When disaster strikes, the religious-right are quick to blame gays and liberals, but fail to realize they have no right to complain

protective hand of godEvery time something awful happens in America, right wing pastors and pundits speak about the “protective hand of God.” According to these religious leaders (and I use that term lightly), because America has legalized abortion and allows gay people to just wander around getting gay married, the giant palm of safety no longer saves us from tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards or terrorists.

The right wing blames secularism and liberals for everything. It’s our fault that Oklahoma was just hit by two horrific tornadoes. They seem to forget that Oklahoma always gets hit with horrific tornadoes because the state lies smack dab in the middle of Tornado Alley. Boston bombings? Secular liberalism. 9/11? Gays and abortion.

America doesn’t need the “protective hand of God.” Oh, I realize that we have problems; unemployment, families losing their homes, violence and mental illness, but for the most part, we’re a lot better off than practically every other country on Earth. Except for Norway, they’re amazing. So what I’d like to do is put America’s issues up against some other countries and see how we’re faring.

1) America vs. Somalia: According to FEWS.net, the majority of Somalia is in a “stressed acute food insecurity phase.” Much of the area would be worse if not for humanitarian aid and assistance from other countries and charities. During the famine of 2010-2011, approximately 260,000 thousand people died, half of that number being children under the age of 5.

2) America vs. China: China enforces a one child per household policy, unless you’re rich. Wealthy Chinese families can pay a “fee” that is often 10 times their yearly salary and circumvent the law. For the poor in China, it is an entirely different story. Village family planning “officers” chart menstrual cycles and pelvic exams of village women. If a woman is found to be pregnant with another child, unless she can pay the fee she is often forced to undergo an abortion.

3) America vs. Uganda: Whatever the right wing thinks about the LGBT community, they cannot kill them with impunity. In Uganda, being gay is a crime, punishable by death in some cases. Activists who march in public against Uganda’s hateful laws are quite literally risking their lives. And after losing tens of thousands of children to war, Ugandans now face an unknown disease they call “nodding syndrome.”

I could go on, but the people that need to see this will not understand. There are so many places on this planet that desperately need whatever help they can get, spiritual, monetary or otherwise, it seems selfish for men and women who claim to love God to proclaim that America is the only nation deserving of a protective hand. In all honesty, we are the least deserving. Yes, people have lost their homes, but they had homes to begin with. Yes, tornadoes and hurricanes happen here, but we have FEMA and the Red Cross and other organizations to help rebuild.

We have violence. We do not have children kidnapped in the middle of the night, taken out into the wilderness and tortured into becoming child soldiers. We are not forced to drink water into which our neighbors have defecated because no one has toilets. Our cities are not being bombed into rubble each and every day.

beck_robertsonGod, whatever that may be, is waiting. Waiting for those of us who have to give to those who have nothing. While Pat Robertson reviews the profits from his religious network (and diamond mine) and while Glenn Beck bemoans the loss of Christianity in America (sitting in his mansion behind a security gate), another child dies in her mother’s arms, belly empty, skin shrunken, eyes blankly staring at a landscape of pain. While right wing church groups travel to third world countries with Bibles, another young father dies of dysentery from drinking water laced with feces and disease.

Everyone blames someone or something else. God, gays, abortion, liberals, anything except the real cause, the real problem. Apathy. Look at Kickstarter. People begging for money to make sunglasses or a movie about nothing. Will those sunglasses feed a family, will that movie save lives in another country? We think our suffering is worse than anywhere else, and we are wrong.

America has problems, no one will argue that. But it is a dangerous thing to believe we are in more pain than other people and other countries. Needing money to finance a film is not the same thing as needing money to keep your child from starving to death. Having to use a Porta Potty at the state fair is not the same as never having access to indoor plumbing and being forced to relieve yourself in the street. Watching your child get mixed up with the wrong crowd for a few months is not the same as screaming while “soldiers” drag your 6-year old son out of his bed, never to be seen again.



  1. Thanks so much! It always makes me twitch when I hear about this “protective hand.” To completely slaughter a quote from “The Princess Bride,” I don’t think that phrase means what they think it means.

  2. Awesome story Erin…so many outstanding points that have swirled through my mind but you articulated them perfectly. Thanks!

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