When you’re driving down the highway and depending on a vehicle AM/FM radio (and you don’t have satellite) you’re at the mercy of whatever stations you can pull in.
That was the position I was in Friday while I was trying to get updated info on the Japan earthquake and tsunami. I had seen a brief television report in the morning and heard some reports later, especially speculation about what had or might happen in Hawaii and on the U.S. West Coast. I knew it was billed as the worst earthquake ever recorded in Japan and I knew that hundreds and maybe thousands of people had perished in Japan, primarily from the tsunami.
So while driving along a remote stretch of I-5 in Northern California I pulled in a station where the speakers seemed to be discussing the disaster. As I heard them I began to realize that I had tuned into some type of Christian fundamentalist station (I didn’t catch the call letters or even the dial number).
So what they were saying was this: the disaster in Japan is a wake-up call from God because not nearly enough Japanese have become Christian and as a society they have become too materialistic (well the U.S. is certainly screwed then).
Was it Pat Robertson and maybe the late Jerry Falwell who were always crowing that when natural disasters hit it was God punishing the victims? I think it was Robertson who blamed Katrina in New Orleans on the sins of its inhabitants. The same for Haiti (any coincidence that we are talking about black people, more than not, in the afore-mentioned tragedies and Robertson is a pinky shade of white? And of course in the Japan one we are talking about Asians).
The main speaker on this radio station was explaining about how Christian evangelical missionaries had been trying to convert Japanese for years with little success. He seemed to be smug about what had happened and kind of encouraged that this might finally make more of them come over to the side of the Christian evangelicals.
We call these things “acts of God”, but none of us really know why such tragedies happen. Sorry, but I am not ready to blame it all on non-believing or not believing correctly or sin. And somehow being smug about it all does not seem right to me.
If that is the way evangelicals show compassion, I want no part of it.
And the next time I see any presidential candidate pander to a religious group or religion in general, I’ll know who not to vote for.
I refreshed my memory — Robertson blamed the relatively recent Haiti quake on a pact the Haitian people supposedly made with the Devil to gain their freedom from the French (you know voo doo and all?). And that guy was actually taken seriously as a candidate for president once upon a time? There are some dangers in allowing anyone to run or actually become president and in allowing even the ignorant to vote.