You don't have to go to Fox News to hear incredibly stupid, utterly self-righteous, blasphemous, arrogant things. Just tune into "Scarborough Country" on MSNBC. 24 hour news channels are desperate for content. Thus Joe Scarborough, a former congressman with ex-football star good looks and a pleasant tv personality. I've caught his program on more than one occasion, and I'm convinced that he's on Karl Rove's e-mail distribution list, since he seems to parrot right-wing talking points with the same jargon as the rest of them. I've also seen his round-table discussions with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach (author of Kosher Sex) and Jennifer Giroux (advocate of The Passion of the Christ). Last night's program, and I tuned in late, saw Rabbi Shmuley lambaste Giroux for blasphemy and arrogance for apparently suggesting that the Indian Ocean tsunami was a judgment from God to exact penalty for sin.
As if this wasn't enough of an incredibly superstitious and pagan point of view (Rabbi Shmuley was correct to call it blasphemous), Joe Scarborough himself questioned whether the tsunami wasn't yet another sign that the end times were upon us.
I'm not a theologian, and I'm a lapsed Lutheran, but my concept of God is not this. Didn't the Greeks and Romans attribute natural disasters to the whims of fickle gods? Shakespeare has Lear declare: "As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods--they kill us for their sport." To me it smacks of rank superstition, of self-righteous pharaseeism that equates financial comfort and a lack of personal suffering with God's love. "God must love me because I have a new BMW, I have a roof over my head, I have enough to eat. God loves me more than those Californians and Floridians whom he smites with hurricanes and earthquakes. God must love me more because I sin less."
That is presumptive, arrogant and sinful, in my opinion. The other question that Scarborough kept asking was "if God is omnipotent, why does he allow suffering in the world?" This is a question that has stupefied mankind for all of time. The answer can be found in 1 Kings, 19:
11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake:
12 And after the earthquake a fire; butthe LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
God cares about spirituality and souls. He is not preoccupied with physics, geology or the stresses and forces at work upon the fabric of reality. The LORD was not in the Earthquake, nor was He in the Wave. He was in the hearts and minds of souls who perished and those who survived.
Here endeth the sermon for today.