Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Rev. Shanks and God's bad targeting

Rev. Bill Shanks, pastor of New Covenant Fellowship of New Orleans, also sees God's mercy in the aftermath of Katrina -- but in a different way. Shanks says the hurricane has wiped out much of the rampant sin common to the city.

The pastor explains that for years he has warned people that unless Christians in New Orleans took a strong stand against such things as local abortion clinics, the yearly Mardi Gras celebrations, and the annual event known as "Southern Decadence" -- an annual six-day "gay pride" event scheduled to be hosted by the city this week -- God's judgment would be felt.

“New Orleans now is abortion free. New Orleans now is Mardi Gras free. New Orleans now is free of Southern Decadence and the sodomites, the witchcraft workers, false religion -- it's free of all of those things now," Shanks says. "God simply, I believe, in His mercy purged all of that stuff out of there -- and now we're going to start over again."
(from this article in the Agape Press)
Of course, Rev. Shanks, New Orleans is free of just about everything - including almost all of the Christians, who seemed to get washed away just as often as the sinners in this supposedly-holy deluge.

My favorite response to this particular proclamation was over the weekend, from the folks on Chicago Public Radio's Wait, Wait - Don't Tell Me!, the NPR weekly news-quiz program. They noted that while Rev. Shanks is proclaiming that Katrina is God's vengeance for all the sinfulness of New Orleans, that somehow God's devastating blow somehow didn't hit the French Quarter as bad as some of the rest of the city, because the FQ sits on slightly higher ground than the rest of New Orleans.

So the suggestion was that if God was really behind all this, He needed to tighten up the sights on His targeting computer - because the most sinful areas were the ones that got hit the least. (Or at least throw in an earthquake to level it all before flooding it...)

If my choice is to be with the "sinners and sodomites" or Rev. Shanks and his brand of godless, loveless Christianity, I'll take the S&S crowd.

On a related issue, check out Rick Luoni's post about Led Zepplin, Jesus and Love. Once again, Rick's reading my mail in a big, big way.


Deanne said...

oh, I was just WAITING for comments like these! I was sure that the people who claimed that the earthquakes in San Francisco were God's judgement for all those SINFUL people wouldn't be quiet about the hurricane hitting the Big Easy. One of my many questions for this Shanks guy is: What, exactly, were the people in Mississippi guilty of? If I remember correctly, they've suffered from the hurricane just a bit, too.

Herb said...

Steve, It seems to me that the sins we are suffering from are Sins of omission. Too many people omitted preparations for a disaster almost certain to come - someday. The problem is that we prepare "one day at a time" except that that day is not today but tomorrow. For example, we say "Ill get ready, quit, ...tomorrow. Unfortunately, when we omit doing the next right thing, we sometimes get caught.

Tom Scharbach said...

Agape Press withdrew the article, I understand, noting that the sentiments might not be appropriate right now ...

But Reverend Shanks has a point -- once New Orleans gets the corpses out of the streets, the chemical-laden sludge remediated, and the thousands of destroyed houses torn down, the city will be ripe for redevelopment as a JesusLand theme park.

For what it is worth, I note with only a minimum of irony, Southern Decadence went forward with 20 or so defiant gays along a relatively dry block of Canal Street over the weekend, and the French Quarter remains intact.

So much for purges.