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The Other Side of the Tracks blog by Word Press

Who Speaks for God

The Other Side of the Tracks: A Socially Speaking commentary

April 19, 2011

By Perry Redd

There are some things that simply need to change.  There are others that need to change now!  The most recent disaster making its way through the southern and mid-western United States, gives me reason to demand that all holy-people quit speaking for God.  It has become abundantly clear that man gets wrong what God wants said.  There, I said it.

 A mother, Jalisa Granger, died trying to protect her daughter when a tornado hit her home, a few weeks back in Louisiana.  One of at least two twisters tied to a weather system caused major damage in the state and wreaked havoc on Mardi Gras festivities.  Mardi Gras?  Wasn’t that the “homosexual parade” that spawned Hurricane Katrina, according to well-respected conservative preacher John Hagee?

Rayne, Louisiana, Mayor James “Jimbo” Petitjean told reporters that the 21-year-old woman was killed when a tree fell on her house. Her daughter is “doing fine, from what we heard,” he said.  It appears the Religious Right would have a time skillfully crafting God’s message out of this incident.  The mother died, the baby lived and the town got chastised, right?  “It’s unfortunate, and that’s where we really need your prayers,” Petijean said.  My question is, what are we to be praying for?

The National Weather Service confirmed that tornadoes hit that city, about 80 miles west of Baton Rouge, and the nearby city of Crowley a few weeks ago.  According to a disciple of Evangelical pastor, John Hagge, where exactly is the sin that God is targeting?  I then, I have to also ask, how does one decipher God’s actions on sunny days?  Are people not sinning then?

In addition to the mother who died, at least 11 were hurt when the twister struck Rayne.  Over 230 powerful storms have ripped across the Southeast killed more than 45 people over the past four days, according to the National Weather Service and reports from fourteen states.  These storms’ impact on North Carolina was characterized as “epic.” Among the worst-hit places was Bertie County, North Carolina, a rural area in the northeast part of the state. The weather service reported 14 deaths in the county.  More than 50 people were taken to hospitals in Greenville, and between 50 and 70 homes were destroyed.

But it’s not just twisters, its fires, tsunamis, earthquakes and floods, like the one that hit New Zealand. Recall a powerful earthquake rocked the New Zealand city of Christchurch and the confirmed death toll from last month’s magnitude 6.3 earthquake had risen to 166.  What I know, is that I don’t hear any condemnation of Christchurch (no joke, it really Christchurch!) for the lascivious acts of this New Zealand’s city’s inhabitants.  Funny how that happens?

Now, paradoxically speaking, you must remember what Christian-conservative TV icon, Pat Robertson said following the earthquake in Haiti?  Mr. Robertson’s theory that Haitian slaves made a “pact with the devil” 200 years ago in order to free themselves from the hated clutches of Napoleon Bonaparte’s regime – resulting in a curse that led to the destruction of much of Port-au-Prince and a massive loss of life in last year’s earthquake.  In this, he seems to know exactly what God is doing, but the rest of us—even the God-fearing faithful—don’t.  Funny how that happens…

We didn’t hear this Sodom and Gomorrah-bashing when the 4.5 magnitude earthquake of January 12th hit California (though I bet they were dieing to) or the tornado in Moore County, Tennessee where one person died.  Many mobile homes were destroyed and houses were damaged along the track. The fatality occurred in a destroyed mobile home. Four other people were injured, two seriously. This was the first killer US tornado in 2011. Nobody speaking for God there…though many were surely thanking Him.

Aside from the United States, in Australia, the 13-year old Toowoomba boy, Jordan Rice, is being remembered as a hero after he let his younger brother get rescued first, seconds before he and his mother Donna were swept to their deaths. The death toll from the devastating floods which swept through Toowoomba and the region causing 28 deaths and millions in damage.  Why aren’t the mouthpieces of God attributing this disaster to Australia’s colonialism; its 184-plus years of taking someone else’s land and calling it “discovery?”  Or why aren’t we blaming God (or praising Him) for the heroic act of the 13-year old?  What did somebody do wrong?  The inhabitants of New Orleans did…the Haitians did.

Moreover, it’s abundantly blatant that these judgments that God is executing is only punishment for Black inhabitants.  Oh yeah, and gay ones.  Ever notice that?  They fail to mention that it’s been revealed that many among their flock have intimately intermingled with Blacks or are “in-the-closet.”  Blame too often stops with society’s most marginalized people. I won’t attribute the storms to God’s vengeance, but where are those Christian conservative, right-wing prognosticators on this?  Is God punishing Red states for their cutting of programs that help the poor?  Must not, because the Hagges and Robertsons of the world didn’t say so.

I would say, “Stop the foolishness,” but that would be foolish; ‘cause that’s what fools do—and do best!  I have come to the point where I posit that men need to quit speaking for God.  God is too complex a being to be pinned down and too vast a being to need an official spokesperson.  He may have at one point (and they’ve made the Moses account suspect now), but now, the holymen have tainted the waters.  I can’t drink from their cisterns any longer.  Anyone who would spawn the 6 billion current personalities dotting the earth, surely can’t put all his/her wisdom in one guy?  And even moreso, put out overtly race-biased judgments through racially-biased evangelists?  Surely not.  This picture is suspect at best, unreal at worst.  It can’t be reality when these people speak for God.

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