(I just posted this on my blog... http://blog.myspace.com/nathanatx
As you read this, wildfires & grass fires are sweeping across North Texas and Oklahoma, burning acres of grasslands, crops & trees, destroying homes, businesses, churches and schools. Why is this happening?
This region is famous, or infamous, depending on your perspective, for being known as the “Buckle of the Bible Belt.” It is a hotbed of Bible Schools and Christian Universities. There are more churches per capita in this region than anywhere else in the United States. So why is God judging them? Isn’t this the “holiest” part of America?
When our nation was attacked by religious extremists on September 11th, 2001, one of the most prominent conservative Christian leaders, Jerry Falwell declared, “…I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America, I point the finger in their face and say: you helped this happen.” I guess it was “ok” for God’s wrath to hit the Northeast United States, since everyone knows they’re so liberal.
After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, his good buddy, Pat Robertson, in reference to Ellen Degeneres being selected as host for the Emmys, said, "By choosing an avowed lesbian for this national event, these Hollywood elites have clearly invited God's wrath. Is it any surprise that the Almighty chose to strike at Miss Degeneres’ hometown?" More recently, he condemned the residents of Dover, PA, because they ousted a school board who favored the ridiculous “intelligent design” theories to be taught in public schools. He said, “I’d like to say to the good citizens of Dover. If there is a disaster in your area, don’t turn to God, you just rejected Him from your city. And don’t wonder why He hasn’t helped you when problems begin, if they begin. I’m not saying they will, but if they do, just remember, you just voted God out of your city. And if that’s the case, don’t ask for His help because he might not be there.”
So, are you taking notes? Apparently right wing fundamentalists have God on retainer to do their bidding should anyone dare oppose their authority. If that’s the case, why would God turn on them and burn the fields & homes of their most faithful followers?
Did you know that Oklahoma has one of the highest divorce rates in the nation? It has massive numbers of unwed pregnancies each year and sky-high numbers of drug addicts & drug-related arrests. Did you know Oklahoma has one of the highest per-capita rates of mental illness? I assert that the link between these societal issues and the rampant fundamentalism there is crystal clear. It sure doesn’t seem like the “holy land” is as great as it’s made out to be. Maybe God is trying to burn everyone out who isn’t a “True Christian?”
You see, I just don’t think so. I think that life happens, good and bad. I think that we do make incredible contributions to what happens to us in life. A lot of the hurt and difficulty we experience in life is a direct result of our choices or the choices of other people. And sometimes things just happen. We get sick. We have vehicle accidents. Hurricanes come. Fires rage. But even some of these natural disasters could possibly be result of lack of care for the environment, the destruction of forests and the over use of fossil fuels. Scientists are saying that we have created the conditions for these disasters. It's called global warming. It's not a violent, abusive God wreaking havoc on His creation.
I think it is horribly abusive to blame disasters and tragedies on God because He dislikes certain people.
I believe the Bible is right when it says that God is a God of love and that if perfect love eliminates fear, anything or anyone that generates fear can NOT be from God or speaking on God’s behalf.
I do not believe in a God that would destroy innocent children. We condemn Muslim extremists for their use of suicide attacks that take civilian lives, including women and children, but we don't speak out against Christian extremists who say God is doing the same thing!
I do not believe in a God that would put demonizing people above having compassion. If you want to know the heart of God, look at Jesus. In my opinion his life was about two things. First, to teach people the truth about God's love and second to challenge religious authority and oppression.
I do not believe in Jerry Falwell’s god. I don’t think Jerry Falwell believes in his god, either. He's a smart man. His espoused beliefs got him where he is. I don't believe for a minute that he actually believes what he preaches.
I think fundamentalism and extremism, whether Christian, Muslim or Jewish, is about power, control and money. They use fear to intimidate and control good-hearted, Godly people. They have warped the message of love & mercy that Jesus died to deliver. And they are doing it for their personal gain and to retain their power.
I believe Robertson and Falwell make God sick when they take His name in vain so publicly.
I think it’s time for a change.