You see, as soon as California finally allowed gays to marry, and even went as far as extending the right to people who are not state residents (unlike Massachusetts, the only other state in the Union to allow gay marriages) a number of nuts from the religious right warned of dire consequences. According to the LA Times, “a smattering of protesters” at one ceremony were carrying signs like “Homo Sex Is Sin!” and warnings have been flying around the internet that God will punish the entire state of California for this unspeakable crime against Him (as usual, this raises the obvious question of how moral God really is for meting out collective punishment to begin with, but that’s another story).
Well, so far nothing has happened to California, but the Midwest has been hit by some of the worst flooding since records have been kept. And we all remember how many fundamentalist preachers interpreted Katrina has God’s punishment against the Big Easy. So, logic demands that those same preachers put two and two together and accept that God has apparently changed His mind about gay marriage. Here is the reasoning, spelled out for those who might not have taken logic 101:
P1: If God doesn’t like X, then God sends natural disaster
P2: California has done X, and no disaster has ensued.
C: Therefore, God approves of X.
(P here stands for Premise, C for Conclusion.) This is known in logic as modus tollens, and it’s pretty hard to argue against. But of course I’m kidding, since I am actually assuming that religious zealots are interested at all (or familiar with) logic. A bad assumption if there ever was one.
More broadly, what is it about fundamentalists thinking that God is so darn concerned with their petty affairs? I mean, atheists are usually accused of arrogance for rejecting God, but listen to what one Rocky Twyman, from Washington DC, had to say recently as reported by the Chicago Tribune, referring to the ongoing problem of high gas prices: “Our pockets are empty, but we're going to hold on to God!” And he means that literally. See, Mr. Twyman started a group called Pray at the Pump, which is bent on continuing to pray for lower gasoline prices “until God tells us to stop.” (How exactly such command would be issued is not specified in the interview.) Twyman’s group, in its astoundingly narrow minded view of the world, managed to (unwittingly, one hopes) insult the civil liberties movement by modifying one of their historical phrases: “We Shall Overcome, We'll have lower gas prices.”
Do I need to add that, as usual, nothing fails like prayer? When the movement started, gas prices were at an average of $3.53 per gallon. At the time Mr. Twyman was interviewed the price had gone up to $3.97. This has not deterred Mirrine Thorne of Northwest Washington, who according to the same article said “Nobody else is doing anything, God is going to do something.”
The point is that even if there is a God (and that makes just about as much sense as saying “if there is a Santa Claus...”), it is unbelievably self-centered and arrogant of some people to think that the Creator of the Universe (which is a big, big place to take care of) has nothing better to do than worry about gas prices or gay marriages. But of course that is much of the point of believing in God to begin with: if there is no Big Guy in the sky looking out for us, then we are really responsible for our own actions, and that’s one of the scariest thoughts that ever crossed the human mind.