He who troubles his own house will inherit the wind."
When Hurricane Gunter tormented Republicans during their 2008 convention, one of the cancellations caused by the storm was a speech from outgoing President George W. Bush. He's the one who famously said he didn't need to ask his ex-president dad for advice because "there is a higher Father I appeal to."
Apparently that Father didn't find President Bush all that appealing. In fact, the storm's path shifted away from the convention immediately after his speech was cancelled. Hello, down there, is anybody listening?
This year's Republican National Convention is also being forced to shorten and change its schedule as a fearsome wind and rain bears down from the ocean. "[A] destroying storm, as a flood of mighty waters overflowing, shall cast down to the earth with the hand. The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet." The theological world is ablaze with speculation about what might have motivated God to send a hurricane against the Republican National Convention for the second time in a row.
OK, maybe it's not ablaze with speculation, but it should be. After all, it was Republican preacher Pat Robertson who expressed the idea that hurricanes and storms are God's way of registering disapproval with human behavior. By that reasoning it's clear that the GOP has displeased the Supreme Being again mightily this year.
But why? Unlike some, I claim no special answers about the nature of ultimate reality or of the Deity, much less the specifics of His preferred policy proposals. But here are three possible sources for all this windborne wrath:
1. The GOP's Anti-Poor, Anti-Woman Poverty Plank
Politico obtained a draft version of the Republican Party's platform (available here and here), and it includes a section entitled "Creating a Culture of Hope: Raising Families Beyond Poverty." It begins with a false declaration -- that is to say, a violation of the Eighth Commandment, which condemns "bearing false witness against your neighbor" -- when it claims that the 1996 welfare "reforms" were a successful reform that moved lower-income people "from welfare to economic independence."
We now know that nearly 87 percent of the job gains for single mothers were due to other factors, not "welfare reform." Federal programs to help them find jobs were slashed, with the explanation that states would pick up the slack. Then state programs were slashed, too. Today only 27 percent of needy families are receiving the help they need. That's less than half the number that were being helped before all this "reform."
From The New York Times, which described the "desperate and sometimes illegal ways" mothers without assistance survive: "They have sold food stamps, sold blood, skipped meals, shoplifted, doubled up with friends, scavenged trash bins for bottles and cans and returned to relationships with violent partners -- all with children in tow."
Now the GOP wants to double down on these so-called "reforms." Having laid a foundation of lies, they're building a house of cruelty and neglect.
Recommended reading: Eighth Commandment; Matthew 25 ("As you do to the least of these..."):
"I spoke to you in your prosperity,
But you said, 'I will not hear.'
This has been your manner from your youth,
That you did not obey My voice.
The wind shall eat up all your rulers"
2. That Reported Ban on Sharia Law
No theologian has offered conclusive evidence to suggest that a Supreme Being would Himself -- or Herself -- prefer any particular religion. But the GOP's reported "ban on Sharia law" would violate several injunctions that are common to all major religions.
First, such bans are based on falsehoods. We've already covered the Deity's position on that issue. When it comes to this issue, the first and greatest lie is that there is a conspiracy to impose Sharia law on the entire United States. That would be some trick for 2 or 3 million Muslims to pull off, considering the fact that they're outnumbered 300 or 400 to one.
The second lie is that "there are some areas of the country where Sharia law is already in effect." When pressed on this point, the demagogues and bigots -- and those they've frightened and misled into confusion -- admit there are none. They're only able to point to one or two examples, which prove empty upon examination. They usually describe a custody case in which a mother was overruled by "a Sharia court in Pakistan," but it's common practice for a judge to consider the rulings of another country's court, regardless of the faith that may predominate in that country. Or they'll cite examples in which two Muslim parties in a lawsuit agree to arbitration that's conducted within their community -- which happens in Christian, Jewish, Hindu, and other religious communities, as well.
They are playing on widespread misconceptions about Sharia law. Consider those horrific stonings, for example: Formal Islamic jurisprudence holds the Quran above all other oral and written traditions. The Quran explicitly states that it takes four eyewitnesses to the sexual act to prove adultery (where will you get that without a webcam?), and that men and women are to be punished equally, with 100 lashings. The same is true about genital mutilation, which appears nowhere in actual Sharia law.