Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Bill Shanks and the Cosmic Finger of Death

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the fanatics were out in full force. A Louisiana pastor named Bill Shanks said the devastation in New Orleans was God’s way of wiping out the rampant sin in the city, including but not limited to abortion, Mardi Gras, voodoo, and a six-day gay pride event called Southern Decadence. The Columbia Christians for Life claimed that a satellite photo of Katrina resembled a six-week-old fetus, and drew the logical conclusion that God was wreaking vengeance on New Orleans’ abortion clinics. And, of course, numerous folks have thanked God for his mercy in sparing them while their neighbors down the road got whacked.

Come to think of it, there’s one thing all these people have in common. They’re alive.

The people who lost their lives in the hurricane and the subsequent flooding of New Orleans had no response. Were they in a position to comment, I suspect they might say “But I’ve never had an abortion,” “But I don’t practice voodoo,” or “But I’ve never attended a six-day gay pride event.”

I doubt if that’s even crossed Bill Shanks’ little mind. To Bill and his self-righteous brethren, if you happen to get caught in God’s crossfire, then it’s tough luck, amigo. I’m still amazed that the same people who believe in an omniscient, omnipotent god don’t see how incompetent he is when it comes to wiping out these alleged sinners. Where are the lightning bolts? Where is the cosmic finger of death? Where’s the planning?

If Bill Shanks’ god was so upset at Southern Decadence, he could have dropped a meteor on New Orleans in the middle of that event. But no, the supreme all-knowing master of the universe instead decides to kill 10,000 poor people and hope the sinful survivors get the message. This is truly an example of throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what sticks. “I killed who?” said Katrina/God in a rare interview. “Well, shoot, that wasn’t the idea at all.”

The Columbia Christians for Life are every bit as delusional as Shanks, but in a different way. Their god is a surrealist artist who takes the time to shape invisible atmospheric elements so they’ll sort of appear to sort of look sort of like a six-week-old fetus in satellite photos. This is truly a god that needs a hobby, a god that doesn’t see the value in keeping it simple.

Let’s face it. You know why the Joker kept getting caught by Batman? Because he was too damn concerned about decorating his hideout and providing matching sweatshirts for his henchmen. He’d have been a much more successful criminal if he had lost the clown makeup and the pink suit and started committing his crimes on the sly. Same deal with the Columbia Christians’ god. If he’s got something to say, let him say it without fancying it up.

I'm not holding my breath on that one.

And by the way, I saw the satellite photo in question, and I didn’t see a six-week-old fetus. I did, however, see Pac-Man and that little dog from the Pooch CafĂ© comic strip.

Basically, I wish people like Bill Shanks and his ilk would stop seeing every destructive force of nature as divine vengeance. We know what causes hurricanes, and we know they don’t chase down gay people and voodoo practitioners. They do leave people homeless and hungry, though, so if Shanks wants to do some good in the world, maybe he can organize a food and clothing drive. Crazy idea, huh?

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