Fair-Weather TheologySeptember 01, 2008
The Republican National Convention was supposed to start today. It did, but barely as most of the speeches and festivities were cancelled because of Hurricane Gustav. It is kind of ironic considering some conservative Christians were praying for rain to disrupt Barack Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention. Yet, Focus on the Family and Reverend Wiley Drake have not stepped up and declared that this rain that has disrupted the Republican gathering is a sign from God. Nor have all those preachers who declared that Hurricane Katrina was God's judgment on everything from homosexuality to Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip (apparently God's aim was a little off). One Democratic leader who did joke that Hurricane Gustav was God's judgment on Republicans has rightfully apologized for his inappropriate comment.
The problem here is not that conservative preachers have not made such claims about Hurricane Gustav being sent to punish Republicans. Rather, it shows why it was wrong to pray for rain against Obama or assign divine messages to Hurricane Katrina. It is a dangerous game to play when we start claiming to know the mind of God, especially when later weather seems to be aimed at the exact opposite groups of people. These preachers have proven that they are not theologically consistent. Hopefully, they have also learned that their earlier claims were inappropriate and wrong. We need to be focused on helping people in the midst of natural disasters. Offering hateful comments about divine judgment only adds to the suffering.