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In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, the corporate “liberal” media have focused, as they always do, on the horror of the damage and the tragic stories of the victims. As the storm subsided, their cameras turned to cheering the cleanup and particularly the gallantry of volunteers who stepped up to help provide services that the state of Texas and Houston local governments had not provided under their free market economic planning.

joel osteen

One of the first post-disaster victimization stories that hit every “liberal” media outlet was the revelation of how godless, hate-filled socialist and progressive media had tried to pillory the sainted televangelist, Joel Osteen, for his decision to preserve a clean, dry space for worshippers to celebrate the passing of the flood and the retreat of the flood waters.

Osteen is aware, as perhaps some godless socialists are not, that even the worst of god’s floods eventually pass away, and that the faithful need a clean, dry place to gather to thank god for their salvation. And for the spiritual guidance of a modern profit, like Osteen, to help them survive the coming disasters of having to deal with gub’mint agencies as they try to rebuild.

Heedless of any risk to his personal reputation, Osteen, god’s anointed messenger, held his own humble, personal worship space above the fray, and kept the dirty, mud-soaked rabble, wearing smelly, days-old clothing, from polluting the space

Heedless of any risk to his personal reputation, Osteen, god’s anointed messenger, held his own humble, personal worship space above the fray, and kept the dirty, mud-soaked rabble, wearing smelly, days-old clothing, from polluting the space that would be needed by worshippers as soon as the flood subsided. And even before the flooding subsided, Osteen opened his space as a processing site for donations of food and clothing for the refugees. Again, he took this action without any hesitation, even knowing that the godless would end up criticizing his quite reasonable fees for administration, handling and processing of the donated crap.

As the storm tried to destroy Houston, and the press tried to destroy one of god’s modern profits, other men of god addressed the hurricane, and helped put it into context. Another hero of prosperity gospel televangelism, Kevin Swanson worked to lay to rest one of modern times’ most divisive issues – climate change. Scientists use math and data and historical trends to explain why Harvey and Irma and other hurricanes are stronger and more destructive than past storms. But they have been unable to provide a convincing proof that human activity is responsible for climate change and associated weather events.

Enter Kevin Swanson, whom god has on speed dial. Kevin Swanson has revealed himself as one of god’s intimates (NOT in THAT way, you filthy pervert!). Speaking directly for god, Swanson revealed that indeed hurricanes are caused by people. They are caused when people do things that god thinks are bad and need to be responded to with punishment.

Swanson, as much a prophet as Osteen is, is able to identify things that god hates by reading the bible. He preaches that god has given us Commandments that must be obeyed. Among the Commandments we are taught that we should worship god, and not gold. And Jesus also taught that we should give away our wealth to follow him.

To help their parishioners follow this requirement, both Swanson and Osteen frequently remind their followers that they, Osteen and Swanson, are willing sacrifice themselves in service to their flocks. If their worshippers will only send their wealth to the profits, the profits will see it dealt with in ways that god approves. Trust them. Write them a check. And wait for god to bless your life.

Another Commandment requires us not to bear false witness – not to lie. And, as Kevin Swanson is god’s servant, messenger and profit, we can be sure that he wouldn’t lie to us. So when he tells us that storms and climate change are caused by people’s sinful ways, we know that he must be telling the truth, despite what Koch brothers’ lobbyists might say to the contrary.

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A central belief of the prosperity gospel is that god will reward those who worship him properly. This causes some confusion, because all the spokesmen, professors, etc. who deny human causes for climate change are far wealthier than those scientists who say that humans do cause climate change. Thus, it appears that the climate change deniers are better rewarded than the climate change scientists. If they are better rewarded, doesn’t that mean that they enjoy more of god’s favor?

Of course it does not. But it does point to confusion of cause and effect. The climate change deniers are wealthier because they have been rewarded by the corporations whose interests they serve. Not by god, whose interests they do not serve. We know that they do not serve god’s interests, because god is not rewarding them, but leaving it to the corporations to cut them fat paychecks.

This confusion seems to rear its head pretty constantly. People, no matter how devout, are prone to making mistakes in interpretation of god’s will and his requirements. Thus, for example, the Southern Baptist Convention, and most other Fundagelicals, have concluded that even Jesus, who was half human (on his mother’s side), misunderstood god’s will, and was just wrong when he preached in favor of social justice and taking care of the poor.

Which brings us back to Kevin Swanson. He maintains that Hurricane Harvey—and the string of hurricanes lined up to lash our south eastern states—is god’s punishment for LBGTQ activity. This is his choice, against all the possible infractions against biblical Laws and Commandments that people might have violated to enrage god.

Another of god’s messengers wrote, in the Declaration of Independence, that all men are created equal, and endowed by their creator with life and liberty. Yet it is in the very states most likely to be savaged by hurricanes and tornadoes that the god given right to life and liberty of some people is most likely to be challenged. It is in these states that people have historically denied the equality of all people.

An observant prophet might see that god has repeatedly given warnings to the people in states that ignore his requirements. Rather than widespread destruction of entire cities or regions, he has sent tornadoes down narrow paths, sometimes targeting churches that preach messages of hate and divisiveness. The widespread destruction of Hurricane Harvey seems to have targeted an entire state in which the ruling class has increasingly subjugated the masses, and divided them along racial lines.

Harvey devastated Houston’s vaunted arts and theater district. Not known as a hotspot for services to the poor, disabled and disfranchised. Was this a message from god? When Irma strikes this weekend, will the winds reap judgment on those who champion “stand-your-ground” laws and destroy the beautiful environments that god created? Will torrential rains try to wash the mote of short-sighted greed and personal aggrandizement from the eyes of those no longer able to see what god’s true desire for their lives is?

If Kevin Swanson misunderstood what god might punish, we should be forgiving. That’s what god commands. But forgiveness is not forgetfulness. We should not forget that both Swanson and Osteen sought, and continue to seek, profits from tragedy. Jesus said the poor will always be with you. Equally, the religious hucksters will always be with us, trying to rake off ‘their share’ (and then some) from every disaster. Trying to profit both from climate change denial and from the consequences of climate change.

This weekend, Osteen will be back in the pulpit of his cozy 16,000 seat worship space, reminding people of the needs of the people in Florida, and reminding them that god wants them to send their money to him, so that he can disburse it to help the Florida victims, people up and down the street on which Mar a Lago sits, who are suffering because the buses aren’t running and their servants can’t get to work at their mansions.

And as with the weekend of Hurricane Harvey, the vile socialistic progressive press will try to make Osteen’s holy work seem like personal greed. The fees he takes for managing the donated money will be criticized, as if investing and bookkeeping can be done without cost or risk. Even drug cartels have to pay to move money. And they don’t have the overhead of a sacred worship space that has to be kept clean and pleasing to the eyes of god.

Tom Hall

Tom Hall