Does God Hate Florida?

06 October 2004 - 1:30pm

Hurricane Hugo eppoaching US mainland in 1989

After four brutal hurricanes, why aren't Bush evangelicals talking about the Almighty's wrath?

by Mark Morford published 1 October 2004 in the San Francisco Gate

You know it's true.
You know if, say, San Francisco had just been blasted by not two, not three, but fully four lethal trailer-park-eating earthquakes, why, the Right-wing Bible set would be yelping with barely disguised joy.

Of course they would. They'd be jumping up and down and saying I told you so and pointing to Volume 18 of "Left Behind" and claiming that this was, of course, God's wrath upon the sinners and the gays and the heathens and sodomites and the tofu eaters and the Toyota Priuses and the yoga studios and the anal sex and the incense burners and the Zen meditation centers.

Ha ha snicker, they'd say. Serves you right, they'd sneer. Shoulda voted Republican, they'd add. And then they'd go make lime Jell-O and watch Raymond.

But of course, right now it's about 68 crisp n' flawless pre-fall degrees here in God's Fetish Dungeon, all gorgeous and progressive and non-ravaged, whereas along the Gulf Coast they just finished battening down the hatches and sandbagging the one millionth salmon-colored strip mall and anchoring Jeb Bush's ego in a vat of swamp water and evacuating nearly one million stunned and exhausted citizens for the fourth time, as hurricane Jeanne hammered down and shredded the state. Ironic, if it weren't so sad.

Which sort of makes you think, if I were a God-fearing right-wing BushCo fundamentalist and not, say, a neo-pagan Zen atheist Buddhist Taoist Zoroastrian Orgasmican who uses "Passion of the Christ" DVDs as Astroglide coasters, I might offer up the notion that maybe, just maybe Bush's neoconservative God is more than a mite peeved with the Neon Stucco Retirement State. You think?

Maybe He's more than a little perturbed at the current situation, and maybe I'd suggest that some sort of karmic retribution was at hand, some sort of divinely important message was trying to come through loud and clear, and the message was that we'd better not have a repeat of 2000's bogus election, or else.

Is this possible? Shouldn't the fundamentalist evangelicals be all over this angry God-spittin' storm thing like the FCC on Janet Jackson?

Because as God surely knows, BushCo's swiping of the White House quickly led to an unprecedented and incredibly violent mauling of the planet, the rolling back of 30 years of environmental protections and the rejection of global warming as a major life-threatening issue, as the Almighty could only sit there, stunned and appalled as the rest of us, as BushCo turned America into this heartless warmongering wildly disrespected global thug who seems to care about as much for Mother Nature as Dick Cheney cares for butterfly sanctuaries.

Funny, then, how there's been nary a peep about Florida's storm-tossed woes from Bush's born-again Bible set. Nary a mention of how these deadly, brutal storms might be some sort of sign, a cosmic signal that All is Not Well. All we get is poor, homoerotically desperate Jimmy Swaggart saying he'd kill any gay man who looked at him romantically. Which is just so cute, in a violently sickening sort of way. I mean, dream on, Jimmy.

Clearly, it would appear that you can only claim God's wrath is at hand when the people being wrathed upon do not, naturally, vote Republican. After all, as any fundamentalist Republican will tell you, God only smites those places that really deserve it (sorry, Haiti), and of course in America to deserve it means you have to have lots of environmental activism and vegetarian restaurants and recycling programs and gay pride street fairs and you have to regularly do things with silicon sex toys that would make Lynne Cheney scream and cry and then shudder with secret delight.

(Ironically, to most of us, these are the very things that make S.F. blessed and divine and make us God's favoritest vibrating bath toy in the first place. But that's another column.)

So then, the vicious hurricanes can't possibly be God's wrath, because Florida is Jeb Bush Country and everyone knows all Bushes are blessed WASP Mafioso with first-class seats on the glory train to salvation, and therefore the storms can only be explained by that other barely tolerable thing the Bible set really hates trying to comprehend: science.

OK then. So, if I were a scientist, maybe I'd be pointing out how four horrific hurricanes in a row, when combined with the various environmental atrocities slapping the planet at an unprecedented rate along with the melting of the polar ice shelves, might just be some sort of prime indicator, some sort of potent and irrefutable sign that maybe, just maybe, global climate change should be a major concern of any government administration, and not, as BushCo views it, as an obnoxious afterthought to be ignored and openly blocked and concerned about only if it somehow threatens your Lockheed Martin profits.But wait. That can't be right. It can't be science because the storms can't be in any way related to climate change or global warming, because as Bush policy has shown, nature is a merely a huge, exploitable sandbox for the rich and global warming is a big fat liberal myth and the Kyoto Treaty is a pathetic joke despite all those reams of international, world-class scientific evidence to the contrary. So, you know, screw science.

So let's see: Not God's wrath. Not Mother Nature's fury or scientific global-warming memento. Not karmic retribution. Not the planet recoiling in pain. So then, where does that leave us?

Maybe there is no real explanation. Maybe the storms, like quantum physics or Tom DeLay's nasty hairpiece or Muenster cheese, they just are.

Or maybe they're just a precursor, a warm-up, God practicing His scales and tuning His big viola for the upcoming Cataclysm Symphony Opus No. 1, coming all too soon to a tortured landscape near you. Could be, could be.

Or maybe it will only all make sense to the fundamentalist Right when California finally gets smacked by the long-predicted Big One, the major Earth-shattering west-coast quake that will swallow our big liberal state whole and prove the existence of an angry white NASCAR-loving God and set the wacky apocalypse in motion and Jimmy Swaggart will finally get laid and everyone will get a free Hummer just for playing.

Or maybe it's none of those things. Maybe we just need to understand those horrific hurricanes for what they really are: an honest mistake. It's simple, really: God must have the map upside down.

Silly, silly God.


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