Wow… it’s been over a year and a half since I last posted. Far too long. I won’t bore any of you with the details of why it’s been so long since I was posting regularly… suffice to say that life intervenes. And since there will be, at least initially, very few of you actually reading anything I post, it would be pretty self-indulgent of me anyhow… so… on to today’s post…
Every time we have a natural disaster in this country, without fail, the righteous, bloviating, fear-mongering, and ghoulish elements of the religious start crawling out of the woodwork. And it’s even worse when there are more than one in any sort of close proximity. It’s mind-boggling and a little sickening, but always serves to remind me why I so hate religion in general, and the state of mind to which it is capable of reducing people, even otherwise seemingly intelligent people.
The clamor is almost always the same… the natural disaster(s) in question are sent by god… messages that we need to change, that god hates gays and women who get abortions… that we’ve lost our way and are being warned. And if the religious aren’t claiming divine warnings, they are thanking god for sparing their lives.. or their homes, or their towns, or whatever. The power of prayer at work, right? They prayed, they were spared… quod erat demonstrandum…
Of course, this sort of thinking is ripe with contradiction, ignorance, and malice… but you’ll hardly ever get a religious person who thinks this way to understand that, let alone accept it. It’s all too often an effort in futility to try and explain how completely wrong-headed such belief is and so I don’t generally make the effort, but it still pisses me off to no end so I’m going to talk about it here.
You don’t need to look very far to find examples of this sort of thinking in today’s media, which seems to have latched itself on to the craziest and least intelligent factions of society. The completely insane Glen Beck called the hurricane “a blessing” because it “reminded us we are not in control”… I’m not sure the 34 innocent people who were needlessly killed in this storm, nor their families and loved ones, would agree with you, Glen. What if Glen lost his mother in the storm? His wife? His house? Would it still be a blessing?
There have been a few others, but the other notable comment came from none other than Right wing presidential candidate, and “dimmest bulb in the bank” candidate Michele Bachman, who said the following:
“I don't know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We've had an earthquake; we've had a hurricane. He said, 'Are you going to start listening to me here?' Listen to the American people because the American people are roaring right now. They know government is on a morbid obesity diet and we've got to rein in the spending…”
Oh you can’t be serious. There is so much horribly wrong, completely ignorant and woefully grotesque in that statement that words can barely describe it… The first thing that always strikes me about people like Bachman, and the religious in general, is how completely provincial they seem to be… how totally ignorant of the larger world around them they are. Hurricanes and earthquakes are NOT rare things! We get dozens of hurricanes and typhoons every single year, and a few each year that are vastly destructive… and it has been that way since the earth has had weather. And earthquakes are even MORE common (more on that later). Yet somehow because we have two events that affect AMERICANS in AMERICA and is a top news item, they are somehow specifically different? It’s crazy.
Beyond the obvious disregard for the people that were injured or killed in this disaster, there is also an interesting element to her comments that I don’t think she, or anyone else that makes such flippant and ignorant comments, has really thought through. For if you read what she is saying, she’s claiming that god is sending us a message… trying to get his point across by sending these disasters our way… disasters that have killed dozens of people… and these are just the LATEST natural disasters. But… isn’t that precisely the definition we give to terrorists? A terrorist is someone who intentionally harms or even kills innocent people for the purpose of sending a message or getting a point across. So by her own assertion, Michele Bachman has labeled her god a terrorist! Go ahead… argue your way out of that one, Michele… you have assigned to god the EXACT behavior we would decry terrorists for, yet because these acts are perpetrated by god, in your mind, they are BLESSINGS. Think of the logical progression from this line of thought… if Michele Bachman can justify what we would otherwise define as terrorist acts by assigning them as ‘godly’, what ELSE might she be willing to engage in using the same logic? It sends a very icy chill down my spine and is PRECISELY the reason we need to make sure this woman never gets anywhere near the White House.
She of course later tried to furiously back-pedal with the following statement:
“Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of the victims. This isn’t something that we take lightly. My comments were not meant to be ones that were taken lightly. What I was saying in a humorous vein is there are things happening that politicians need to pay attention to. It isn’t everyday we have an earthquake in the United States.”
Of course this is a ridiculous statement… a very quick glance at the USGS website shows that on average the US gets over 10,000 earthquakes of magnitude 4.0 or greater. So not only do we have them everyday… generally we get multiple per day.
The scariest part of all of this is that, lest you have forgotten while reading all of this craziness, this woman is considered a SERIOUS candidate for President of the United States. This is how far we’ve fallen… this is where our money-driven, sensationalistic media, fear-mongering, hate-filled and ignorant society has driven us… to the point where people like Michele Bachman, as thoughtless, ignorant and religiously crazed as she is can be considered a serious candidate for President.
So just to clear the record… no, god did not send the hurricanes, nor the earthquake… no, they are NOT a blessing, in any form… they are naturally occurring tragedies that while we can’t prevent, we have already come a long way towards mitigating the damage. These disasters, had they occurred 100 years ago or so, when religion pretty much existed in more or less the same state as it does now, would have been FAR more devastating. Hundreds if not thousands would have lost their lives… it is only through the efforts of science and engineering that we are able to prepare for, protect against, and withstand these natural disasters as well as we do. THAT is the blessing… THAT is what we should be talking about and praising… it’s the efforts of programs like NOAA, the USGS, and other GOVERNMENT FUNDED climate and geological science programs that allow us to be as well prepared for these disasters as we are. The very programs that Michele Bachman and others in her party wish to cut. So if you REALLY want something to be concerned about… to be afraid of… it’s a world where people like her are calling the shots. That’s the only message I’m hearing…