring terrorist bombs, it'll bring earthquakes, tornadoes and possibly a meteor;" and if Franklin Graham and John Piper can blame weather events (and political narratives) on the same; then I am permitted to insist that God brought the costliest, most devastating hurricane in U.S. history on the Body of Christ (Corpus Christi and surrounding areas) for voting Republican and defending and supporting Trump and his administration. If evangelicals don't repent then we can expect terrorists, both foreign and domestic, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes and possibly meteors as a form of judgment of God on this country. Or perhaps a hurricane is simply a weather event.

2 comments:

Hugh Krone said...

See I knew everything was Pipers fault

The Episcocrat said...

Lol . . . it's about time he and his kind received some culpability.

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ABOUT WILLIAM BIRCH

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My name is William Birch and I grew up in the Southern Baptist tradition but converted, if you will, to Anglicanism in 2012. I am gay, affirming, and take very seriously matters of social justice, religion and politics in the church and the state.