I live in South Carolina—the Low Country—but just across the river from Georgia so the last several rainy days were gloomy but at best (worst?) we thoroughly watered the grasses, making walking the dogs a squishy experience. Other parts of the state were not so lucky and although the rain is apparently over, the waters are still rising.
Two interesting things came out of this millennial flood: the small government conservatives were johnny-on-the-spot holding out their hands for Federal disaster assistance and the religious right insisted the floods were clear evidence that God was not pleased with our treatment of Israel. Oh, no one on the conservative side of the aisle even whispered any suggestion that climate change might have played a part in the disaster.
First let’s focus on the right-wing hypocrites who are looking to the Federal government for disaster assistance. Please note that these are the same people who were against giving the New York area any disaster assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. These hypocrites in Congress insisted that the Federal government was not in the business of bailing out the states and besides, there just wasn’t any spare money in the Federal coffers unless the President would agree to drastically cut the funding of other programs … programs that were in place to help people who needed help already.
The correct response that we should have heard from the likes of Lindsey Graham should have been to tell those citizens of South Carolina who lost their homes and all their belongings, “Stuff happens.”
Then this morning I read an article by Sean Illing in Salon that suggested, Save us from these apocalyptic clowns. Michele Bachmann blames floods on America’s Israel policy — and she’s not alone. It’s tempting to dismiss the ex-congresswoman as a fringe figure — but her thinking is emblematic of the right.
When something terrible happens, it’s usually not long before someone on the religious right attributes it to God’s wrath. From hurricanes to earthquakes to tornadoes to floods, if you look closely enough you’ll see that there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for all that horror and suffering: gay people and/or American foreign policy.
Enter Michele Bachmann. You probably know by now that South Carolina is experiencing its worst flooding in hundreds of years. At least eleven people have died due to weather-related incidents in the Carolinas since the flooding began on Thursday. The former congresswoman (who evidently moonlights as a meteorologist) has a theory, however.
Bachmann took to Twitter over the weekend to let her followers know what’s really going on in South Carolina. “U.S. turns its back on Israel, disasters following,” she wrote above a link to an article on the record-setting storms on the East Coast. Got that, Carolinians? If you’re upset about the deluge sweeping your state and you want answers, don’t look to science or Hurricane Joaquin or that tropical moisture from the south or the unusually high water temperatures in the Atlantic – you’re suffering because Obama and Netanyahu don’t get along.
Bachmann, of course, has a history of divining the real causes of natural disasters. When Hurricane Irene pummeled the East Coast in 2011, she opined: “Washington, D.C. – you’d think by now they’d get the message. An earthquake. A hurricane. Are you listening? The American people have done everything they possibly can. Now it’s time for an act of God and we’re getting it.”
I understand the temptation to dismiss Bachmann. She’s a religious lunatic and, since leaving Congress earlier this year, an increasingly irrelevant political figure. But her opinions are not marginal among the Christian right in this country. We’ve heard this over and over again from prominent Republicans, both in and out of office.
The article goes on to add Republican’s such as Bobby Jindal and Rick Santorum to the category of apocalyptic clowns. It doesn’t take much critical thinking to dismiss the delusional but I have often advanced the opinion that it is just such people who are actually blasphemous: if a god exists, he or she would be very displeased with their shenanigans.
Actually, even my suggestion that God might be a He or a She is blasphemous. A God who created and watches over universes; a God who came up with the laws that govern all life on all planets on all solar systems in all galaxies in all universes is concerned about the outcome of a Friday Night football game or whether a country that is not even a century old survives or whether a small group of combatants is successful in its endeavors or whether the animals on one small planet should form legal bonds with anyone they love or whether Michelle Bachman is sentient is obviously silly.
If God exists there are much more important things going on than to monitor life on this planet. Even the suggestion that God takes sides in a boxing match is so ludicrous that I can only hope there is no God. Those who profess strong belief in this God are an embarrassment to even the fictionalized concept of a God. I probably honor this God more by not believing than by all the tom-foolery that the religious right tries to get away with.
Let’s face it: we humans are just another animal on an insignificant planet who made up God to make ourselves appear more important than we really are. And sometimes it rains.