Sandy = God’s Punishment for Teh Gayz
It’s inevitable. Every single time something bad happens, we know somebody is going to blame marriage equality. This time it is a Maryland pastor blaming Sandy on the mayor of New York supporting same-sex marriage. Let’s look at this concept for a minute.
The Biblical Precedent of National Judgements
A lot of people cite Sodom as the precedent for why they are comfortable making such judgements of God’s motivations: God did it once and so he can keep on doing it! Interestingly, however, according to Scripture the real sin of Sodom wasn’t its homosexual activity. The sin of Sodom according to Ezekiel is that they were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy (Ezekiel 16:49).
That isn’t even touching on if God even punishes sin through catastrophic natural disasters in general. I definitely don’t believe he does in the New Covenant since it is not a national or law-based covenant. But supposing for a second that he does, the only Scriptural precedent for the sin which causes that type of national judgement is greed, arrogance, and unwillingness to help the poor. I do say “only” because even in other texts like the prophets, it is always one of two things that get pinpointed as the causes of judgement: failure to care for the poor and religious hypocrisy (which are quite obviously interconnected but sometimes it only mentions one or the other). Yet every time we have a natural disaster, somebody claims it is the fault of those people, those LGBT heathens who make up a small minority of society, not the fault of the greedy majority.
If it isn’t Scriptural, why do we pick on them? LGBT people are a big enough community to be well-known while being small enough to be the scapegoat without having a full-out uprising in defiance. There’s also the obvious potential to ally with political causes which the American church sadly has a long history of doing. This allows most of the population to sit by and continue to be arrogant, overfed, unconcerned, and not helping the poor and needy without feeling bad about it. It’s a lot easier to convict others than it is to convict yourself or those like you, even if your sin is the one that is much more clear and much more prominent in Scripture. But Jesus doesn’t allow this option, instead telling us to make sure we take the plank out of our own eye before trying to pull the speck out of someone else’s. Notice for this whole conversation I am still speaking about how Christians are to treat our LGBT neighbours, not whether LGBT activity is a sin or not. That’s a completely different topic which I’ve discussed elsewhere.
The God of Fear
The bigger question to me, though, is even scarier: what kind of god does this Maryland pastor worship? His god is the type of god who kills dozens and leaves thousands homeless in order to stop a political figure from even proposing equal rights? This is the schizophrenic god who is one day giving up his life on a cross to save the world (or at least the elect) and then the next day is torturing them and everyone in their city with natural disasters because they committed a sin that is not even clear in Scripture. But God still loves everyone, including sinners, during this mass destruction.Don’t trust 1 John 4:18? How about Yoda?
My Calvinist brothers and sisters will likely say that we simply can’t ask that question because we can’t understand the ways of God. So in the Calvinist framework in general, they’re saying they understand the ways of God enough to know that he is responsible for all evil. That’s one thing, and I disagree with that but I’m not going to argue over it right now. On top of that, these select few would say that even know God’s precise motives when it comes to every single natural disaster. Is nobody else seeing the inconsistency? If we shouldn’t ask about God’s character, why do they get to declare God’s character? In reality, it doesn’t really matter since this version of God isn’t to be worshipped for his character – he is to be worshipped out of fear because he will destroy not just you but your entire city if you don’t follow all the rules quite correctly. So do we really still wonder why a lot of people are leaving this flavour of American Christianity in droves? I don’t want to worship that god and I can’t say I blame anybody else who similarly abandons the faith because of this god of fear. Theoretically this god is also one of love, but unfortunately love and fear can’t coexist – after all, doesn’t perfect love cast out fear (1 John 4:18) rather than use it as a political tool? – and some Christian leaders choose to emphasize the latter to the neglect of the former.