In Japan, rescue workers are still pulling survivors out of the rubble of the devastating earthquake. In the United States, political commentator Glenn Beck is already speculating on the disaster’s divine message:
“I’m not saying God is, you know, causing earthquakes,” the conservative pundit said on Monday’s show. But Beck added that he’s “not not saying that, either.”
“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.”
Beck is hardly the first to suggest that a natural disaster is a form of divine punishment. Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara told reporters Monday that he, too, sees God’s wrath in the tragedy:
“Japanese politics is tainted with egoism and populism. We need to use tsunami to wipe out egoism, which has rusted onto the mentality of Japanese over a long period of time.”
“I think (the disaster) is tembatsu (divine punishment), although I feel sorry for disaster victims,” he said.
Ishihara later rescinded his remarks and apologized.
After Haiti’s devastating earthquake, televanglist Pat Robertson said that the disaster was sent to punish the country for what he believed was its “pact to the devil.” The Christian Broadcasting Network later said that the minister’s comment was supported by the research of “countless scholars and religious figures” who have come “to believe the country is cursed.”