Ten years ago today, the deadliest and most destructive natural disaster struck the Gulf coast. Here’s my response to the swirling questions Hurricane Katrina unleashed.
August 30, 2005
First and foremost, my thoughts and prayers are with the people of the Gulf Coast. Hurricane Katrina rained down destruction of biblical proportions on New Orleans. But is this a direct act of God upon a city with a reputation as being, shall we say, less than godly?
Wednesday WorldNetDaily.com’s headline announced “Hurricane hits just before homosexual event; Christian activist: Act of God prevented ‘Southern Decadence’.” The article went on to report:
Hurricane Katrina walloped New Orleans just two days before the annual homosexual “Southern Decadence” festival was to begin in the town, an act being characterized by some as God’s work. Southern Decadence has a history of “filling the French Quarters section of the city with drunken homosexuals engaging in sex acts in the public streets and bars,” says a statement from the Philadelphia Christian organization Repent America.
Thursday, WorldTribune.com’s headline quoted a Kuwaiti government official as claiming “The terrorist Katrina is a soldier of Allah.” Muhammad Yousef Al-Mlaifi, director of the Kuwaiti Ministry of Endowments, reportedly said:
I opened the Koran and began to read in Surat Al-R’ad [‘The Thunder’ chapter], and stopped at these words [of Allah]: “The disaster will keep striking the unbelievers for what they have done. . . .”
I, however, tend to believe the blame for this tragedy lies not with God, but with French explorer Rene-Robert Cavelier for founding a city below sea level surrounded by a lake, river, and ocean. What was he thinking?!
Rabbi Daniel Lapin wrote, following December’s tsunami, that when God commanded Adam and Eve to “subdue the earth” He was giving humans two commands:
Our first distinctive cultural imperative is to render ourselves less vulnerable to nature. We believed we were following Divine will when we developed medicine and medical technology to dominate disease. We found insecticides to protect our food supply, and we built dams to control rivers. We knew we were pleasing God by making ourselves safer and more secure, and this knowledge lent added urgency and meaning to our efforts. Not by coincidence did the overwhelming majority of these scientific and technical developments take place in the West.
Civilization`s second distinctive cultural imperative is the importance of preserving human life. This too derives directly from our biblical roots and distinguishes us from the peculiar fatalism toward death found in so many other cultures.
God runs this world with as little supernatural interference as possible. Earthquakes, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, and, yes, tsunamis happen. It is called nature, which is not always benign. Fortunately, God also gave us intelligence and commanded us to make ourselves less vulnerable to nature. He also implanted in us a culture in which each and every life is really important. Many of those fatalities are attributable to misguided cultures.
“Misguided” certainly describes New Orleans original city engineers!
We live in a fallen world of natural disasters, disease, deadly animals— and humans— bent on evil. Unfortunately, Adam and Eve were the last people to live in a perfect world. But God continues to love his creations and creation and desires us to reach out to those affected by disaster.
Copyright © 2005 James N. Watkins
If this post was helpful, please share it on your social networks. Thanks!