Over the years, I’ve noticed that a lot of religious conservative leaders will interpret natural disasters or even events like 9/11 as divine punishment for some perceived sins of the American public. It’s usually part of their scam, but it’s a natural human instinct to think that everything happens with God’s approval. In another sense, tragedies that might make someone question the existence of a benevolent God can cause people to double down on their faith. It’s always somewhat interesting to see who gets blamed when things go horribly wrong.
Any objective observer will note that ever since the Senate acquitted President Trump at his impeachment trial, on February 5, the country has been receiving one crippling blow after another. The timing suggests that God has responded with overwhelming disapproval of the verdict. If you’re inclined to believe that God communicates with us in this way, this conclusion is hard to avoid. There’s obviously the COVID-19 pandemic, in which the first confirmed case arrived at our shores during Trump’s trial. There the massive job losses associated with the novel coronavirus and other signs too, like mass protests, widespread looting, and a spike in violent crime. Then there’s Mighty Zeus sending down at least 12,000 dry lightning bolts on California that set much of the state on fire. We’ve had fire tornados and murder hornets, and even a case of bubonic plague. The mercury recently reached a world record 130 degrees Fahrenheit in Death Valley.
I knew something was definitely awry when I learned that two hurricanes had formed at the same time in the Gulf of Mexico. Apparently, meteorologists have never seen that happen before. The first of these storms, Hurricane Laura, appears to have timed its arrival perfectly to disrupt the Republican National “Convention.” It’s set to hit the Texas-Louisiana coast on Wednesday night or early Thursday morning. Not only that, but it was a bit sneaky about it.
Stewing over the exceptionally warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Laura had the potential to rapidly intensify, forecasters knew. But then to see it actually happen as the storm was closing in on the vulnerable Texas-Louisiana coastline was like a punch to the gut.
Here are some comments from scientists via Twitter as they awoke to the strengthening Category 3 storm upon glancing at the latest satellite imagery:
“This is not an image you ever want to see.” — Samantha Montano, disaster expert, Massachusetts Maritime Academy
“This is a nightmare for emergency managers. 18 hours before landfall, rapidly strengthening hurricane, worse than predictions.” — Bill Karins, MSNBC meteorologist
As things stand, the National Hurricane Center is predicting an “unsurvivable storm surge with large and destructive waves” that “will cause catastrophic damage…up to 30 miles inland.” It seems the president should be spending the 27th completely dedicated to managing the emergency response to this catastrophe, but that’s the day of his big convention speech. If he goes ahead with it as he will, he’ll arguably be fiddling while Rome burns. It’s like God is punking the president.
Religious conservatives are essential to Trump’s base, so the people most inclined to see natural disasters as messages from God and now in a bind. Do they listen to the message, or ignore it?