Before science, we humans came up with all sorts of ways to explain our surroundings. To the Greeks, an invisible god in the sky produced thunder and lightning. Virgins tossed into volcanoes could help prevent eruptions. Crazy people were possessed by literal demons and fossils were a trick by the devil.
But now that we've developed science, we can cheer for an Olympic runner with no legs, have our minds blown by landing Curiosity on Mars and mourn Neil Armstrong, the first man to set a foot on the moon.
When Hurricane Isaac was barreling down on the Republican convention in Tampa earlier this week, I waited for an explanation -- was it in fact a great reckoning with the Almighty? Would the GOP repent? Yes, I'm joking but I did wonder if the same sort of blame game would play out again.
Hurricane Katrina was blamed on gays, abortion and floozies.
Buster Wilson of the right-wing American Family Association explained hurricanes and "the most devastating earthquakes in American history" on New Orleans' and San Francisco's welcoming of gay folks.
Both the Revs. John Hagge and Grant Storms also blamed Katrina on the acceptance of gay people. Storms, who regularly rails against the "homosexual lifestyle," was recently arrested for public masturbation. Hagge endorsed Mitt Romney.
Pat Robertson, upping the ante on his Katrina comments, blamed the devastating earthquake in Haiti on a "pact with the devil" made during the French Revolution.
Congressman Michele Bachmann said: "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."
Yes, Michelle Bachmann thinks God was mad about the federal budget so he sent an earthquake to crack the Washington Monument. Poor Michelle, she has so many challenges, but because she is allowed to vote on matters that affect all of us, we must take note.
Jerry Falwell explained the terrorist attacks on 9/11 with this: "Throwing God out successfully with the help of the federal court system, throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools. The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way -- all of them who have tried to secularize America -- I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen.' "
Let's assume these characters are right. God punishes us with natural disasters and planes flying into buildings when we make him mad by not obeying his directions. Why then has God punished the Republicans by hurling a hurricane at them, canceling the first day of their convention, as he did in 2008?
Maybe because they ignored "blessed are the peacemakers" by starting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and trying to gin one up with Iran.
Could it be the GOP bashing of feeding the poor, even though Jesus said, "For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink."
Is it because of their religious exhibitionism despite the instruction that "when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private."
Is it because they have consistently fought against a living wage for the working poor when Proverbs 14:31 clearly states, "He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God." And 27:28, "Whoever gives to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to poverty will be cursed."
I would never say God sent a scary storm in the form of Hurricane Issac to the RNC because he hates Republicans, even though they do seem to ignore the very book they hit others with -- when it suits their purposes. That would be insane.
After the storm took a turn toward New Orleans, the predictable and ironically named "Christian Right" found its voice. Defend and Proclaim the Faith Pastor John McTernan explained the storm change: "It could be that God is putting an end to this city and its wickedness. The timing of Hurricane Isaac with Southern Decadence is a sign that God's patience with America's sin is coming to an end."