God Hates New Orleans and Biloxi?

Posted: Sep 17, 2005 12:00 AM

Hey, lunatic-fringe-self-proclaimed-prophet-of-gloom—can you please stop with the “God struck down New Orleans because of Mardi Gras and Biloxi because of their gambling” blather? 

With that line of reasoning, how would you explain the hurricane that leveled Pensacola last year?  Pensacola is no South Beach, nor does it have a Bourbon Street.  In fact, I don’t think you can find a city in the US that has more churches per capita than Escambia County, and yet they got the blunt end of the pool cue eleven months ago. 

Go figure.

Look, I realize that drunken college girls flashing their chests for beads and grannies blowing their social security check playing the slots like a monkey on crack doesn’t fall under the things that God likes, but if I were you . . . I’d be really slow to dole out the, “this is why that happened” diktat. 

And why should one harness a condemnatory tongue? 

Well, first of all, even the best of us as individuals and greatest of cities do creepy stuff that warrants (if God punishes everyone with natural disasters) either an earthquake, a tidal wave, possibly a meteor shower, multiple lightening strikes, a locust plague, a drought, rivers of blood or another JLo movie. 

And for those people and cities that do not do such overtly despicable things as the rest of us who live in the big metro areas, don’t get too proud of your supposed level of sanctity. 

“Why not?” you ask?

Because that would be a deadly sin, which would warrant an earthquake, a tidal wave, possibly a meteor shower, multiple lightening strikes, a locust plague, a drought, rivers of blood or another JLo movie.

You and I both know that, if the truth be told, even the best of us do things which, if God were to hold us under the light and give us what we deserved for the way we’ve believed and behaved, would necessitate His scraping all of us off His shoe.  At least that’s my opinion.

Therefore, I’m laying low in placing blame and casting stones at those who fell in harm’s way during this cataclysmic disaster, and that for four main reasons:

1. I’m selfish, and I’d like God to be gracious to me.

2. I live in Miami, so you gotta know I’m saying nada.  When you live in a house that’s fifty yards from saltwater in a city that is as wild as it is beautiful and in a state that’s sandwiched between two massively hot bodies of water just dangling out there defying nature year after year, you learn to be very merciful and humble when it comes to cities getting slam-dunked. 

3. Jesus used His best flambé technique with those who assumed bad things happened to people because they were worse than others (Lk. 13.1-5) .

4. And, the last time I checked the scripture, it was the self-righteous, religious rock-tossers that ticked off Christ the most (Mat. 23. 23-33).

So, why did New Orleans and Biloxi get socked?  I’m not going to jump out there and speak for God (principally, because He hasn’t spoken to me since I went to that Celion Dion concert in Vegas four years ago), but here’s my best guess:  if you build a big city below sea level in the middle of hurricane highway then the chances are you’re eventually going to take a hit.  It doesn’t mean God hates you.  It just means there is a cost to living on the coast.  Now, if New Orleans, Biloxi or Miami gets hit six more times between September and October and continues to get hit several times each year over the next eight summers, then I would say God’s probably annoyed with them. 

So, Elijah-wannabe—why don’t you lay down your sackcloth and your rapture chart?  Now, pick up your checkbook and write a hefty check for disaster relief.  Next, if you actually have a job, take a week off from work and go help clean up the mess.  Imagine that . . . joining the hundreds of thousands of Christians doing the dirty work of ministry instead of just sitting back and bashing the victims and the places in which they live.  I’ll be down there in a few days, so maybe we can meet up, have a beer or Kool-Aid or whatever you drink.  And lastly, whether you decide to go or not, please do us all a favor and just shut up with the Sodom rhetoric and simply pray that we all take stock of how short our lives are and that somehow, through this disaster, our nation will get closer to God and to each other than we ever have before. 

Can I get an “Amen”?

*Logon to www.ClashRadio.com and get a copy of Giles’ latest teaching DVD, Ruling in Babylon, filmed before a very live audience in Cape Town, South Africa.