Crist, hurricanes, and divine intervention

CRIST, HURRICANES, AND DIVINE INTERVENTION…. During his strange 1988 presidential campaign, TV preacher Pat Robertson claimed to be able to deflect hurricanes from Virginia’s east coast through the powers of his prayers. This week, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R), currently the frontrunner in the state’s open U.S. Senate race next year, made a similar argument.

Town Hall reports that Crist was speaking to a group of real estate agents, and credited prayer notes in the Western Wall in Jerusalem with preventing his state from being hit by hurricanes during his time as governor.

Crist told of how he visited the Wall in 2007, and placed a note saying: “Dear God, please protect our Florida from storms and other difficulties. Charlie.”

“Time goes on — May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December — no hurricanes,” Crist said. “Thank God.”

Crist has also had other people place notes in the Wall in 2008 and 2009.

Crist made it clear that’s he’s not personally taking credit for Florida having been spared from hurricanes. “I give that to God,” Crist said. “But it’s nice.”

Paul Campos responded, “This kind of thing seems like a real insult to genuine religious believers with an IQ over 87, so I guess that’s not his target demographic.”

No, I suspect not. Crist is facing off against a very conservative primary opponent, so it stands to reason that he hopes to curry favor with the religious right base of Florida’s Republican Party. Since far-right activists have never been especially pleased with Crist anyway, these are the kind of remarks that are probably intended to help him connect.

But they are nevertheless strikingly silly. The hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean runs from June through November. Crist took office in January 2007, meaning that his tenure as Florida’s chief executive has spanned exactly two full hurricane seasons. Obviously, it’s wonderful that the Sunshine State hasn’t been hit by a serious hurricane since 2005, but for Crist to suggest his religious activities may have been involved in this good fortune seems a little nutty.

Indeed, it makes me wonder what Crist thinks about the 486 recorded storms that have already hit Florida, not to mention those that may strike in the future. Here’s hoping Crist doesn’t think they’re divine retribution for something.