Monday, September 19, 2005
  God's name is a copyright
Last week I received a forwarded email from a Christian friend. Below are excerpts from the email:

The Lord warned, "I will strike . . . with chastening." To chasten is to make chaste or to purify. Thus, it is significant in my mind that the name, Katrina, means "purity" or "cleansing." My faith tells me that this hurricane, as devastating and terrible as it has been, will ultimately produce some measure of spiritual cleansing in our land. Right now, there is much heartache and suffering -- and even defiance in the gay community as they seek to still hold their "Southern Decadence" celebration. However, ultimately our nation will be genuinely closer to the Lord. Still, let us pray that no further wounds are necessary to achieve national repentance. - Francis Frangipane in the widely-circulated article "A Cleansing Has Begun"

I somewhat guessed that sooner or later, an islamic terrorist would make a connection between the Katrina disaster and "Allah's will". But I guess the Christians beat them to it... When I first received this, I admit being slightly pissed off that someone would come up with this bullshit, which only reflects on Francis Frangipane's homophobia and paints him (or her?) as a narrow-minded prude. While I understand Christianity's values, it is often dangerous to extrapolate home-made hypotheses and conclusions in associating God with modern day disasters.

It would be easy for any objective Christian to completely ignore these irrational statements, but alas I fear that one too many will actually start believing this nonsense. Because propagation of things like these lead to false representation of religion and even the loss of faith when one believes God is responsible for such loss of life. So I decided to acknowledge this as a hyopthesis and use this as the basis of my response to my dear Christian friend.

"Many Christians have attempted to show specific reasons why New Orleans, rather than other cities, was apparently targeted for divine displeasure. I must confess that I am tempted to agree with them. The reports I've read from believers who travel each year to proclaim the gospel during the New Orleans Mardi Gras are sickening."

I see the reasons for God choosing "New Orleans rather than other cities" being somewhat irrational. Whilst celebrations like Mardi Gras and those of the gay community are deemed sinful by our faith, it is important for Christians to know that these events occur annually and consist on the most part, visitors from many other States in America and even from other parts of the world. On the other hand, New Orleans is home to its indigent people, 2-thirds of whom are African American and half of which are below the poverty line. And it is no surprise that most able-bodied middle-class people was able to leave the area before the disaster (apart from some oblivious tourists), leaving behind mostly what are the poor, weak and those who have no where else to run to. We must understand that these people, if indeed Hurricane Katrina was an act of God, are the REAL victims of his punishment as they are left to suffer even more than the poverty they are already in, if being homeless was not already bad enough. For some, I'm sure their homes was everything they had. Remember, that there are plenty of other places in this world of sin. Is gambling not a sin? Why not strike Las Vegas with it's 24-hr casinos open to willing sinners? Or Hollywood with its celebrity industry that seems motivated only by money and lust on the most part.

"Perhaps you've heard that since 1972, New Orleans has been the host city of the annual "Southern Decadence Day," which would have been held this very weekend, as it has every Labor Day weekend for the past thirty-three years. It is touted as "one of the gay world's major parties," and a "gay Mardi Gras" when tens of thousands of gay men and lesbians descend on the French Quarter for unrestrained public lewdness and drunkenness. In 2003 it pumped $95 million into the local economy, which is why city leaders refused to shut it down in spite of protests by more decent people."

A double-whammy sin in the eyes of some Christians I suppose. But again, Mardi Gras and the Southern Decadence Day are only held annually, leaving only the innocent residents there to live the remaining 360+ days. Furthermore, Mardi Gras and 'gay celebrations' alike do not exclusively take place in New Orleans.

"New Orleans has also seen an incredible amount of looting, arson, rape, murders, gang violence and general lawlessness after Katrina, something that was not seen in the countries hit by last December's tsunami."

You have to be extremely carefully when placing judgment on a society by what you simply see on TV. I believe this was a topic of racial disscussion in the Katrina aftermath. It is amazing at how much mainstream news and media can place a distorted perception on the mass audience. Some people do 'loot' out of neccessity. When a white man for example breaks into a shop, he is said to be hunting and gathering food to feed his hungry family. When a black man does it, he's looting. They don't say it. But it's implied. And media tricks have obviously affected the person who made the above comment. 'Murders, gang violence, rape and arson' are very speculative remarks. They seem slightly exaggerated and out of context. The fires for example were more probably caused by gas leaks than arsonists who felt like burning already destroyed houses. I don't DOUBT there is proper criminal looting going on. But we cannot judge an entire society by a few bad apples that we see on TV or "hear from a friend" just because we don't see the good ones. But in no way do we have the right to compare them with the Indonesians of the Tsunami aftermath. For one, the death toll in Indonesia was MUCH higher for an affected population much smaller than New Orleans. In otherwords, more of the Aceh population was wiped out and even more so to the villages and towns. We did not see as many survivors huddling under bridges, highways or in arenas as we did New Orleans. New Orleans was flooded, broken and uninhabitable. Affected Aceh was completely leveled with little survivors. In a sense, sad as it may seem, there was nothing TO loot. Nor were there many healthy people capable of looting. But I can only think someone who believes crimes of opportunity only reside in New Orleans as being naive.

"Finally, will the pastors, preachers and prophets in America rise to the occasion to courageously proclaim the truth? Or will they actually work against Christ and assist Satan in what he specializes in - spreading lies about himself and God? "

Nevermind pastors, preachers and prophets. Bush has already done a good job at lying and deceiving the American people and sustaining an illegal occupation of Iraq for his ambition to secure their oil. And the cost is? The precious children of American parents. Furthermore, President Bush seems to have implied the war was God-willing.

It is eerily similar when Christians start throwing God's name into disasters such as Katrina as when an islamic academic from Saudi Arabia started ranting that the Tsunami was "Allah-willing" as well. I cannot possibly believe that God created the disaster that killed thousands of innocent, conservative Aceh muslim citizens to justify punishing a few hundred tourists hundreds of miles away in Thailand. Does it suddenly sound eerily like Osama bin Laden's justification of his attack on innocent victims of the 9/11 attacks for the "greater good" of islam and his use of Allah's name to justify it? Or what about Bush's sacrifice of over a thousand soldiers' lives for the "greater good of freedom and humanity" in God's name? It's hard these days to tell who's doing God's bidding and who's doing Satan's. But then again, when did God ever give us the copyright to his name?

Other recommended reading: Feverish minds cook up the wrath of God (Yawning Bread)
word of the day: "pisjbc"- NOUN: a large vehicle used for clearing up urine spillages on construction sites.

i think some of the Islamic nutters did make the connection, but becuase they were Americans rather than homosexuals. of course, they probably knew there were homosexuals in their midst. after all, they hate us for our FREEDOM. hmm
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