Thursday, May 5, 2011

Are Deadly Tornadoes a Sign of God's Wrath on the Deep South?

President Obama in Tuscaloosa, AL

When an earthquake devastated San Francisco in 1989, some conservatives said it was God's punishment for the city's welcoming attitude toward gays. When Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans in 2005, some conservatives said the supposed debauchery in the French Quarter had raised God's anger.

Here in 2011, we've learned that game can cut both ways. After last week's tornadoes killed more than 300 people in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and Louisiana, one can only conclude that God must be unhappy with the Deep South about something. The Big Guy must really be pissed at my home state of Alabama, where 236 people have been confirmed dead.

By the way, Southern conservatives aren't the only ones getting hammered by Mother Nature. Southwest Missouri, especially the country-music mecca of Branson, has been hit with major flooding. That part of the Ozarks is steadfastly GOP.

Since it's "established" that liberals can raise God's hackles with their permissive ways, we can only assume from last week's storms that God doesn't like stuffed shirts either. (Which raises the question, "Who in the heck does God like?") After all, the seven states hardest hit by the storms were staunchly conservative. Talk about an angry God.

What have conservatives done to get the Big Guy riled up? Let's consider a few possibilities:

* One of the prime tenets of modern conservatism is that tax rates must be cut for the richest Americans. The Bible, the book Southerners seem to treasure, says it's easier for "a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." (Matthew 19: 23-24.) Have conservative Southerners been ignoring God's word? Is that why the skies darkened and the winds blew last week?

* Another tenet of modern conservatism is this: Those near the bottom of the economic ladder should wait on crumbs from the upper reaches to "trickle down" to them. In other words, we must take care of the wealthy's needs first before considering the plight of the poor. The Bible, which many Southerners claim to know, sings a different tune. It instructs Christians to serve "the least of these." (Matthew 25:40.) Again, has the conservative South been ignoring God's word, replacing it with the Gospel of John Boehner?

* Based on his words, as reported in The Bible, Jesus Christ was a man of considerable intellect. It's unlikely that anyone can read the Sermon on the Mount, for example, without realizing these are profound words, from a deep and probing mind. So why do Christ's modern followers, especially those of a conservative bent, turn away from intellectual rigor? Why do they ignore the teachings of our brightest minds on profound subjects, such as climate change? In the wake of last week's storms, a leading climate scientist said we must not ignore the role climate change plays in triggering killer tornadoes. Reports Truthout, in an article dated April 30, 2011:

Conservatives attack any discussion of climate policy within the context of the killer tornadoes as “grotesque,” saying that to do so is blaming the victims.

In an email interview with ThinkProgress, Dr. Kevin Trenberth, one of the world’s top climate scientists, who has been exploring for years how greenhouse pollution influences extreme weather, said he believes that it is “irresponsible not to mention climate change” in the context of these extreme tornadoes. Trenberth, head of the Climate Analysis Section of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, added that the scientific understanding of how polluting our atmosphere with billions of tons of greenhouse gases affects tornadic activity is still ongoing:

"It is irresponsible not to mention climate change. … The environment in which all of these storms and the tornadoes are occurring has changed from human influences (global warming). Tornadoes come from thunderstorms in a wind shear environment. This occurs east of the Rockies more than anywhere else in the world. The wind shear is from southerly (SE, S or SW) flow from the Gulf overlaid by westerlies aloft that have come over the Rockies. That wind shear can be converted to rotation. The basic driver of thunderstorms is the instability in the atmosphere: warm moist air at low levels with drier air aloft. With global warming the low level air is warm and moister and there is more energy available to fuel all of these storms and increase the buoyancy of the air so that thunderstorms are strong. There is no clear research on changes in shear related to global warming. On average the low level air is 1 deg F and 4 percent moister than in the 1970s."

Is God angry at conservative Southerners for ignoring the science on the dangers of climate change?

An examination of the twisters' paths through Alabama raises even more questions about conservatism and the wrath of God. Tuscaloosa, home to the University of Alabama, was the hardest hit city in the state. Why was that? Well, many of our state's business titans, who often seek to comfort the wealthy at the expense of everyone else, are products of the Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration. Many of the lawyers and judges who have turned our "justice" system into a cesspool are products of the University of Alabama School of Law.

Heck, Tuscaloosa's best known longtime resident is Paul Bryant Jr., the son of Hall of Fame football coach Paul "Bear" Bryant. And as we have reported in numerous posts here at Legal Schnauzer, Bryant Jr. and one of his companies (Alabama Reassurance) have extensive ties to massive insurance fraud.

Tuscaloosa also has an ugly history on race relations. George Wallace made his famed "stand in the schoolhouse door" at Foster Auditorium on the University of Alabama campus. UA's Greek system is notorious for The Machine, a secret coalition of white fraternities and sororities that has influenced campus and state politics for years. Products of The Machine, I'm told, land at boardrooms and law firms across Alabama, contributing to a cloud of bigotry and entitlement that hangs over our state. Esquire did a major expose of The Machine in its April 1992 edition. Racism in the Greek system at UA remains a source of concern and embarrassment for the state.

The Schnauzer household was spared in last week's storm--and for that, we are deeply grateful. But talk about the seediness that surrounds Tuscaloosa hits close to home. I worked for 19 years at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) before being cheated out of my job in May 2008 because of the progressive tone of this blog. And I'm not guessing about what caused me to be unlawfully fired. I've got audiotaped evidence to prove it, in the form of a conversation I had with Anita Bonasera, a human-resources official at UAB:

Audio: UAB and the Cost of Blogging About the Siegelman Case

UAB is one of three campuses in the University of Alabama System, which is governed by a board of trustees based in . . . Tuscaloosa. UAB President Carol Garrison signed off on my unlawful termination. But there is little doubt that she did it at the direction of, or with the blessing of, someone from Tuscaloosa.

And now major portions of Tuscaloosa have been blown to smithereens. Were last week's storms the Revenge of the Schnauzer?

I'm not serious about that, of course. I suspect most progressives don't subscribe to the notion that a loving God uses the laws of nature to punish people--no matter how despicable they might be. I certainly don't subscribe to such a notion. After all, many storm victims in Tuscaloosa were from the lower ends of the economic scale, folks who already were struggling just to get by. The truly despicable folks in T-town, certain elites, appear to have been mostly unscathed in the storms.

Regardless of what reality tells us, some conservatives clearly believe that God can get so ticked off about certain things that he can manipulate nature in order to inflict all sorts of suffering on those who have made Him unhappy. If that's the case, Southern conservatives might want to consider becoming liberals.

Here is terrifying news footage of the storm approaching Tuscaloosa:


mikkrikk said...

A friend from Denver asked me this same question. She said that Pat Roberson proclaimed that Katrina had been sent because of homosexual activity in America. She asked what we had been doing in Alabama?

I told her the only thing I could think of is that Bob Riley let electronic bingo go on for entirely too long before he decided to put a stop to it and no doubt that is what this was all about!

James Greek said...

I think racism is a factor. Also, your senator Hank Erwin mentioned that Hurricane Katrina was god's wrath back in 2005.

Anonymous said...

Then Pat became immersed in covering up his and his little boy-Ralph Reeds crimes & now Erik Prince's.
The network's Family Channel, which promoted family-friendly entertainment, was spun off in 1990 to International Family Entertainment Inc., led by Pat Robertson and his son Tim. In 1997, that company was sold for $1.9 billion to Fox Kids Worldwide Inc., which later sold it to the Disney Co.
Giuliani's law and lobbying clients have included Saudi Arabia, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., and chewing tobacco maker UST Inc.

tsisageya said...

Another thing, Legal Schnauzer, is that John Wathen (Hurricane Creekkeeper and one who does so much to keep us informed about the BP oil slick)had his home just outside Tuscaloosa destroyed in the tornadoes. I'm sure God wasn't punishing John of all people, though Pat Robertson might disagree.

legalschnauzer said...

So sorry to hear about John's home. Hope he and his loved ones are OK. Thanks for letting us know about this. John deserves any number of awards for his reporting on the BP spill.

Redeye said...

For Alabama to be second in the nation on religiosity (?) we sure do have a lot of Tornado's. Do you think God is trying to tell them something? Do you think they will listen or will they continue their evil ways?

tsisageya said...

On the other hand, who are we to determine what is Blessing and what is Curse? Or vice versa? For example (No, I'm not necessarily a fan of Max Lucado. This is just where I found a good example of my parable. Makes sense):

tsisageya said...

John is a special hero of mine, though he doesn't know it.