Ugandan Landslide a Message from God?

If we listen to some religious leaders, natural disasters don’t just happen—there is a supernatural reason for them. In short, God is angry, and natural disasters are God’s way of helping us to see the light and repent, repent, repent, before it’s too late. (Well, for those who survived the hurricane, or flood, or earthquake, anyway. For those who didn’t, it’s presumably, already too late.)

Hurricanes like Katrina were blamed on gays and feminists by the likes of Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. Robertson again laid blame squarely at the feet of Haitians who made a “deal with the devil” to win their independence from colonialism for the recent earthquake there. Even Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan couldn’t help himself, and got into the fray over the earthquake in Chile calling it a “warning” during a speech in Chicago:

“It’s not an accident that a great earthquake took place in Chile,” Farrakhan, 76, said an hour into his three-hour address. “It was a precipitate of what I have to tell you today of what’s coming to America. You will not escape.” “I will speak to the kings and rulers of the world. I will speak to the pope and the religious leaders because you have to know that your time has come,” he said. “I desire to guide you and warn you of things that are coming that you must try to prepare yourselves for because we are absolutely living in the change of worlds.”

Now, comes word of devastating landslides in the coffee growing areas of Uganda:

Rivers of mud swamped houses, stores and at least one school after heavy rains in this Central African country, killing at least 70 people with some 250 still missing, officials and a survivor said Tuesday.

Uganda is home to a growing evangelical Christian population. That influence has played a role in the bill before the country’s lawmakers that would require imprisonment or even execution for anyone who is gay or lesbian, or who fails to report gay or lesbian people to the police.

Uganda is an overwhelmingly Christian country with nearly half the population identifying as Catholic, and nearly the other half identifying as Protestant. So, it can’t be said that the devastating landslide in Bududa was caused by a failure to revere God. Could it be then, that this landslide has come as God’s wrath against a bill that singles out some of God’s children for special punishment simply for their existence? Could it be that God is telling Uganda that they are sinning against God by even considering a law that so contradicts the central Christian tenets of grace and mercy?

Of course not. It’s just as ridiculous to posit that perhaps the landslide occurred because they haven’t passed that “odious” legislation fast enough. Some might say that God is sending a landslide to get Ugandan leaders to move faster to kill off their gay and lesbian citizens.

Both reasons are ludicrous. What caused the landslide was no mystery:

Rains that began Monday evening continued through the night, triggering landslides in the Bududa region, 170 miles east of Kampala.

Couple that bit of meteorological fact with the geological fact that the area is prone to landslides and you get the obvious—frequent landslides, especially after heavy rain. But, science isn’t quite as fun as supernatural speculation on why or why not we humans may or may not have pissed God off. No one grabs headlines if they simply state that a place where natural disasters routinely happen has encountered one once again. No, it’s much more exciting to bring God into the picture—and flog ourselves for some slight against the Deity.

When will religious leaders ditch this idea of God “sending” disasters to people? When will followers of these religious people buy a clue and understand that natural disasters are a result of random weather patterns, and geography? God is not in the whirlwind, after all—but in the still, small voice—and that voice is always one of reason.