Blaming God

When Katrina slammed into New Orleans, Pat Robertson and fellow evangelists suggested that God was punishing that sinful metropolis; no doubt, they expressed similar views following earthquakes in China, Iran and that enclave of liberalism, California. And now, the Governor of Florida has proclaimed that his State's recent good fortune (i.e. no destructive hurricanes) can be attributed to the power of prayer.

The views expressed by these religious zealots evoke the image of a vengeful and vindictive God who, if offended and not appeased by ritual, unleashes natural disaster on human populations. Directed at an audience of uneducated and gullible Americans, their words are designed to appease the faithful while attracting new viewers and voters.

Though many Americans may accept these proclamations as nothing more than humorous sideshows in the great drama of modern culture, some of us are concerned that they represent a dangerous undercurrent in human society. Centuries after the birth of science, large segments of our planet's population remain immersed in mysticism and their collective voice poses a significant threat to the cultural and scientific progress of mankind.