Sunday, August 31, 2008

In God We Trust?

Last week James Dobson’s Focus on the Family unveiled a new video, created by Stuart Shepard who regularly makes videos for Dobson’s group. In the video, Shepard asked politically conservative Christians to pray for rain on August 28 to disrupt Barack Obama’s acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. Shepard called for “abundant rain, torrential rain … flood-advisory rain.” He added, “I’m talking about umbrella-ain’t-gonna-help-you rain … swamp-the-intersections rain.” This is because Dobson and Shepard are pro-life and in favor of marriage being between a man and a woman. Because Obama has a different point of view on culture war issues, they want God to bring down his wrath upon him in the form of a great rainstorm.

I didn’t see the video, which was pulled by Focus on the Family after Keith Olbermann featured Shepard on his Worst Persons in the World segment on Countdown last week.

Here they go again, the zealots of religious right. Wasn’t it just three years ago that they were blaming Katrina on the gays, the abortionists, and the other sinners taking up residence in New Orleans? Of course, many others, including supposedly rational meteorologists and TV commentators, blamed Hurricane Katrina on Mother Nature, and not God, though few of them were probably Goddess worshippers. Whenever something terrible happens it is either God’s wrath on some group some other group doesn’t like, or it is Mother Nature’s fault, because we haven’t been treating her that great either.

On September 13, 2001, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson blamed the attacks of September 11 on “the pagans, the abortionists, and the feminists, the gays and the lesbians ... the ACLU, People for the American Way ... you helped this happen.” Their point was that because all these people had disrespected God and his laws, he was bringing down his wrath upon us. Falwell said, “God continues to lift the curtain and allow the enemies of America to give us probably what we deserve.” When I heard this crap the first time, I couldn’t believe that responsible public figures could be that ignorant. But Falwell and Robertson never disappoint when it comes to manipulating their ignorant followers with God’s wrath.

Many months ago, the Democratic Party planned to have its convention in Denver, and months ago, Obama planned to give his acceptance speech in Mile High Stadium (I like the old name better). I don’t know if he prayed for good weather. I don’t know if he asked his closest friends and supporters to pray for good weather. He certainly didn’t go public about it if he did. However, he did have perfect weather for this event, and it went off, on schedule, on time, without a hitch from God, Mother Nature, or anyone else.

Many months ago, the Republican Party also planned their convention for this week in Minneapolis-St. Paul. Again, I have no idea who prayed for what. However, God or Mother Nature is sending Hurricane Gustav into the Gulf of Mexico and heading right for New Orleans, the symbolic site of Republican indifference, ineptitude, and failure. This natural event is disrupting the RNC, and causing the Republicans and John McCain to change their agenda. Is God punishing the Republican Party for their failure to help the people of New Orleans three years ago? Is God or Mother Nature punishing the Republican Party or John McCain for being wicked? It seems more likely than not.

If you think you know what God is “thinking” and clearly George W. Bush, Dobson, Falwell, and Robertson have at times presented themselves as being closer to the deity than the rest of us, then why isn’t what is happening now, clear evidence that God is not happy with the Republicans and the way they are doing things? Conversely, he must be very happy with the Democrats, and what they are doing.

The evidence seems clear. Good weather for Obama when he really needed it, and bad weather for McCain. Everything at the RNC was indoors, and the storm will never get to Minneapolis – St. Paul. It would take an act of God to disrupt the RNC, and that is exactly what is happening – Hurricane Gustav – Category 3 or maybe 4 - New Orleans in danger again – forced evacuations - memories of past Republican failures. How could God have done it any better? Now, I can trust that God.