Hurricane Sandy Spawns Right-Wing Theodicy

As Hurricane Sandy heads ashore on the east coast of the U.S., far right-wing religious zealots are already calling it a sign from God for everything from U.S. policy on Israel to, of course, the gays.

The conspiratorial World Net Daily says Sandy is a sign that God is angry with the U.S. for defying his will on Israel:

In fact, in his book Eye to Eye: Facing the Consequences of Dividing Israel, [William] Koenig points out that nine of the 10 costliest insurance events in U.S. history followed dramatic calls by U.S. officials for Israel to make land concessions in bids for peace with its neighbors. He points out with startling detail how six of the seven costliest hurricanes in U.S. history followed such events. He points out how three of the four largest tornado outbreaks in U.S. history also followed such developments. […] “From a biblical perspective, the land isn’t to be divided, parceled out or negotiated away… period,” Koenig said. “That’s the land God gave to Israel.”

Evangelical pastor John McTernan doubles down on the Israel talk and tosses in some blame for the gays, too:

It is like the hurricane is a huge bucket of vomit in America’s face during the election. What a sign from the holy God of Israel that American politics is an abomination to Him. A pro-homosexual Mormon along with a pro-abortion/homosexual, Muslim Brotherhood promoter, Hard Left Fascist are running for president. And there is no cry of repentance from God’s people! I see this storm as a warning from the LORD to call His church to repentance, This might be the last call from the Holy God of Israel.

Of course, all this insane talk completely disregards the actual science behind how hurricanes form. Hurricanes have no political agenda, they simply form when the weather conditions are right.

What may, indeed, be contributing to the formation of such a massive storm is not something God made, but humankind made: climate change. Of course, one monster storm doesn’t prove climate change, but an NPR report notes that the temperature of the oceans are warmer, which contributes to the strength of storms like Sandy.

“Overloading the atmosphere with carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels is heating the planet, shrinking the Arctic ice cap, melting glaciers and raising sea levels,” Michael Mann, a leading climate scientist, has written. “It is leading to more widespread drought, more frequent heat waves and more powerful hurricanes.”

If that trend continues, as the L.A. Times notes, Sandy may be just the first of many “Frankenstorms” around the world.

It’s unclear what role, if any, climate change plays in boosting the temperature of the mid-Atlantic waters. But its possible effect on Hurricane Sandy, [Jeff Masters, cofounder of the website Weather Underground] said, signals what might await the Northeast over the coming years as ocean temperatures rise and hurricane season gets longer.

Now, that’s a prophecy we can actually do something to change.

Candace Chellew-Hodge is the founder/editor of Whosoever: An Online Magazine for GLBT Christians and currently serves as the pastor of Jubilee! Circle in Columbia, S.C. She is also the author of Bulletproof Faith: A Spiritual Survival Guide for Gay and Lesbian Christians (Jossey-Bass, 2008)