What was the message in those tornadoes?
by: John Tyrrell
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A large number of tornadoes swept across the US Southeast on 21-22 January damaging and destroying thousands of homes and buildings, along with killing over 20 people. Forty were reported in Georgia alone, representing twice the state's annual average for such storms. It is now considered the second worst tornado outbreak in US history.
Surprisingly, considering how bad the storms were, I did not see one report* of any preacher claiming the tornadoes were a message from god denouncing abortion, or denouncing gay rights, or denouncing uppity women - or any of those pet peeves of fundamentalists.
I suspect that none of the usual suspects made such a claim because a new President committed to pandering to the religious right had just been inaugurated. After all, it would be rather discourteous of the Christian rights god to criticize Trump before he had much chance to fulfill his promises.
So what was god's message this time.
I just saw one such suggestion of a message from god. We go to William Carey University, a private Christian University in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where a tornado ripped through the campus, pulling trees from the ground, and damaging many buildings. "No building was left untouched. [M]any appear to be total losses."
And afterwards it was reported by CNN that those cleaning up found "An open Bible on the pulpit of the campus church, undisturbed by the surrounding debris."
And on the same campus, as reported by CBN (A Christian network associated with the 700 Club), a statue of Jesus was also left standing amidst the damage.
Right then! God sent those tornadoes to show that he could save exactly one of the billion or so bibles currently in print, and save precisely one of the perhaps millions of statues of Jesus. Are we not impressed with that god's power?
It should be noted that books are remarkably sturdy and difficult to destroy. And solid concrete statues** can stand up to high winds much better than a building with multiple entry points for the storms force to wreak havoc.
Now suppose when the tornado hit the William Carey University campus, its entire force had been somehow attracted and concentrated into that statue - or attracted and concentrated into that bible. And suppose the statue (or bible) was utterly destroyed, turned to dust and no other storm damage occurred to the campus.
In that case, while I personally would file the event under "unexplained", I would not criticize or mock those Christians who chose to regard it as a miracle or a message from god that a Christian university is worth protecting.
* I won't say there were not any at all. But none made it through the churn of the internet to reach my eyes. And that's highly unusual when a significant natural disaster occurs.
** Similarly, it was regarded as a miracle four years ago when Typhoon Hayan hit the Philippines, and a statue of Jesus survived "casting a protective gaze over the coastal town of Tanauan". Protective gaze, my ass! Pictures show the statue standing amidst the wreckage.
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