This past weekend, GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann got us going once again by suggesting that the earthquake that swarmed the East Coast, along with the deadly hurricane that followed on its heels, were messages from God to America’s politicians telling them to get their act together.
Could she be right?
Admittedly, she rarely is.
But in light of the fact that even a broken clock is correct twice a day, let’s give her the benefit of the doubt. Let’s go with Bachmann’s concept that, in visiting upon us these disasters that took the lives of over 40 people and caused billions in property damage and a great deal of suffering, God is sending our politicians a message.
It’ll be fun.
As we examine Bachmann’s special connection to the Almighty, we should remember that the Congresswoman – and candidate for the GOP nomination to be our next president- is not the only one who sees God’s hand at work in disasters that are, according to Bachmann and others, more supernatural than natural in design.
By way of example, one time GOP presidential candidate and current day soothsayer, Pat Robertson, reminds us that God made her point last week when the earthquake left a nasty crack in the Washington Monument.
Certainly, that symbolism speaks for itself.
Then there is GOP presidential hopeful, Governor Rick Perry, who joins Congresswoman Bachmann in staking a claim to the Lord’s political endorsement as each proclaims to have been called by God to run for the presidency.
This leaves me to wonder if the Almighty is simply hedging her bet by whispering in the ear of two favored candidates or just thought it would be fun to watch Perry and Bachmann try to out-do one another as they battle to prove just who really is the BFF of the Creator.
Indeed, there is no shortage of GOP heavyweights – including politicians and religious leaders who sit atop the Religious Right – who claim to have direct communication with our Maker.
But if we are going to go with this whole ‘every disaster is a message from God’ narrative, it seems fair to examine how well these modern day seers perform in interpreting the messages they receive as the evidence would appear to suggest that their celestial tuners could use a little adjusting.
While nobody would ever confuse me with a biblical scholar, it does occur that the whole ‘meek shall inherit the earth’ thing – along with so much of the teachings to be gleaned from the Holy Bible and virtually every other religious source material in our universe – tends to suggest that something doesn’t quite add up here.
There simply seems to be no authority – in any of the religious tomes of which I am familiar- that supports protecting the interests of the wealthy at the expense of the poor. There is no religious authority suggesting that health care should only be available to those who have money while those unable to pay for health insurance are on their own.
And there certainly is no religious authority that supports tax subsidies to oil companies and large corporations who pay less in taxes than I do while cutting the social lifeline to Americans in the greatest need.
Still, those who claim to interpret the actions coming down from on high tell us that what the Lord is really ticked off about are gay Americans and abortion policy.
If this is the case, why are these ‘messages’ striking so close to the homes of our GOP leadership?
Last week’s 5.8 earthquake originated smack in the heart of Virginia’s 7th Congressional District – home to none other than the Snidely Whiplash of American politics, Eric Cantor.
Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, what are the odds that the epicenter of this highly unusual earthquake would be in the Virginia 7th?
That factor alone is almost enough to make me believe that maybe there is a force at work here beyond the natural shifting of tectonic plates. After all, if
anyone needed a heads up on how to behave in the face of these disasters, it was House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.
But no sooner did God make her point by getting the earth rocking from directly beneath the Congressman’s home district, and further cement the message by sending Hurricane Irene crashing through Cantor’s home state, the Congressman turned around and pronounced his own curse on those affected by the disasters.
According to Rep. Cantor, the victims of Hurricane Irene will not be getting any federal assistance unless and until Cantor, and his Congressional friends, find and take the money from other parts of the federal budget in order to balance the books.
In fact, Cantor is suggesting that the money needed be produced by making huge cuts in the federal funds given to finance the first responders we count on to get us through these natural disasters.
I wonder if God shares Cantor’s appreciation of irony?
But then, I also wonder how Michele Bachmann managed to miss a divine message so clearly stated.
If you are not yet convinced that these natural disasters are a political statement from above, keep in mind that this most recent occurrence is but the latest in a string of mishaps that appear to be carefully visited upon our nation’s Red States.
Consider the severe Texas drought -the worst since the 1865- that is plaguing the Great State of Texas, causing extraordinary misery to the state’s farmers and cattlemen. This is a punishment straight out of biblical lore and one so bad that
Texas Governor Rick Perry (yes, that Rick Perry) asked Texans to pray for rain – a prayer that has yet to be answered.
Once again – more irony.
Could it be that Rick Perry – the man who has God on his speed dial- has misunderstood the message? Could it be that Perry got his cosmic signals crossed when the Lord spoke to him saying – via the drought visited on Perry’s own state – that what God really wants the Governor to do is recognize the civil rights of gay Americans, black Americans and Latino Americans in the state of Texas? Could it be that the Lord was telling Rick Perry to quit pretending to be a conduit for heaven and spend more time figuring out how to improve his sorry health care statistics or improve education for the state’s children so that they might have a chance in life?
Or could it be that the Lord was telling Governor Perry to stop executing so many of the state’s convicts as that is God’s job and not Rick Perry’s?
Whatever Perry was hearing, it is virtually impossible for a religious person to believe that the message was “run for President”.
The thing is, if you are going to represent yourself as the voice of God in America, it’s somewhat important that you get the message straight.
Otherwise, you might find that God is not the Republican you want us to believe she is.
You might also find that religious Americans are going to wake up one of these days and figure out that people like Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and the rest of the Religious Right are selling a whole lot of snake oil -not the word of God.
And when that happens, you just might notice – in yet another ironic twist – that when you look up to the heavens in search of that Higher Power, the color you will see all around you is not red…. It’s blue.