Religious obscenitiesAccording to some religious extremists, the Asian tsunami was God's retribution. For what? Well, that depends on what kind of extremist you ask.
Hindu extremists say God was upset over Christian activity in India.
Last week, a column on the widely-read Indian news site Rediff.com suggested that the tsunami was a sign of retribution against Christians, whose activities are seen as betraying India's essentially Hindu character... Columnist Rajeev Srinivasan pointed to several religion-related factors he sees as pertinent. Referring to the earthquake as the "Christmas quake," he implied that the timing wasn’t mere coincidence. He also noted that the tsunami hit a church at Velankanni, one of the most significant Christian pilgrimage points in South India, resulting in the death of 50 people. Finally, he connected the tragedy to what many see as the recent mistreatment of a revered Hindu leader, noted a column on the website beliefnet.com
Some Christian extremists, on the other hand, say God is pissed off at Muslims.
Author Henry Blackaby, speaking at a Kentucky pastors' conference here in mid-January, said he didn't fully appreciate the significance of the widespread destruction until he saw a map published by the Voice of the Martyrs depicting the most intense regions of Christian martyrdom worldwide. Blackaby said he noticed that the tsunami hit many of those same regions. He told a workshop audience that most Christians don't realize that 400,000 to 450,000 believers are killed annually for their faith, and that many regions of persecution shown the map "match to the T" the tsunami's swath of destruction, explained an article from The Baptist Press.
"(But) if you read the Old Testament, especially, God is very concerned how the nations treat His covenant people," Blackaby added. "The nations that persecuted, offended and killed His people, God came down and destroyed them. And He's the same God today. He's just as concerned about His people."
I wonder exactly how that works since a) presumably God created Hindus and Muslims too and b) the Old Testament was recorded before the evolution of Christianity.
Muslim extremists, for their part, don't want to be left out of the judgementalist fun. The newspaper of the PJD, Morocco's Islamist Party, reportedly claimed that the tsunami showed showed God's displeasure with South-East Asia's sex tourism industry. Some 5000 people marched in the capital Rabat in support of the paper, though the comments have been denounced by other Moroccan political parties.