For God’s Sake!

Business - February 19th, 2010
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by Ian de Stains OBE

If I were inclined to believe in God, I suppose I would be thanking Her now for the many small miracles we saw in Haiti: survivors pulled alive from the very hell of devastation weeks after the massive earthquake there. But the fact is that any such inclination has been entirely negated, and by the very people you would think would want to encourage it.

For me, God’s name has been usurped by those—supposedly in the know—who claim the earthquake itself was the result of the Almighty’s wrath. The ludicrous American evangelist Pat Robertson spouts the truly obscene notion that the old white man with a long beard sitting on his cloud struck down the blighted nation because of some long-ago pact with Satan. If this were not so revolting an idea, so heartbreakingly near to the bone, it would be the stuff of absurdist comedy, akin to the idiotic claims that hurricane Katrina was the consequence of this same God’s hissy-fit because New Orleans had hosted some sort of gay parade.

I promise you I am not making this up. People who would have us believe they are as sane as you or I today walk the streets holding these things to be—literally—the gospel truth. If anyone suggested these natural disasters had been the work of little green men intent on destroying our decadent civilization, we would soon hear the flapping of white coats and the zipping up of straitjackets. But the name of God has been invoked and so there is acquiescence and yet again the religious right prevails, despite the fact that most intelligent people abhor all that it represents.

So, in Uganda, as a result of this same invocation, there is now a bill before its parliament that, if passed, will make homosexuality punishable by death. The same ‘well-meaning,’ clean-living American evangelical folks who think Haiti got what it deserved felt the need to go to that African country and warn them that people of the same sex who happen to love each other pose a dire threat to their society. I think I smell the burning of a witch or two.

Could it be that people in the US are finally beginning to realize that these poisonous purveyors of snake oil lack all credibility at home, so that they need to look to so-called less well-informed societies to spread their odious beliefs? No doubt these Bible-toting white missionaries think they are doing God’s work. They follow a long line of similarly deluded individuals who frequently ended up in the cannibal’s pot. That is possibly the most desirable fate for these latter day evangelical heralds, though I dread to think about the heartburn that would follow. Somebody pass me the barf bag!