Hurricane Irene: an almighty wind?

Some see divine providence in recent disasters, but what, exactly, is the message

August 31, 2011|By Steven Grossman

Michele Bachmann says that the earthquake and hurricane that have recently hit the East Coast of the United States were sent as some sort of divine warning message to politicians in Washington to curb government spending. I must respectfully disagree. I thought the divine message was a warning not to raise taxes for the wealthiest 1 percent of our population. But then, I don't claim to be as close to the message's source as Ms. Bachmann.

It is, of course, a real shame that a number of people in the U.S. have lost their lives in Hurricane Irene as part of God's warning about government spending, but sometimes collateral damage cannot be avoided. In that same vein, I would like to apologize to the people of the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas on behalf of the American people for the extensive damage Irene caused to those nations because our government overspends on Social Security and Medicare.

We should be thankful that Ms. Bachmann has joined a former Republican candidate for president, the Rev. Pat Robertson, in interpreting the true meaning of what many foolishly thought were natural events. For those who missed Mr. Robertson's words and were thus deprived of the real cause of the recent magnitude-5.8 earthquake, the good reverend informed us that the damage to the Washington Monument came from divine displeasure with the path America is on. Unfortunately, he did not let us know the reason behind the damage to the National Cathedral. Sometimes we are left to speculate on our own about causation. While I can't claim to know for sure, I wouldn't be surprised if that damage had something to do with the bailout of General Motors.

Now, some of you may doubt the accuracy of Mr. Robertson's claims. But ye of little faith should not ignore the reverend's past record. After all, it was he who exposed the possible connection between legalized abortion and Hurricane Katrina. (I must admit, this confused me a bit. After all, the Rev. John Hagee has shared with us that Katrina was divine punishment for New Orleans' decision to hold a gay pride parade.)

Mr. Robertson told us that the terrible blizzard that struck the northeast last December was a divine message "to punish Americans who were planning to drive to do something gay." Could Mr. Robertson have confused the divine anti-gay message between the two disasters?

And lest we forget, as we approach the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, we owe thanks as well for the insight of the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, who saw behind the terrorism of Osama bin Laden the helping hands of pagans, abortionists, feminists, gays and lesbians as also being responsible for that disaster.

In any event, one thing can be discerned clearly from all of these disaster interpreters. The almighty is both a social and fiscal conservative, sort of a Rush Limbaugh without the drug problem. With this in mind, I make the following observation. While I would not dare to suggest to the creator where the next disaster should be aimed, I would be remiss in failing to note that it is our friends in Canada who had mandatory national health care long before we did.

Steven Grossman is a professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law. His email is sgrossman@ubalt.edu.

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