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Why Does God Hate the East Coast So Much?

Over the weekend, Presidential-hopeful Michele Bachmann joked that the recent string of natural disasters to hit the East Coast are clearly the sign that God is displeased with current levels of government spending.

It seems pretty obvious that her “joke” was a calculated rhetorical ploy to connect with her audience that day, so I think speculation about whether or not she actually “believes” that these disasters were somehow ordained by God are unnecessary. However, joking aside, there are many others–like the now predictable Mr. Robertson–who sincerely believe that this or that natural disaster are not only initiated by God, but are moreover intended to bring about some desired end. That is, the devastation is not just punitive; it’s also supposed to bring about a change in behavior.

But what change? The problem, of course, is how one is supposed to interpret a divinely ordained natural disaster. Earthquakes, tornadoes, and hurricanes are hardly *targeted* phenomenon. So if the presumed instigator of God’s holy wrath is particular sins by particular people (you know, the usual: homosexuality, supporting comprehensive health care reform, or voting for Obama), how does one discern against whom (or what) the natural disaster is directed when everyone in the path of the More >