Response to Those Who Wonder Whether Hurricane is Judgment of God
Michael Brown, on the right, and the Daily Kos on the fringe left have been thinking out loud about the idea that the disaster in Texas is the judgement of God. Thankfully Brown pulls back from that conclusion:
I think these discussions really fall short of a Biblical understanding of God’s ‘judgment’. We think that ‘judgment’ means ‘punishment’, but it does not. Judgment is evaluation. When one goes before a judge in a court of law, one could get punishment or one could get a reward, depending on one’s deeds. When Jesus talks about ‘judgment’ in the Gospels, he uses the Greek word ‘crisis’. A crisis is a trial, not a rush to punishment.
Think of it this way: hurricanes will come. Wars will come. Hard times will come. Those things are part of the world. They are tests. Depending on who we are, we will either pass or fail those tests. Katrina came, and it revealed a corrupt system of levee construction and maintenance. It revealed a media which was so greedy for gain that it grossly overstated the levels of risk so that emergency workers hesitated to go into certain neighborhoods (then that same media turned against FEMA for its hesitation). It revealed a President who seemed out of touch with a crisis in his own country, who had to be goaded into paying attention to by his own staff who insisted that he watch footage of the disaster. All sorts of single issue groups grabbed onto some or another sin for which we were being punished: the warmies thought gaia was angry because of our carbon emissions. The fundies thought the gay pride parade was to blame for the disaster. But if we’re going to see these things as ‘judgments’ of Providence, why not take the obvious view: God judged us for not building a good system of levees. Infrastructure is moral. Treat a levee or bridge building or storm drainage fund as your own personal patronage piggie bank and you are taking human life.
Looked at from this point of view: one could see Harvey as a ‘judgment’ in the sense of a trial. but a trial that the people of Texas seem to be prevailing against. But as I think about it: it’s a trial for us too. What will we do? Will we show the world ‘how much they love one another’? Will we prevail in this trial? We will if we give to, volunteer and pray for the victims.
Jerry Bowyer is a Forbes contributor, contributing editor of AffluentInvestor.com, and Senior Fellow in Business Economics at The Center for Cultural Leadership.
Jerry has compiled an impressive record as a leading thinker in finance and economics. He worked as an auditor and a tax consultant with Arthur Anderson, as Vice President of the Beechwood Company which is the family office associated with Federated Investors, and has consulted in various privatization efforts for Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. He founded the influential economic think tank, the Allegheny Institute, and has lectured extensively at universities, businesses and civic groups.
Jerry has been a member of three investment committees, among which is Benchmark Financial, Pittsburgh’s largest financial services firm. Jerry had been a regular commentator on Fox Business News and Fox News. He was formerly a CNBC Contributor, has guest-hosted “The Kudlow Report”, and has written for CNBC.com, National Review Online, and The Wall Street Journal, as well as many other publications. He is the author of The Bush Boom and more recently The Free Market Capitalist’s Survival Guide, published by HarperCollins. Jerry is the President of Bowyer Research.
Jerry consulted extensively with the Bush White House on matters pertaining to the recent economic crisis. He has been quoted in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes Magazine, The International Herald Tribune and various local newspapers. He has been a contributing editor of National Review Online, The New York Sun and Townhall Magazine. Jerry has hosted daily radio and TV programs and was one of the founding members of WQED’s On-Q Friday Roundtable. He has guest-hosted the Bill Bennett radio program as well as radio programs in Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles.
Jerry is the former host of WorldView, a nationally syndicated Sunday-morning political talk show created on the model of Meet The Press. On WorldView, Jerry interviewed distinguished guests including the Vice President, Treasury Secretary, HUD Secretary, former Secretary of Sate Condoleezza Rice, former Presidential Advisor Carl Rove, former Attorney General Edwin Meese and publisher Steve Forbes.
Jerry has taught social ethics at Ottawa Theological Hall, public policy at Saint Vincent’s College, and guest lectured at Carnegie Mellon’s graduate Heinz School of Public Policy. In 1997 Jerry gave the commencement address at his alma mater, Robert Morris University. He was the youngest speaker in the history of the school, and the school received more requests for transcripts of Jerry’s speech than at any other time in its 120-year history.
Jerry lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, Susan, and the youngest three of their seven children.