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Yoohoo, God?
Remember the tsunami? Here's what Cathy Young wrote about god afterward, in a Reason piece rather presciently subtitled: "After the deluge, the God talk":

Last December, as the world tried to grapple with the devastating scope of the tsunami that hit South Asia—at last count, the death toll stood at nearly 300,000—the tragedy became fodder for fatuous religious discussions, focusing on an ancient question: How can a just, good, all-powerful, all-loving God allow evil to happen and innocents to suffer?

...The evangelist Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of the Rev. Billy Graham, made a more startling (and more original) claim on the Fox News show The Heartland: “Maybe in the Muslim world…people would see that Americans are not, perhaps, what the wicked propagandists would say, but they were good people and a caring people and we’re going to help them. So God—you know, he has a greater purpose.” God committed mass slaughter just to give America an opportunity to improve its image abroad?

...When God is thanked for answering a prayer with a miraculous deliverance, it raises the inevitable skeptical question: What about all those who likewise prayed but perished nonetheless? Is the idea of a deity cherry-picking those who will survive a deadly disaster really comforting? After September 11, some credited God with ensuring that there were far fewer people than usual both in the hijacked planes and in the targeted buildings. You’d think that God could have simply tipped off the FBI.

Yet in a supposedly secularist culture where conservatives gripe that you’re not allowed to talk about God anymore, mainstream public discourse rarely questions boilerplate rhetoric about God’s higher purpose and the mystery of His ways. When an American soldier serving in Iraq was killed in a helicopter crash while flying home for his mother’s funeral after her sudden death from an aneurism, newspaper accounts reverentially repeated a minister’s assertion at the double service that God surely had a plan for mother and son. The press coverage of the memorial service for Pat Tillman, the former National Football League player who passed up a multimillion-dollar contract to enlist in the Army and was killed in action in Afghanistan, almost uniformly omitted his brother’s remark from the podium: “With all respect to those who have been up here before me, Pat’s not with God. He’s not religious. He’s dead.”

Posted by aalkon at September 13, 2005 9:40 AM

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Comments

My pet theory is that the Tsunami was actually The Rapture, and that everyone who survived it was in effect Left Behind. So take that, you smug sinners!

Posted by: Paul Hrissikopoulos at September 13, 2005 8:18 AM

I am surprised that Pat Robertson has not come out and said that Katrina was the wrath of God visited on the casino industry of Missippi and New Orleans, as well Bourbon Street.

Posted by: Senor Limey at September 13, 2005 1:03 PM

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