For the Sake of Ten

2012-10-31 – If you want a scare today, read what Pastor John McTernan says about the cause of Hurricane Sandy. (Spoiler alert: it’s gay marriage.)

Now, for argument, let’s say this is true. Is McTernan acting in a biblical way in calling this out in the way he has? The Bible shows us another way. In Genesis 18, Abraham gets advance word that God intends to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of the wickedness there (more on this in a moment). Does Abraham jump on the bandwagon? No. Abraham challenges God, saying “Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?” And he proceeds to negotiate with God, asking first that the cities be spared for the sake of 50 righteous, then 45, then 40, and so on. Finally jewing God down to 10. And God agreed to spare the cities for the sake of 10 righteous individuals, if they were to be found in the cities. For the sake of mercy.

McTernan and his ilk run the bargain in the other direction. They would destroy the righteous on the mere imagining of wickedness.

Even McTernan’s certainty about God’s intentions and punishments are anti-biblical. In Job 38, God speaks, ironically, out of a whirlwind to condemn those who presume to know. (Do these people even read the book they supposedly revere?)

Now, let’s go back to the wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah. Our sex-crazed fundamentalists see the sin of these cities as homosexuality. But Jewish tradition says that the sin was violence and inhospitality toward strangers. Those who are confused about “legitimate rape” might fail to see the nuance in this passage. But read the text yourself. The folks in Sodom and Gomorrah were not interested in gay marriage or any kind of love or tenderness, for that matter, straight or gay. They were gangbangers (in the old sense of the word), rapists, a distinctly violent welcoming committee, preying on strangers . . .

And then you might begin to think that Hurricane Sandy is a punishment for intolerance . . . But nah, there are at least 10 tolerant people in New York . . . And who are we to say we know the mind of God anyhow?


Trick or treat!

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