Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fire and Brimstone in California

Well, fire at least. In the wake of wildfires striking California, Christian evangelist James Hartline offered his explanation for the disaster to anyone who would listen. God was smiting California because of gay activism in the wake of Proposition 8's passage.

This brings up a number of questions. First of all, if homosexuality is really the biggest issue in God's mind, and God and Jesus are the same, why is it that Jesus said absolutely nothing about gays during his ministry? Doesn't the complete lack of any comment suggest that maybe Jesus just didn't care about this issue that much? He did instruct his followers to "keep the commandments," which likely refers to the Jewish laws set forth in Leviticus that refer to homosexuality as "abomination" - but the same term is also applied to the eating of shellfish. A lot of Christians eat shrimp and their churches are silent on that issue.

Second of all, Proposition 8 was a ban on gay marriage. It passed. So shouldn't God be happy if he indeed considers gays to be the root of all evil? Couldn't he find something more important to be angry over besides a bunch of protests that aren't going to change the law? I mean, it seems like the smart thing for God to do if he supported the ban would be to shower California with all sorts of good fortune after it passed. In fact, couldn't you argue that God is angry over the passage of the ban because he's in favor of committed relationships, both gay and straight, or because he's opposed to writing discrimination into the state's constitution?

Finally, if Hartline indeed is a prophet of God as he claims, we can be absolutely certain of one key detail: this guy is God. God taking on the form of a homeless person is a pretty shrewd move, especially for highlighting poverty and other social justice issues that Jesus clearly cared about so much more than gays during his lifetime.

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