For at least the last dozen years, there have been a handful of religious “leaders” who, after some tragic and horrific event, will proclaim that it happened for some reason related to that place somehow offended God. We heard it after 9/11, and Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, among others, and now after the murders of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee blamed the school shooting on failure to have compulsory prayer at school; damned that inconvenient separation of church and state! Others have blamed disasters on the acceptance of abortion and gay marriage. A Tennessee pastor specifically said the mass shootings take place because schools teach evolution and “how to be a homo;” I shan’t link to it.
For sake of the argument, let’s assume that God is the spiteful, vindictive entity that some religious leaders say God is. Still, how do they KNOW it’s THESE particular activities that’s ticking off the Deity? How do they have such an accurate Pipeline to the sky?
Might not God be annoyed by our lack of compassion for those who are impoverished? Or our greed that allows people to work at sweatshops so that we can have our modern conveniences? Jesus talked a LOT about the poor, not so much about people’s sex lives. As Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw write in Jesus for President: “If we applied Sabbath law today, the bank owner would be as much of a criminal as the bank robber. And a lot of credit card companies…would be in really big trouble.”
Maybe THEIR God cares more about who is loving who; MY God cares more that we love one another. Their God is a bit of a jerk; my God is a God of love.
On the bus the other day, I spontaneously wrote a poem in my head. It’s a tad vulgar, but so is the behavior it addresses:
When there is a disaster
And you are a pastor,
There is one of two things you can do.
You should show great compassion.
But, if that’s not your fashion,
I’m pleading, please STFU.