To an agnostic such as myself seeing God’s will in a the wanderings of a hurricane just seems absurd. Yet something in human nature cannot help but find purpose in the destruction or lack thereof.
To the zealots at RepentAmerica, Katrina was God smiting New Orleans for a gay festival in the French Quarter scheduled for Labor Day weekend. A press release from these cruel fanatics declares:
"…this act of God destroyed a wicked city," stated Repent America director Michael Marcavage. "From ‘Girls Gone Wild’ to ‘Southern Decadence,’ New Orleans was a city that had its doors wide open to the public celebration of sin. From the devastation may a city full of righteousness emerge."
On the other side of the coin, a friend of mine points out that although most of New Orleans remains under water, the notorious French Quarter–home to drinkers, strippers, and gays–has survived the worst storm ever to hit the city just fine, thank you.
"Yes!" he exulted, with a fist-pump. "Vice triumphs again!"
But as Christ himself pointed out, "God sendeth rain on the just and the unjust alike," and as underrated theologian John Muir wrote in his elegant "A Thousand-Mile Walk," after recovering from a near-fatal fever in Florida:
All the inhabitants of this region, whether black or white, are liable to be prostrated by the ever-present fever and ague, to say nothing of the plagues of cholera and yellow fever that come and go suddenly like storms, prostrating the population and cutting gaps in it like hurricanes in the woods.
The world, we are told, was made especially for man–a presumption not supported by all the facts. … But if we should ask these profound expositors of God’s intentions, How about those man-eating animals–lions, tigers, alligators–which smack their lips over raw man? Or about those myriads of noxious insects that destroy labor and drink his blood? Doubtless man was intended for food and drink for all these? Oh, no! Not at all! These are unresolvable difficulties connected with Eden’s apple and the Devil. Why does water drown its lord? Why do so many minerals poison him? Why are so many plants and fishes deadly enemies? Why is the lord of creation subjected to the same laws of life as his subjects? Oh, all these things are satanic, or in some way connected with the first garden…
Why should man value himself as more than a small part of the one great unit of creation? And what creature of all that the Lord has taken the pains to make is not essential to the completeness of that unit–the cosmos? The universe would be incomplete without man; but it would also be incomplete without the smallest transmicroscopic creature that dwells beyond our conceitful eyes and knowledge.
Or, no doubt, without the grandeur and horror of a hurricane:
From a public photo of Katrina’s eye at sunset.