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God Said Ha
And then god went Whooosh! And did the Three Little Piggies number on the church:

The Lady Lake Church of God, built to withstand winds of up to 150 mph, was demolished, according to the Associated Press.

Here's an excerpt from Bill Henry's e-mail about it (from about 75 miles east of the church):

Hi Amy,

Looks like our friend god fucked up this morning in Central Florida. When His tornado(s) hit, the good Lord our God forgot to pull it up before it went thru Lady Lake Church of God. It's totally demolished! 100%. Looks like another disaster that comes under the good old "mysterious ways" clause in His contract with His sheep.

Bill Henry

Here's a photo from an AP story posted on MSNBC.

Posted by aalkon at February 4, 2007 6:55 AM

Comments

Now watch. You will see the church's leader proselytizing from the rubble and saying "Don't blame god. It's all part of his plan which we can't understand so put your trust in him"

Translation: "Don't challenge your beliefs, don't question the church's authority, continue to obey."

The fact that the sermon may make people "feel better" is irrelevant.

Posted by: RedPretzel at February 4, 2007 6:15 AM

Were I a member of that church, I'd be reconsidering my affiliation. The proper lesson for any believer to take away from this is "OK, we done pissed God off".

A lesson I was hoping the Muslims would learn after their routing in Afghanistan.

But such is the way of the True Believer™.

Posted by: brian at February 4, 2007 7:53 AM

I really admire the way you all embrace these people's misfortunes. Can we make fun of the triplets who lost one of their sisters next? They were so stupid.

Posted by: eric at February 4, 2007 8:19 AM

Eric, nobody's celebrating anybody's misfortunes. I do, however, "embrace" facts -- because denying them would be silly and irrational.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at February 4, 2007 9:15 AM

Of course, criticizing Christians and Jews for their irrational beliefs is an entirely different animal from criticizing Muslims.

Check this out -- in the comments of the post -- the stuff from "Imelda."

http://www.advicegoddess.com/mt/mt-comments.cgi?entry_id=3683

Posted by: Amy Alkon at February 4, 2007 9:26 AM

I saw the Pastor of the church on the news, and he seemed like a really decent man. If his faith makes him stronger, and better able to cope and rebuild, then I respect his faith.

We just had a Marine from Spokane killed last week in Iraq. Fred Phelps and his gang of fanatics planned on showing up with their "God hates fags" message. They didn't show up, because I suspect they would have gone home sans kneecaps. My point is there are inappropriate times to make your point.

Posted by: eric at February 4, 2007 9:35 AM

I respect nobody's "faith." I respect people who reason.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at February 4, 2007 9:43 AM

I respect nobody's "faith." I respect people who reason.

Fine Amy. Forget his faith then. But how about respecting his decency, humility, and grace in the face of adversity? Or don't those qualities count in a person if they commit the rationalists' sin of Christophilia in your eyes?

I could understand going after this guy and his church if he were one of Fred Phelps' acolytes, preaching hate and violence, or if he ever claimed to anyone in or out of his church, "No, I'm not worried about that tornado in the distance. Don't you know the Bible states that Christians are exempted from the laws of physics and meteorology?" But you and Bill ridiculing him simply because he found himself subject to the same laws, which to the best of my knowledge he never denied apply to him as much as anyone else... well, your and Henry's remarks make just about as much sense as the rhetoric excreted by the Phelps gang, and I know you're a better person than he's ever pretended to be, Amy. Just a thought.

Posted by: qdpsteve at February 4, 2007 10:13 AM

What makes any of you think that God gives a tinkers damn about anyone of you or your stupid little problems?

God, she, has only one single mandate that man, Cain and his help meet, Seth to replinish the earth.
That's it.

and so there will be no mistake Adam was an Egyptian and Eve his wife, mother to man was Assyrian.

Posted by: SAmuel at February 4, 2007 10:51 AM

What makes you think there's a god?

Or are you just off your meds for a change of pace?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at February 4, 2007 10:55 AM

Well said Steve. I'd only add the obvious, that the vitriol is fueled by ignorance. Reason's last step is the recognition that there are an infinite number of things which are beyond it. Were reason the only requirement for the correct conduct of human affairs/behavior, then all that would be required of the human race would be a very small processor inside a robot to suffice.

Posted by: Casca at February 4, 2007 12:46 PM

Where Steve makes the mistake is that I'm somehow "going after" this guy and his church.

Is reason that painful to hear? The church didn't disappear because god hates people or because god had some mysterious plan. There's no evidence for god.

Saying so is really cruelty?

I'm now really the next Fred Phelps?

Please.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at February 4, 2007 1:01 PM

By bringing up Fred Phelps I did not lump you in with his kind. I just worry that you are wrong about all this "bigger picture" stuff Amy, and when you die, an accounting error sends you to Pentacostal Heaven. In sweats.

Go Bears!

Posted by: eric at February 4, 2007 1:31 PM

I do worry about ever being seen in public in sweats.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at February 4, 2007 1:37 PM

Amy, allow me to respond to you point by point:

Where Steve makes the mistake is that I'm somehow "going after" this guy and his church.

Not necessarily "going after." That to my mind sounds as if you were organizing a movement to prevent this pastor from rebuilding. It's just that the tone of your/Bill's original post struck my ears/eyes of ridicule, and I don't believe in ridiculing most people, aside from the most bigoted and small-minded (and I don't believe this pastor fits that bill simply for beliving in God). I know it's presumptions of me to say, but there are already a 1,000,000,001 partisan screed sites out there promoting further hatred of every kind, shape and size; I'd like to think your site, Amy, has a, er, higher calling--in the ethical/moral sense of the word, not religious.

Is reason that painful to hear? The church didn't disappear because god hates people or because god had some mysterious plan. There's no evidence for god. Saying so is really cruelty?

Nope. I'm a Christian and manage to defuse most arguments about the existence of God with atheist friends by telling 'em right up front: there's no scientifically viable evidence for the existence of God. That's why it's called faith, which literally means belief in something despite the absence of evidence. I believe because I choose to believe. As I understand the great American social contract, that right of mine is valid so long as I don't attempt to force my beliefs on others.

I'm now really the next Fred Phelps? Please.

Not at all Amy, far from it. You're way too decent, American, pretty, smart, compassionate, and respectful of diversity for that. But I thought this post approached Phelps' type of reasoning, i.e., "anything bad that happens to my enemy should be celebrated."

I want your site to thrive and succeed; I want Phelps and his ilk to either repent, or fail and perish. It's the right way to be, regardless of whether God ever existed long enough to say so or not.

Posted by: qdpsteve at February 4, 2007 2:36 PM

You have the right to believe in god or that frozen yogurt can fly.

I don't dispute that.

I just find one a sign of mental illness and the other backward and sad.


Posted by: Amy Alkon at February 4, 2007 2:48 PM

And I just found this:

http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/02/04/florida.storm/index.html

"I'd like everybody to take a deep breath, and let everybody who has breath today praise God," said Pastor Larry Lynn.

Who's celebrating the obscene here?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at February 4, 2007 2:51 PM

I just find one a sign of mental illness and the other backward and sad.

As Homer Simpson once asked when solicited for money by a line of Jacksons impersonators (one real, the other four obviously stick puppets), "Yeah, but which one??" ;-)

For the record Amy, I know you're not out there with a wrecking ball tearing down steeples, or a steamroller turning nuns into pizza dough. I just simply don't think that the great debate over the existence of God will be won with the type of rhetoric you employed above. Having said that, of course, the Burger King Principle ("Have It Your Way") applies here. Your blog, your rules.

Who's celebrating the obscene here?

Most likely nobody. Sounds like he's just trying to be, again, gracious and positive in the face of adversity. Just like so many other group leaders of modern times, from President "Mission: Accomplished!" Bush to Mayor "Chocolate Milk" Nagin.

Posted by: qdpsteve at February 4, 2007 5:19 PM

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