In the New American Standard Bible (NASB), Romans 8:28 says: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” This passage is often used to justify the belief that God is, indeed, responsible for everything.
After Katrina, how many of you heard that God sent Katrina to punish New Orleans for their Homosexual activities? However nobody seemed to notice that the most “sinful” area, the French Quarter, was pretty much spared while hundreds of churches were damaged or destroyed, and thousands of Bible-believing Christians were left homeless or killed; some dying while actually praying for god to help them.
One rumor was that God sent Hurricane Katrina to hit New Orleans on ‘Southern Decadence Day’, when 100,000 homosexuals were to gather there.
David Emery, of About.com, writes in the Urban Legends segment:
In a word, no. Despite the fact that some fundamentalist Christians appear eager to characterize the disaster as “God’s judgment” on the “wicked” city of New Orleans, and despite their attempt to link its timing to a gay celebration held there annually, the claims are patently absurd:
The hurricane struck on Monday, August 29. That year’s Southern Decadence, sometimes called the “Gay Mardi Gras,” was scheduled to open today, Wednesday the 31st, and continue through Sunday. The storm obviously did not strike on “the day” of the celebration. Many, perhaps most, of the revelers had not even arrived yet.
Why is the French Quarter, the district where the event (now canceled) was to be held, one of the least devastated parts of the city so far?
Southern Decadence is a 35-year-old tradition in New Orleans. Why did God choose to wait till 2005 to “punish” the city for it?
If this tragedy occurred because God is angry at New Orleans, what was the point of the awful devastation and loss of life wrought in Mississippi and Alabama?
David Emory goes on to say: “I find it shameful, given the massive destruction, loss of innocent life, and ongoing hardships suffered by the hundreds of thousands of victims, these self-appointed spokesmen for god would use a natural disaster to, in a sense, blame the victim.” He was speaking of Katrina, but he could just as easily have been talking about any of the other disasters that preachers use god to blame the victim.
Pat Robertson blamed God for the Haiti earthquake and for various school shootings. He is very consistent. When anything bad happens: Oh, that’s god punishing America for not obeying His rules. (Or was it Pat’s rules?)
In 2007 Right Rev. Graham said the UK floods were god’s punishment against homosexuals.
In 2010, Yehuda Levin, a Jewish religious leader, linked the Haiti earthquake to gays in the military via a supposed Talmudic teaching that homosexuality causes earthquakes. In 2011 he “posted a video onto YouTube the same day as the Virginia earthquake in which he said, “The Talmud states, “You have shaken your male member in a place where it doesn’t belong. I too, will shake the Earth.”
Also, in 2011, Cindy Jacobs, of the Generals International ministry, linked the earthquake in Japan to the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy regarding gays in the U.S. military.
In July of 2013, Pat Robertson told his audience that he believes God will punish America with natural disasters if it continues to push for a compromise in Middle East peace talks. “From a prophetic standpoint, every time the United States gets involved in some kind of a pressure on Israel to split their land, there’s some natural disaster that happens here in America”
But you get the picture, no matter what the disaster, there is always some religious figure saying that they know why god caused it. You have to wonder why all religious leaders don’t give the same reason: some say its homosexuality; others say it’s making a deal with the devil, and sometimes it for interfering with Israeli politics, or even local politics. Why would God be giving different religious leaders different reasons for His actions? They couldn’t be just making it up could they?
Also, I notice that we’re always being punished for not following Old Testament laws, and not the teachings of Jesus. How come religious leaders never claim that disasters happen for not giving up our worldly possessions, or not taking care of the poor?
Now, think about all the killing that the god of the Old Testament was blamed for; droughts, earthquakes, plagues, locusts, floods, etc. Those natural disasters were presented by the Pat Robertson’s of that time, as the result of people not doing that God wanted.
Those religious texts were penned by religious leaders of their day. They, like today, say that they know what God wanted. They point to natural disasters first to try to show how powerful their god is, and second, to get people to do what God (i.e. the religious leader) wants; they are trying to control public policy, which then controls people.
We as atheists don’t have any trouble explaining these natural disasters. They are after all natural. Science has demonstrated over and over again the ability to predict, and plan for, most of these events; granted, some we can predict with more lead-time than others. In the event that they can’t actually predict the event, they are generally aware of the conditions that lead to them. Earthquakes, for instance, hit almost without warning, but thanks to reams of scientific data on tectonic plate movements, fault lines and pressure points, we are pretty certain of the areas that they are likely to occur, and those that aren’t.
We know, for instance, that Yellowstone National Park is sitting on top of a giant caldera which could erupt at any time. So scientists have the whole area laced with monitors to let us know if that time is growing near. However, you can be sure that when it does blow religious leaders will jump all over it as god’s punishment for not following their (er, I mean god’s) wishes.