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Holy merit badge! Divine retribution?

Holy merit badge! Divine retribution?


If God hates gays, why do his harshest punishments--electrocutions, heat waves, hurricanes--seem to be directed at antigay bigots? The Boy Scouts should take note.

I remember it vividly. It was very early in the morning for me, around 6. My friend Don Hobkirk called to see if I was up and already on my way to the radio station. I asked why, and he said to turn on CNN. I did, and I saw one of the twin towers of the World Trade Center burning. They said a plane had hit it.

I got up and started to get dressed, knowing I would be called to my station to go on the air. I called my good friend Larry Flick in New York City. He worked at Billboard back then, in a high-rise. While we were on the phone, another plane hit the trade center. I told him to get home. We hung up.

There was a lot that happened in the aftermath of 9/11. People began to ask, Why? And then Jerry Falwell told them, the answer was obvious. It was the fault of abortionists and gay people. Well, of course it was. After all, so many of the 19 terrorists were gay--not!

I sat back and listened. Soon, with just a little research, I found that Falwell was indeed cracked but not alone. Gay people have been blamed for hurricanes destroying coastlines, for earthquakes--in fact, for almost every major disaster, it would appear. Then there's the moral decay brought about by obviously gay subversive tools like SpongeBob, Tinky Winky, and that rabbit on PBS.

Absurd, you say? Well, yes, but let's take a minute to apply that thinking to current events.

God hates Boy Scouts.

It couldn't be clearer. God hates the Scouts' policy of discrimination against gays. That's right, God is pro-gay, and he/she/it is letting that be known, beginning with some good ol' fashioned smiting of those who are blatantly going against his laws and discriminating against his creation, gay men.

The evidence? Just look at the 2005 Boy Scout Jamboree, a 10-day event held in Virginia for tens of thousands of Boy Scouts and their leaders. Now, remember, this is the same organization that blatantly said no homos, homos are bad, homos will influence our children or worse, attack them. And while I support their right as a private religious-based organization to keep homos out (that's another editorial), I'm not God. And it appears God is angry.

First came the tragic death of four scout leaders, setting up a dining tent. By all accounts, it was biblical carnage at its best. Scouts watched as a metal pole at the center of the large, white tent touched power lines, electrocuting four adult leaders and injuring others. According to accounts published in the July 29 Guardian Unlimited, "Screams rang out as the tent caught fire and the men burned."

That's downright Old Testament.

Then, within a day or two, record heat and humidity sent scores of scouts to the hospital. Yes, once the deaths occurred and the scouts decided to press onward, the weather turned against them and oppressive heat and humidity hospitalized many and caused almost 300 scouts to seek treatment. From the Guardian Unlimited again, quoting 15-year-old scout Jeremy Loftness of Denver: "Yesterday was ridiculous.... I, myself, saw 50 people either passed out or being carried away.''

In fact, the weather was being used as a shield, an impenetrable barrier to keep away another entity with which God is obviously upset, President Bush. He has been scheduled twice to speak to the Boy Scouts at the Jamboree, and twice the weather, a traditional act of God, has dissuaded him.

Outrageous? Preposterous? No more than any claims made against gays by good, God-fearing men of the cloth. How dare I, a gay person--and therefore by many standards a godless heathen--make such a claim? Well, why not? The evidence certainly is mounting in my favor. As this column was being written, another act of God against the Boy Scouts was reported by AP: Lightning struck a group of scouts gathered in Sequoia National Park in California, killing a scout leader and critically injuring a 13-year-old.

More Old Testament smiting. Get the message?

Why wouldn't God do this? While under the law the Boy Scout stance on gays may be justifiable, socially, morally, it's just plain wrong. They do it in God's name, so maybe God is just sick and tired of people doing things in his/her/its name.

Take Florida, for instance. God obviously hates Florida. This year alone, nature, and thus, under many beliefs, God, has sent storms early and fast right into the peninsula that has caused so many problems. Perhaps God was mad about Terri Schiavo and how people purporting to be his followers created such a terrible debacle, right down to that annoying little friar in the Frangelico liquor outfit constantly telling us how Terri was alive, aware. (Sorry, Brother, she never was.) Perhaps God was mad at Senator DeLay for his "God delivered us Terri" comments. Let's be real, God had turned half this girl's brain to liquid, seen to it that she was blind, and was all ready to take her up to heaven and then Bush's brother and Terri's parents and a bevy of religious zealots intervened and kept her body alive at all costs and against her and her husband's wishes.

Well, vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord. So bam! Take that hurricane, Florida! Bam! Have all this rain! Bam! Winds! Bam! A tornado in Miami! It's right out of an Irwin Allen film.

And this was nothing compared with last year. Four massive hurricanes in less than two months. It was an election year, you see, and Florida had really made God mad with the 2000 debacle, so he was trying to send them a message to get it right in 2004. They didn't listen. So bam! They got it again.

Maybe the Christians are on to something. Maybe God is angry, and smiting things left and right. But maybe the right-wingnuts are not picking up on the real reasons: Maybe it's not gay people the Omnipotent is after, maybe it's not we who are just living our lives the way the Almighty made us (if you believe in that sort of thing). Maybe instead it's those people who are calling us, his handiwork, somehow less than human, ungodly, unholy.

Who is man to call another man less than godly? Because while man can make a mess, only God can make a homo.

And God likes it that way. After all, Massachusetts has legalized same-sex marriage, and God has kept most natural disasters away from that state. Nor has he destroyed Canada, Spain, the Netherlands, and other countries that allow same-sex marriage or something close to it. When was the last time you heard of an act of God harming gay-friendly New Zealand, for instance?

So, Boy Scouts, if I were you, I'd be seriously looking at policies you may have as a group that are upsetting to God.

Who am I to speak for God? Well, I'm just as qualified as any of those who say God attacks cities or states for their pro-gay stance or as some sort of divine signal of his disapproval. After all, I'm ordained. I am. I am an official member of the clergy, ordained by World Christian Ministries. And it only cost me $80 and some time on the Internet. They never even asked if I believed in God.

Here's the thing: Speaking for God and believing in him are two separate things altogether. Doing God's work versus his bidding--again, separate. There are many who do God's work. They are those who help their fellow humans instead of dividing them. They are those who give of themselves selflessly, to everyone, not just to people who believe the way they do. They are people who accept all of God's creations, not just the ones that ideologically or biologically fit some mold of what is "normal." They are ones who would never waver from their own beliefs but would never legislate them either.

Yes it seems speaking for God and truly believing in him never, ever shall meet.

I don't believe in God as written. I'm one of the 5% of people in the United States brave (or stupid) enough to say that, because there is a lot of societal prejudice against those who don't associate with any religion or belief.

But it doesn't take a devout follower to see that if there is a God, he's pissed. At the Boy Scouts. At Florida and, oh yes, Indonesia. In the United States recently we've had record heat waves killing people in our cities, flooding, lightning striking people, tornados--acts of biblical destruction. And never in West Hollywood. Never in Chelsea. Never in the Castro. Usually in the Bible Belt, in the red states, in places where bigots flourish. Even the disease allegedly sent to destroy homosexuals, AIDS, has now killed more nongay people worldwide than gay people.

It's official. God hates bigots and is making bigoted America pay. If it keeps up, gay meccas could become Noah's Arks of sorts, because it would appear those are the only areas the divine is leaving alone. (Key West may be the exception, but it has the unfortunate fate of being part of Florida, and God, as we know from the Old Testament, has no qualms about taking out a few thousand bystanders when smiting the wicked.)

Cities with big gay centers are flourishing while places where they hang homos on fence posts are dwindling economically and socially. Even the climate in many of those places is rebelling.

So, devout, uberconservative Christians, take a note from one of your own hymns: God is trying to tell you something. It sounds a lot like, Let my people go. Give my people equality, all of them.

Or else.

If this keeps up, it might be enough to convince even this nonbeliever.

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