PERFECT BALLOT: ROBERTSON/NAGIN
Wow, just when you thought things couldn't get whackier, here comes New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin saying that God smote New Orleans. Nagin joins Republican preacher Pat Robertson in the nut job club; Robertson earlier had said that gay pride parades would bring hurricanes to Florida and that Hurricane Katrina had targeted New Orleans because Ellen DeGeneres was the host of the Emmy Awards show. Robertson has also blamed natural disasters as God's revenge for abortion.
So we're back to the Old Testament Yahweh. God is tired of Time cover stories asking if He is dead, or Kurt Vonnegut's interesting take on God as semi-retired (Vonnegut invents the "Church of God the Utterly Indifferent" in Sirens of Titan), and has taken matters back into His own hands.
I'm not convinced. Why would an omnipotent Creator choose to kill His own handiwork willy nilly? Are we being pruned, like a gardener would prune an arbor vitae? Take a little off Pakistan, a little off New Orleans, a little off Banda Aceh? Is God an abusive parent, like the drunk father who whales on his kids every Friday night after about eight good pops at the local bar? Is God the kind of parent who holds His son's hands in the flames of the stove because the boy was caught smoking? What then of all those tornadoes that flatten good Christian towns in the Bible Belt? If God isn't responsible for them, is someone else? Is it Satan? Ellen DeGeneres?
Whatever God is -- and there's no way the human mind can fathom an Almighty, no matter what the various religious texts on the planet might say -- it strikes me that He would take to smiting cities only if He were as imperfect as his creation. And while it is believed we are made in God's image, I really hate to think that our flaws are also God-like. I'd like to think that if God found my wallet, He'd return it without taking out the cash first.
So here's the deal. I'm going to go back to doing the best job I can not to kill, maim, or hurt anybody; to help folks who need it when I can; and to do what I can to make the world a better place. I wish Ray Nagin and Pat Robertson would make that their mission, too.