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August 30, 2011

Blaming Washington for Acts of God

An earthquake. A hurricane. The East Coast is having one tough month.

Princeton political scientists Chris Achen and Larry Bartels say that voters will blame incumbents for many disasters, including shark attacks. For example, counties that are hit with drought are more likely to vote against the president's party.

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The effect is small—just a few percentage points—but real. Achen and Bartels find that incumbents are more likely to be blamed when the disasters are viewed as social or political disasters.

Even those who do not seriously believe God is sending a message with the week's disasters, the back-to-back disasters were fodder for humor at the expense of politicians.

GOP Presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann said at an event in Florida, “Washington, D.C. You'd think by now they'd get the message. An earthquake, a hurricane, are you listening? The American people have done everything they possibly can, now it's time for an act of God and we're getting it.”

"Obviously she was saying it in jest," campaign spokeswoman Alice Stewart told Talking Points Memo.

With the current run of events, there are some who view the disasters as spiritual disasters, too. Some were quick to suggest divine retribution. As he has in the past, Pat Robertson saw the earthquake as a sign from God. Speaking as part of a weeklong “Sign of the Times” special on the 700 Club, Robertson saw a symbol comparable to the tearing of the Temple curtain following Jesus Christ's crucifixion.

“I don't want to get weird on this, so please take it for what it's worth, but it seems to me the Washington Monument is a symbol of America's power. It has been the symbol of our great nation, we look at that monument and we say this is one nation under God. Now there's a crack in it,” Robertson said. “Is that a sign from the Lord? Is that something that has significance, or is it just the result of an earthquake?”

For many Americans, rare earthquake might be considered part of the dangers of life. A hurricane hitting New Orleans with flooding made worse by poor planning? That is not just a natural disaster; it's a political disaster.

Image: The National Cathedral, which was damaged in the August 23 earthquake.

Comments

Apparently the weather in Syria has been nice and sunny every day. Does this mean that God is happy with Bashar al-Assad's murderous regime?

This kind of article would have made Carl F.H.Henry sick! Let's elevate the discussion!

I'm confused? So are we saying that the natural disasters are the governments fault or are we saying that God is an angry God and punishing us?
I think I would have to agree with the latter. God is an angry and jealous God and He's not going to allow the corrupt, despicable, and sinful shenanigans of this government and society to go on much longer. I suppose you can partly blame the government for completely shutting God out and flipping their nose in His face with Gay marriage and legalized abortion, etc.
This country is going to hell in a hand basket but we all know if we read the Bible that is going to happen. Has everyone completely forgotten to read Daniel and Revelation?

I don't think folks have forgotten to read Daniel or Revelation but there is another passage to consider and that is Luke 13:1-8. Jesus answer the question about some that were killed by Pilate and another group that was killed by a falling tower and if they were especially sinful b/c of how they died. He tells them (and us) "no, but unless you repent, you too will all perish." We're all sinners and we will all face calamity, some natural, some done by evil people, we won't know why. But the next verses are a parable about the patience of God to restore us...for a time. So be joyful that God has perserved us this far so others may be saved but also, worry about your own repentance.

#1 that earthquake was not caused by God or any other diety for that matter! That was caused by men, and so was the seeding of hurricane Irene and its east coast "tour"! Hopefully the younger generation of believers will know the truth! Wake up people ! It is about to be like it was in the days of Noah! Washington is irrelevant! A new sherriff is about to come to town, just wait till 9-11-11, look for the sign in the sky! That will be ur cue to wake up or stay sleeping..Resistance is Future Jas 4:6-10

Separating faith from politics is paramount to accepting the secular norm and allowing that to reign, literally create the rules of the road and your life. This is true even if done so out of hopeless frustration. It is also true that God, in times past, was frustrated with Israel, His nation, and angry enough to be severe with them. And Yes He also judged other nations for their mischief and misconduct. I doubt that that has changed because we now have I phones by which we can glorify Him or feed our pride into deceiving ourselves into believing that we are supreme over our personal lives and in turn with a new age. That God uses such things as weather and other natural disasters is traditional and fundamental. Many now believe that man is causing this weather including the president. This sets the stage for a power a play and so far when man determines a thing, (2006 Hurricane season predictions as prime target) it fails. I suspect that when man fails God laughs.

QUOTE: “weather in Syria has been nice … Does this mean that God is happy with Bashar al-Assad's murderous regime?
RESPONSE: Have you not read that it rains on the just and unjust? Have you not read that God will use the unjust in His good pleasure? Daniel 4:25, “the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes” Be ware that God is not man. Although we may make moral decisions, they are subject to opinion and never are able to see the whole picture which God is not obligated to show us.

Michele Bachmann, Michele Malkin, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, the KKK, Glenn Beck, Timothy McVeight, Jim Crows, the Roman Pope, Roman Catholics, Mormons, "christian" conservatives, radicals, self justifiers "righties", holier than thou pentecostals etc. etc. and etc.

To me, they all look the same, dress the same, walk the same, talk the same, sound the same; Must be the same!

An earthquake or hurricane are not acts of God. They are acts of nature - a fallen, broken nature. All creation groans, waiting for redemption. To implicate God in natural disasters is tantamount to taking God's name in vain.

"An earthquake or hurricane are not acts of God. They are acts of nature - a fallen, broken nature. All creation groans, waiting for redemption. To implicate God in natural disasters is tantamount to taking God's name in vain." Very good point made there. The danger of saying that anything is an act of God, or that by implication all suffering is from God, is that we forget that the Creation is fallen and corrupted. We all add to this when we sin, and when we choose to live in sin. Tht Tower of Siloam was mentioned to say that sometimes people, not particularly bad people, suffer horribly at times. The danger of saying or even thinking that God punishes people by sending disasters or hurricanes willy-nilly doesn't take into account that people all over the world suffer from wars, famines, poverty, corruption and injustice. Is a child less than one year old who dies from famine in the Horn of Africa culpable of great sin, or what? The world is far too complex for simple pat answers. Instead of wagging fingers at everyone else, we need to look at the person in the mirror first...

These natural disasters are NOT "signs from God", as many suppose. The passage you're refering to, I suspect Jesus wasn't pointing fingers, but rather saying simply"Bad Things Happen to Good People". For the record, earthquakes are caused by seismic activity below the Earth's Crust, and the resultant shift in the tectonic plates. The rest are cause by Global Warming/Climate Change, exacerbated by our extravegant lifestyles. It is a wake up call to look after creation for future generations. As for a punishing God, that to me "makes a mockery of the God of Love". As Tim Childs just said"instead of wagging fingers, we need to look at the person in the mirror, first".