March 6, 2012

When Your Neighbor's House is Destroyed, Remind Them Your God Likes You Best

Storm cloudsYou won't find the line about their god working in mysterious ways in the Christian bible, but it seems to be a favorite of many Christians. Whenever they are confronted with something they cannot explain - usually an inconsistency between their "holy" book or some aspect of their faith and reality, we hear about how their god works in mysterious ways. We also hear about how whatever happens - no matter how bad it may seem to us - is part of their god's plan.

The folks at Henryville Community Church (Indiana) recently found themselves in an interesting situation. Less than a week after praying for their god to "use us in some way," many congregants lost their homes as storms ripped through their town. Now their pastor is claiming, "We asked God to use us, and he did." He's referring to the good work the church has been doing to help the community (e.g., distributing food, water, and other necessary supplies).

I'm glad that the church can help. I really am. It is great to see a church giving something back to the community, a community in which it has paid no taxes and occupied land that could have been used by businesses that would have paid taxes. But to suggest that their god destroyed people's homes in order to put the congregation to use? That seems like a bit much.

Maybe the congregation should have been praying for the safety of their town rather than for the opportunity to be used by their god. Maybe that would have prevented the storms. And maybe, it wouldn't have mattered a bit.

I'll tell you one thing. If I lived in Henryville and believed in the Christian god, it would seriously piss me off to hear the youth pastor of Henryville Community Church say, "The hand of God was on us. We didn't get any damage." They are basically saying their god likes them better than all those people who lost their homes. I would find that rude, insensitive, and incredible condescending. Now that I think about it, I don't have to be believe in any gods or live in Henryville to feel that way.

Here's what the pastor of Henryville Community Church had to say during his sermon:
We have so much to be grateful for. Why did this happen? I don't care. It did, and we have an opportunity to make a difference.
Hey jackass, this isn't about you or your ridiculous faith! This is about the people in your community who lost everything. Most of them probably aren't feeling very grateful right now. How about you shut the hell up about your god and just help?

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