When Hurricane Katrina destroyed New Orleans, some preachers proclaimed Katrina was God’s judgment on a sinful New Orleans. They said the city got what it deserved; as God once judged Sodom and Gomorrah, so He condemned New Orleans.
When the 2010 Haiti earthquake devastated Port-au-Prince, again preachers boldly announced the quake was God’s judgment on Haiti for its practice of voodoo. Influential televangelist Pat Robertson famously said Haiti was cursed by a pact with the Devil.
In some religious thinking, it is believed everything happens for a purpose including natural disasters, and these disasters are God’s will and the result of man’s sinfulness. God has the power to protect His chosen, but He will remove His protection and allow devastation if people reject His ways.
I personally don’t believe this, but millions of faithful do. If natural disasters are a reflection of God’s will, what does that say about the historic outbreak of tornados during April 2011 that devastated the southern states of the U.S.?
“Preliminary data from the National Weather Service show that more than 600 twisters have touched down in April, smashing the existing record of 267 set in 1974.The cruelty of this particular April, in the number of tornadoes recorded, is without equal in the United States. The record for the month has been shattered, and preliminary assessments say that of the four biggest clusters ever recorded, two have occurred in the last three weeks.”
Why did these tornados hit the southern states, America’s Bible Belt? These states are the most religious in the nation. There is a definite religious and cultural difference between the Deep South and the rest of the nation. This region is properly called the Bible Belt. Yet even churches were destroyed by April’s tornados.
What sin prompted God to remove His protection from the southern states? Will preachers continue to blame the victims for their destruction?
Perhaps preachers will say the faithful were lacking conviction, that their fervor had turned lukewarm. Or more importantly, perhaps the tithes had fallen beneath the churches’ goals.
Recently I was listening to Christian radio and a talk show interviewed the author of a book Resisting the Green Dragon. Their discussion essentially equated environmentalism with Satanism. I was taken aback but the hosts and callers seemed to completely agree with this premise. I assume environmentalism is now considered sinful. These bulltetpoints were taken the book’s Amazon page:
Environmentalism has become a new religion.
Environmentalism’s policies are devastating to the world’s poor.
Environmentalism threatens the sanctity of life.
Environmentalism is targeting our youth.
Environmentalism’s vision is global.
Let’s assume the Christian community now generally accepts the idea that environmentalism is evil. And let’s assume natural disasters are indeed willed by God. Could the severe storms, the deadly tornados, be a message from God, a warning that global warming and climate change will harm both Christians and non-Christians alike? The Godly will not be spared from the effects of climate change. And if Christians do their best to hinder efforts at reducing climate change, then we are bringing about our own self-destruction.
I wish the people harmed by these storms the best, and they have my sympathy for their losses.