Thursday, June 28, 2012

Colorado Springs and the Limitations of Rhetoric about Natural Disasters and Divine Punishment

Remember how, when the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America voted to ordain partnered gay candidates in committed monogamous relationships, some commentators claimed that God sent a tornado barreling straight down a street in Minneapolis to show the Lutherans how displeased He* was at their actions?  Google "Lutherans" + "Minneapolis" + "tornado" and one of the first hits you'll land on is a lurid YouTube clip uploaded by one LogosApologia with the title "Lutherans Endorse Homosexuality God Sends Tornado!"

Apostasy!  Error!  Holy living God!  True historic miracle! the film screams.

REPENT Lutherans - Repent! repent!

So since God in His infinite wisdom and loving mercy sends natural disasters to punish the wicked (as Fr. Gerhard Maria Wagner, Pope Benedict's choice for the bishop of Linz who was strongly opposed by his peers in 2009, instructs us), what in the name of all that is holy has Colorado Springs done to earn this conflagration?

Colorado Springs: which is so chock-full of right-leaning evangelicals that it's been dubbed the Evangelical Vatican?  And whose Roman Catholic community is no slouch at all in the political conservatism department--whose bishop announced in 2007 that no sir he will not permit Plan B in Catholic hospitals, and in 2004 that he'd deny communion (and again in 2007) to Catholics supporting abortion rights, same-sex marriage, stem-cell research, or euthanasia.  

And who is now sponsoring a widely discredited "gay therapy" program for gays.

Colorado Springs: the home of the fiercely anti-gay hate group Focus on the Family.

What, I repeat, has Colorado Springs done to incur divine wrath?

And can we expect soon to see the videos 'splaining it all to us--why Colorado springs needs to obey the Holy living God and recognize the true historic miracle God is unfolding in the community today and Repent! Repent!?

Or maybe, with all due respect to Fr. Gerhard Maria Wagner, it's just a tad bit obscene to attribute such disasters to God, and to use the massive suffering these disasters cause to further our political agendas.  Maybe it's time for followers of Jesus to start talking about God as Jesus did--in terms of mercy, compassion, and loving embrace.

Or, at the very least, to stop braying about disasters that afflict areas we decide to zero in on as cruising for a bruising because they've tolerated the gays, while we totally ignore the hardships that, in the course of nature and history, come to everyone in time.  And which God surely calls us to address with healing, rather than to use to beat some stigmatized group of people about the head with.

*The God who commands tornadoes and hurricanes to level gay-affirming places is, I believe, always imagined by His devotees as male.

The graphic is a photo of the fire threatening Colorado Springs by Cassidy DeJong, published by Jaryd Wilson at Colorado Connection.

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