A Huffington Post blog “Hurricane Sandy Blamed On Gays, Obama And Romney By Preacher John McTernan,” dated October 29th might be funny if McTernan was a stand up comic. Unfortunately, he is serious; and I am sure there are many people who agree with his opinions.
At the same time, the vast majority of faithful Christians, Jews, Muslims, and other people of faith I know do not share McTernan’s particular view of God–at least not as it relates to weather-related catastrophes. After all, if his view is correct, you have to wonder what people who live in manufactured housing–like my conservative fundamentalist parents–have done to make God so mad. Who knows? Maybe God is mad because my parents didn’t stone me when I came out 35 years ago and God’s wrath on manufactured homes through tornadoes is a warning to them.
When blaming New Orleans hurricanes on the gay-themed “Southern Decadence,” what McTernan fails to mention is that the French Quarter (the primary site of this event) was one of the least-impacted areas, while the poorest sections of the city bore the brunt of these storms. Also, if we’re going to assign blame to groups for hurricanes and other weather-related catastrophes, what about Hurricane Rita (2005), which devastated a large area of east Texas that is quite conservative in both its religion and politics?
When it comes to the issue of gay marriage, consider this: Richard and I are considered married or “unionized” in a handful of states, while we are legal strangers in the vast majority of the United States. Depending on where we live, we are subject to discrimination in employment, housing, hospital visitation, end of life decision-making for one another, and the list goes on and on. Yet our relationship (and others like it) upset God so much that God tweaks the weather in such a way that punishes millions of people–most of whom are not gay? How Old Testament!
Now, I do NOT, in any way shape or form, agree McTernan’s viewpoints. Still, I’ll play along. Let’s say God does tweak weather patterns out of anger over certain behaviors. Think about this: it is estimated that only 10% of the US military
budget—10%–reinvested in foreign aid and development, could care for the basic
needs of the ENTIRE world’s poor, and ½ of 1% of our military budget could cut hunger in Africa in half by 2015; not to mention the fact that the United States alone has enough nuclear weapons to destroy the planet several times over (because obviously once is not enough), and that we spend $100 million a DAY to maintain that arsenal.
And when economic times get tough–like now–where do some of our leaders propose making cuts? Social programs like SNAP (formerly known as Food Stamps), making Medicare a voucher system, and defunding Planned Parenthood. If my concept of God agreed with that of McTernan’s–and again it doesn’t–then my bet would be God is more angry at our refusal to take care of another than it is providing equitable treatment for LGBT folks.
Then again, maybe we’ve abused the environment and atmosphere so much it is simply rebelling…
Whatever your concept of God–or if you do not believe God exists–let’s do what we can to care for one another and for all of creation. Who knows? Maybe the weather will actually improve–politically, spiritually and literally.