Without fail, whenever a major national disaster occurs, one or more hyper-fundie pastors warn us that it was brought because we allowed the devil to trick us into listening to him and falling into sin. For instance, when Hurricane Katrina barreled into New Orleans, most fundies warned that God was punishing the Big Easy for its decadent lifestyle.
So when a wave of torrential flooding turned much of the Midwest into a lake, it was inevitable this crazy talk would start up again. Lo and behold, one of the religious right’s rising stars harrumphed that any talk this was brought on by climate change is a lie from the devil himself.
On Tuesday’s edition of “The Jim Bakker Show,” Bakker took time from hawking his overpriced survival food and worshiping Donald Trump to chat with two of his longtime friends, Don and Mary Colbert. Don is one of the more prominent doctors in the evangelical and charismatic world, promoting a mixture of faith and health. His wife, Mary, is a heavyweight in her own right; she’s a celebrated author and ordained minister.
But what Mary had to offer on Friday was pure hokum. She claimed that those who warn about climate change are doing the devil’s work for him. No, this isn’t snark–People for the American Way’s Right Wing Watch got a clip.
Colbert claimed that the devil is trying to trick us about climate change because he “knows what is in the word of God.” She claimed that Satan knows it is “prophetically written” that in the last days, we’ll see “earthquakes, tornadoes, storms” and other wild weather.
With her husband nodding along, Colbert said that any Christian ought to know these are the “birth pangs of the return of Jesus Christ.” But to hear her talk, the devil doesn’t want us to know that. She claimed that the devil is trying to make us think that this is being caused by climate change. Supposedly, the devil is trying to trick people into thinking we can’t do anything about it when there is something we can do–and quickly.
Now the enemy is trying to change that narrative for the mindset of the people that this has to do with climate change, so that they can believe it’s something outside of their control that’s happening, that man can’t do something to control it–when in fact, the thing man needs to do is repent!
Colbert argued that sin is making these “birth pangs” a lot harsher, but repentance can make things a lot easier to bear. She claimed this wild weather has nothing to do with climate change and everything to do with “the sin nature that’s increasing in the earth.”
You’ll have to pardon us for being skeptical, Mary. After all, if you look at a map, the areas that have been inundated for much of this past spring are in the heartland of Donald Trump country. Arkansas, for instance, has turned an almost unrecognizable shade of red–so red, in fact, that it’s hard to believe this was Bill Clinton’s old stomping grounds. Hmmm, wouldn’t you think that if all of this was being caused by “birth pangs” made harsher by sin, navy-blue areas would be getting the brunt of the flooding?
But then again, this claptrap is the logical end of the claim that wild weather is a warning from God. Colbert must have been taking her cue from Rick Joyner, who warned earlier this year that the wave of hurricanes that have churned through the Atlantic and the Gulf in recent years are the product of sin.
Apparently Joyner, and presumably Colbert, forget that the damage from two of the worst hurricanes to hit our shores was magnified by factors that were in play long before abortion and marriage equality were even in the conversation. For instance, damming up the Missouri River in the 1930s ultimately caused the erosion of the barrier islands that long protected New Orleans from flooding–and left it a sitting duck for Katrina. More recently, Hurricane Harvey turned Houston into a lake in part because the prairies and wetlands that long protected the city from flooding had been plowed over–forcing all that rainfall to take the path of least resistance.
All things considered, if anyone is trying to play a trick on us, it’s Colbert and her compatriots. But then again, such little things as facts have never gotten in the way of a fundie scare campaign.
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