Kimberly Winston of RNS (Religion News Service) notes that those godly prophets who previously attributed northern climactic disasters to divine punishment are strangely silent about Harvey. Franklin Graham and others confine themselves to praising the Christian behavior of rescuers – something they ignored in northern storms. She also notes the commentary of Dr. Michael Brown, which I discuss below. Finally, she provides a brief history of similar prophetic statements. One thing she doesn’t mention – when you have divine revelations, meteorology and climate science automatically become irrelevant. Evangelicals don’t trouble themselves about natural explanations of natural phenomena. In fact, they are even deny facts about natural phenomena like global warming when such facts conflict with their faith and financial prospects.
Michael Brown is Cautious
Concerning Harvey, Dr. Michael Brown acknowledges (here), “had we been living in biblical times, we would have recognized a hurricane like this as a sign of divine judgment, repenting of our sins and asking for mercy.” And throughout most of the post-biblical era, Christians blamed Satan and his minions for disasters like famines and plagues and earthquakes. (The minions generally turned out to be Jews.)
But Mr. Brown cautions against such interpretations: “the city of Houston is bearing much of the brunt of Hurricane Harvey. Yet, from a Christian perspective, Houston is one of the few cities that has stood bravely against the rising tide of LGBT activism.” Obviously, God is fixated on LGBT issues and ignores everything else.
But Mr. Brown nonetheless recalls, “it was striking that Hurricane Katrina wiped out the Southern Decadence, gay pride event in New Orleans, a gay pride event worthy of its name. Many Christians felt it was a clearly an act of divine judgment.” While Mr. Brown does not directly endorse their opinion, his readers understand.
This is the kind of demagogic technique Mr. Brown often employs. Looking at the facts, you might feel he is a child molester and a fraud, a minor demon dispatched by God. But you shouldn’t leap to such conclusions.