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Posted at 07:16 PM ET, 03/15/2011

Glenn Beck says there’s a divine ‘message’ in Japan earthquake


If Gilbert Gottfried can be fired for tweeting un-funny jokes about the Japanese earthquake, can't Glenn Beck lose his audience for this?

Beck said Monday that there is a divine "message" in the deadly quake. Elizabeth Tenety reports:

“Whether you call it Gaia, or whether you call it Jesus, there’s a message being sent and that is, ‘Hey, you know that stuff we’re doing? Not really working out real well.’ Maybe we should stop doing some of it.”

Beck later referenced the Ten Commandments, and suggested that following them is an antidote to global chaos.

“What do you say we start doing those things?” he asked. “Because the things we are doing really suck. And they’re not getting better.”

After any big catastrophe, commentators predictably trot out the "God is sending us a message" line and blame something -- or someone -- they don't like. This rank opportunism reveals a lot more about their preoccupations than it does divine will, and Beck’s latest ranks up there with Jerry Falwell after 9/11 in its patent absurdity.  

The Earth's tectonic plates didn't just start moving once humans were around to start sinning. I suppose, though, that quakes in the Myocene epoch were God's way of telling proto-hominid apes to tone it down a bit. Think Earth history spans only a few thousand years? Then perhaps the large, subduction-zone quake that hit the pacific northwest in 1700 was God punishing the Hesquiat Tribe for its modern vices.

This isn't serious theology. It's hijacking God's name in the service of commentary. In the process, Beck belittles the very beliefs he says he is vindicating, speculates about God engaging in arbitrary, cruel killing and shamelessly shifts the guilt for the disaster onto its victims.

By  |  07:16 PM ET, 03/15/2011

 
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