Huffington Post, August 26, 2011: "Televangelist Pat Robertson suggested
Wednesday that cracks in the Washington Monument caused by the August 23
(Virginia) earthquake could be a sign from God, and the natural disaster 'means
that we're closer to the coming of the Lord.' To explain the rare east coast
quake, Robertson pointed to the Biblical prophecy of the end of the world,
which claims there could be potential devastation from natural disasters
leading up to Jesus' return to Earth. On his television show, 'The 700 Club,'
Robertson said: 'I don't want to get weird on this, so please take it for what
it's worth, but it seems to me the Washington Monument is a symbol of America's
power. It has been the symbol of our great nation, we look at that monument and
we say this is one nation under God. Now there's a crack in it. Is that a sign
from the Lord? Is that something that has significance, or is it just the
result of an earthquake?' "Robertson asked his viewers.
This was rather less definitive than his statement on the Haitian earthquake (and much less definitive than his "it's the fault of the gays" declaration made with the late Jerry Falwell following 9/11). Maybe he is getting a bit sensitized. At any rate, consider this one:
"NEW YORK (CBS, 1/12/10) Pat Robertson, the American Christian televangelist and host of 'The 700 Club,' said that Haitians need to have a 'great turning to god' while he was reporting on the devastating 7.0 earthquake that shook the island nation . . .'Something happened a long time ago in Haiti and people might not want to talk about. . . They were under the heel of the French, you know Napoleon the third and whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said 'We will serve you if you will get us free from the prince.' True story. And so the devil said, 'OK it's a deal.' And they kicked the French out. The Haitians revolted and got something themselves free. But ever since they have been cursed by one thing after another.' "
Well, Pat, actually it was not (Louis) Napoleon III (1852-1870) against whom the Haitian slave revolt took place but the Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte (1798-1815). But when you are making up stuff like you do, what difference do the facts make? There was a huge amount of controversy, not about him getting his facts wrong, but about the content of what he said. While many including myself regard what he said as an outrageous slander against the Haitian people, another question occurred to me: how does he know? How does he know that in fact the Haitian people made a pact with the devil, whenever they did it, and that because of that pact, made however may years ago, they suffered this horrible earthquake now.
image from wikipedia: Memling's Day of Judgement , 1467 - 1471
And then Michelle Bachmann tells us that Hurricane Irene was the result of God's wrath for too much Federal spending (that is on items that Michelle doesn't like spending on, like repairing bridges like the one that collapsed in her home state a couple of years ago). She later claimed she was joking, but from I have heard from the likes of her and the Rev. Perry, God is not someone one should joke around with. We will not here get into the seeming illogic of God punishing the US for Federal overspending by committing an act that requires more spending, actually on matters she really doesn't like money to spent on. For I assume that as a "Tea Partier," as she likes to tell us even when not looking into the camera --- see, I do pay attention to details even if I don't deign to interfere with them --- she is following the lead of her Tea Party House Majority Leader (and luster after the Speaker's job, but that is another matter). That is unless you are Rep. Cantor and want to find every possible excuse, including natural disasters, to rip out of the Federal budget spending you happen not to like too.
Of course then there is the Rev. Perry (or is it Gov. Perry, he does get one confused, donchaknow), who tells us that the BP gusher disaster was an "Act of God" (pretty mean guy/gal/it for all of these GOPers it would seem), prays for rain for his totally parched State of Texas while authorizing the use of billions of gallons of available Texas water for fracking for his friends in the natural gas industry, and tells us that both evolution theory and climate change theory are likely myths. Next he might be telling us that it is simply not yet proven that the Earth is round, that it revolves around the sun, and what most other people call the Law of Gravity is "just a theory" (he means "hypothesis" but likely doesn't know the difference). After all, you can't see it, now can you?
And so I decided to go to the source about all of this God stuff, and God doing this and God doing that to punish the US for doing things that this group of Right-wing GOPers happen just not to like. I decided to consult the Higher Authority directly. After all, if doing so is good enough for Pat Robertson, Mayor Nagin of New Orleans, George Bush (as well as Iran's President Ahmedinejad), Michelle Bachmann, and the Rev. Perry, it is good enough for me, I reasoned. (As to which "one true God" any of us is communicating with, mine, of course, is, for the purposes of this essay, my Him [or Her, as the case may be], not any of theirs. Actually, I am a secular humanist Jew and I know that there is no God to call or call upon, but heck, I've got a good story going here, or so at least several friends and admirers have told me. So we'll just go with it.) And so I gave God a ring.
He (and there was a male voice at the other of the line when I called) was not in a particularly good mood. "What is going on down there?" I was asked. "Things are really getting out of hand. I am truly wroth. In fact, to quote myself 'Vengeance is mine.' In case you haven't heard," the voice intoned, "that is one of the most famous sayings from the Bible, you know, from Hebrews 10:30. I will repeat the quote for you, for it has such a nice ring to it: 'Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord.' And I do invoke it. But not about the issues with which those folks you are asking me about are concerned. Do they really think that I, God, the Almighty, would deign to get involved with such issues as homosexuality, which just naturally comes with your species, as well as a number of others, or such matters as the details of your Federal budget? And how much time do they think I have, anyway?
"The single current issue on Earth with which I am truly concerned is the matter of human-caused global warming and its related climate change. And why, you might ask? Well, I'll tell you [and here I am worrying about who is going to pay for this call to the heavens, which is getting longer and longer.] Your species is currently knocking off large bunches of the whole raft of other species that I created way back when (actually a few billions, not 6000, years ago as lunatics like what's-his-name, oh yes, Robertson, and the Rev. Perry like to proclaim). This is a looming disaster, for I value all of my species equally. Let me tell you, if something is not done soon to right the ship, as they say, there is going to be hell to pay down there, and not the kind of hell that Robertson person is talking about. It will be real hell.
"I don't do things like control earthquakes and hurricanes and such. I set up the system those billions of years ago, and those things occur naturally. But I, and my consort Mother Nature (who, unlike me, has no consciousness of what she is doing --- she instinctively focuses on maintaining balance), we do look after all of our species. If yours continues to do what it is doing to my whole creation, Vengeance will be mine. I will interfere, even though I am loath to do so and do it very infrequently. If you keep going the way you are going, we will make sure that Thou shalt go first, before you have the chance to destroy every single one of our creations.
"We do love you all and hope that you right the ship of Earth, soon. There is a devil about, but he doesn't interfere in the way that Robertson would have had him do. He actually lines up with people like Robertson, Bachmann, Perry, Cantor, Cheney (now boasting about the evil he has committed) and their political ilk to bring more war, more pestilence, more drought, more famine, more destructive climate change, as the result of human activities. In fact, it might interest you to know that when Robertson's close buddy, that Falwell guy, appeared at the Pearly Gates, Peter looked him up, took one look at that record of sowing discord, hate, and fear whenever and wherever he could, and said, 'You know, bud, you will be much happier spending the rest of eternity in the other place, where the man in charge does just the same kinds of things you like to do.' We never heard from him again."
"And so, my friend," God said to me, "I'm glad you called. Forget about that false prophet Robertson and all of his kind. I know that you write for BuzzFlash@Truthout. Yours are the kinds of folks who are going to save all of my creation, if anyone can. So give my very best wishes to all of your friends and colleagues, but do tell them also to redouble their efforts to save the Earth. There is not much time left, and I won't wait forever if I do in the end have to take drastic action to protect all of my other species that you haven't managed yet to eliminate."
And with that, he hung up. So the Robertson/Bachmann/Perry thing was good for something. I got to talk to God and He/She told me and all of my like-minded friends to redouble our efforts to save our species, and the Earth itself.