Thursday, August 25, 2011

Rabbi Yehuda Levin on East-Coast Earthquake as Divine Punishment for . . . You Guessed It

So if God is punishing D.C. and the east coast power mavens for being pro-gay through this week's earthquake, then why is He (the God who smacks folks down with natural disasters is always a He, in the minds of those using this toxic rhetoric) punishing Texas with unprecedented drought and protracted heat?

I had thought Texas was God's country.  

We're going to hear more of this meme, because it's well-nigh intractable in American culture, and the mainstream media contribute to it--freely so.  Even Catholic News Service has just published an article saying that churches were hit particularly hard by the earthquake--with no disclaimer or critical reference to the popular insistence that events like this are divine punishment for tolerance of the gays.

After gay civil marriage was implemented in California, when lightning sparked wildfires in that state (as it has done for years on end), the mainstream media started circulating a story echoing the statement of a state official that the lightning strikes were "unprecedented."  This story was--naturally--picked up by right-wing Christian and right-wing political websites, as it was designed to be, to fuel the claims of these sites that God punishes places that love the gays.

When the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America voted in 2009 to permit partnered same-sex ministers, and when a storm blew through the twin cities during the ELCA convention, right-wing commentators immediately sought to read the storm as evidence of divine disapprobation of the ELCA decision.

This selective reading of natural disasters--which are occurring all over the planet all the time--as highly selective divine punishment for homosexuality and tolerance of gay people has to engage in bizarre mental gymnastics as it madly discards and tailors multitudinous scraps of evidence to suit its preconceived notion about who God is and what God does.  In the video clip to which I link above, Rabbi Yehuda Levin ludicrously maintains that God zeroed in on Haiti with a hurricane several years ago, because Haiti is gay-tolerant--in contrast to nearby islands that were, Levin argues, spared divine punishment because they hold the line on the gays.

He also notes, with a barely suppressed quiver of delight in his voice, that the national cathedral suffered damage in the earthquake a day ago.  "God strikes churches in D.C.!  National cathedral damaged!!  Warnings to our nation of more to come if we tolerate homosexuality!!!"

We can look for much, much more of this meme in the near future, as people comment on the latest earthquake.  We can look for much more of the barely suppressed glee about natural disasters on the part of the spokesmen of the punitive male homo-hating God who is a diabolical distortion of the God of Judaeo-Christian tradition.

Meanwhile, I'm baffled that they continue to remain silent about Texas, which is God's country, after all, and hardly a homo-loving paradise.  And the little towns in Arkansas's hurricane alley that blow down over and over during our storm seasons: they're to a man staunchly Republican and anti-gay bastions of right-wing evangelical Christianity.

God's ways are surely curious, aren't they?

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