As hurricane Sandy slams into the northeastern coast of the country, there are only two things that are certain: First, a lot of people are going to be devastated by this event, and some may even die. Second, religious people are going to pop out of the woodwork to blame it on gay people. Congratulations to John McTernan for being the first out of the gate, but he won’t be the last. It is a time-honored tradition among American religious leaders to wriggle out of the dirt whenever something bad happens, like earthworms after a rainstorm, and explain it’s all because God hates fags.
I can’t even get worked up about it anymore; I am not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing, but it’s just not worth it. They can’t help themselves; it’s an involuntary reflex coupled with a normal, human, selective memory. If something bad happens, it’s because there aren’t enough people in the area who hate fags as much as God does. I am convinced of this; that this isn’t something they can control, that there is a dead zone on their moral compasses rendering them incapable of seeing the obvious, basic impropriety of seizing upon every major disaster and using it as evidence that God agrees with them about everything. The impulse to wave their self-ascribed moral superiority in the face of disaster victims, trivializing the pain and suffering of their fellow humans just to score I-told-you-so points on the basis of their own prejudiced interpretation of reality, underscores the utter lack of any principled legitimacy they lay their empty claims to.
This is the ultimate, fevered, fanatical expression of primitive mysticism and mindless zealotry writ large that rejects scientific legitimacy and objective reality, a twisted caricature of the message and philosophy of Jesus Christ that has more in common with the pagan worship of forest spirits than the peaceful, sagacious message of the New Testament. There is no greater example of the smug, arrogant hubris of this mindset than the video of two of America’s première religious leaders, gloating over the 9/11 attack as God’s punishment for gay people, while 2,605 of their fellow citizens were still buried in the smoking and smoldering rubble of the World Trade Center just two days after it came down.
Like our ancient forebears, huddling in caves during violent thunderstorms trying to figure out what they had done to anger the sky spirits, our modern religious leaders look at every phenomenon as an omen, a message from an invisible deity whose only means of communicating with us appears to be either direct, unverifiable, psychic conversations with the devout, or ambiguous, epic events whose scope is so vast and indistinct that it serves as more of a Roschach test than an actual communication. If your first thought when an androgynously named storm wreaks havoc on several states is “this must be related to men having sex with other men”, it may be time to seek therapy. Healthy people don’t make that connection.
In any case, I really wish these guys would quit trying to explain away every major disaster with “because fags.” The shine is off that penny; it’s not even outrageous anymore, it’s just tired and sad. It’s on par with watching former action star Jean-Claude Van Damme get a boner on Brazilian TV, or a shitfaced Joe Namath slobbering all over a sideline reporter. Only the hardcore fanatics will ignore it; to most of us it’s just embarrassing for them. Hurricane Sandy isn’t God’s punishment for gays, that’s objectively stupid–that, or God is even clumsier at doling out punishment than Joe Namath is at hitting on sideline reporters. Case in point: Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka is one of the worst places to be gay in the world, outside of the Middle East. Nonetheless, in 2004 they suffered one of the worst tsunamis in recorded history; God wiped out over 200,000 of his children in a single day, in 14 of the least gay-friendly countries in the whole world.
A skeptic might wonder if maybe these natural disasters aren’t actually orchestrated as part of an anti-gay agenda after all. Fortunately for the moguls of the religion industry, skepticism is in short supply.