The following was written last year, after a tornado ripped through a nearby area. I thought it would be enjoyed by my fellows in faithlessness.
Once more, that loving Christian god has shown his capricious sense of irony by hurling killer tornadoes at still another Florida trailer park. (Oops.. make that “mobile home community”…wouldn’t want to be p.i. in a godicle). The sick humor here is that this most recent assault was on a retirement community, filled with people who had worked their blue collars off for years, scrimping and saving all their lives in order to spend their final days in the Florida sunshine. Needless to say, they were also people of faith, believers in the goodness and protection of the god to whom they dutifully gave ten percent of their sweat-earned money every week.
One of the first things they did after establishing their community was erect a church in which to communicate with and sing songs to Good Old Dad, lavishing more life savings on pastors, décor, statues, stained glass and all the other accouterments so necessary to the display of humble worship. They built it solidly and strong enough to withstand 160 mph hurricane winds, with much celebratory prayer at its dedication to the prospective tenant. Unfortunately, neither structural soundness nor supplications were sufficient to prevent disaster. The entire community, including the church, was razed to the ground by a random storm last week.
Naturally, this event was the lead story on the local news channels, most of which repeatedly featured one particular sound bite, presumably to emphasize the poignancy of the situation. It shows a woman standing in the midst of the rubble, near her own flattened residence, tenderly cradling a plaster baby Jesus she had found among the church wreckage. Smiling bravely through her tears, she worshipfully tells the camera, “Oh, this gives me so much hope!”
Now, I guess most people would react to this with an empathetic “awww” or perhaps even a lump in the throat. I am decidedly not most people. It did bring tears to my eyes, but that’s because I was laughing so hard. There is so much hilariously ludicrous information in this scenario, so much blind self-deception, each point struck me funnier than the last.
To wit: A sizable group of retired men and women, having spent the better part of their lives praying to and worshiping an imaginary protector, expecting him to provide all things ~ as long as they ask often and earnestly and cough up their weekly tithe ~ have their lives ruined (and in some cases taken) by what is commonly referred to as an “act” of said protector. Not only did this generous benefactor destroy their homes and kill their loved ones, he also obliterated his own house in the process.
Does this not stir up even a little doubt in the minds of the faithful? Does this kind of wanton destruction not raise questions as to the motives of Big Daddy? Or are they perhaps blaming themselves for their own ill fortune? (“Dang! I knew that cheap wine would piss him off!”)
Astonishingly, rather than to raise reasonable doubt, this kind of punishment only serves to strengthen their belief! The worse he hurts them, they more they adore him. The meaner he gets, the more they praise his “love”. And here’s the punch line: a plaster doll that has been mass-produced by child slaves at a Jesus factory in Communist China repeatedly appears on television as a symbol of Christian hope. Nothing ironic about that!
Honestly, I’m not laughing at their hardship…just at their sycophantic glorification of the phantom hand that smites them.