As the biblically named Tropical Storm Isaac barrels back over open waters in the Gulf of Mexico (and is fully expected to become a hurricane prior to its inevitable U.S. landfall), the organizers of the Republican National Convention have chosen to delay the opening ceremonies until Tuesday rather than Monday of this coming week. Florida’s governor has declared a state of emergency as weather watchers track a variety of computer models, all of which show that, at the very least, Tampa is due for substantial rain and possible heavy flooding.
Most surprising, however, is that no one from the religious right is claiming that the wrath of God is being visited upon the convention because America is full of sinners.
“It is unusual,” one unnamed spokesman said. “Most of the time when we have a disaster like this, it’s because of the homosexuals, or abortionists, or Hollywood or something like that. But apparently there are thousands of righteous people coming to the convention in Tampa and nobody thinks God could possibly be that mean.”
It’s true that most of our recent disasters have been God’s punishment for such behavior—at least according to the farthest fringes of the right wing. The earthquakes and tsunami in Japan, for example, were, according to Glenn Beck, a verdict on our behavior here in America, apparently the result of having ignored at least a few of the Ten Commandments. “Hey, you know that stuff we’re doing?” Beck asked his listeners. “Not really working out real well.” He then went on to add that “What God does is God's business. But I'll tell you this...there's a message being sent.” Such is the punishment for going to the mall on Sundays or coveting your neighbor’s Lexus.
Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson have offered similar screeds in the past, Falwell claiming that “AIDS is the wrath of a just God against homosexuals,” and Robertson saying hurricane Katrina and her resultant floods were “a sign that God is tired of seeing his creation mocked by the Mardi Gras and its perverted display of debauchery and exposed breasts.” Milwaukee's Matt Trewhella of Missionaries to the Preborn said that the 2007 California wildfires were a response to then-Governor Schwarzenegger’s having signed into law the California Student Civil Rights Act, which Trewhella claimed “clearly redefines (perverts) what sexuality is, as well as promotes the legitimacy of homosexuality upon children starting from kindergarten on up."
But most of the ultra-religious right likely don’t believe that God would ever visit such judgment on them. “I really wasn’t worried about the storm,” said an unnamed woman from Manhattan Kansas, who had been planning to head down to Tampa for the festivities but is now stranded because of a cancelled flight. “I know God wouldn’t hurt us. We were actually hoping to do something special during the storm, like maybe have a Noah’s Ark display or something, you know, with people and dinosaurs and stuff.”
Still, even with the almost heavenly surety of safety, the Convention organizers are taking no chances. “We’re going to convene on Monday for, like, a minute,” said one, “and then we’re going to all hunker down until Tuesday when most of the storm has gone on by. I know that God doesn’t want to hurt us, but there’s going to be a bunch of Occupy Wall Street types over at Christine O’Donnell’s TroubleMaker thing across the way, and He might be after them.”
The Republican National Convention will now run from Tuesday through Thursday of this week in Tampa Florida.