How many of you have heard of Dover, Pa.? I hadn't until televangelist Pat Robertson declared that God has left Dover because it rejected the teaching of "intelligent design" in its public schools.
In case you're wondering, Dover is just down the road from Weigelstown and 50 miles from Lancaster. According to its last census, it has 902 men and 913 women. The median income is $45,250 a year.
I give you these facts because, no matter how small a town is, Robertson claims he can bring down the wrath of God on it.
These are his own words after Dover defeated the teaching of intelligent design in its schools: "I would like to say to the good citizens of Dover: If there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God. You just rejected him from your city."
Later on he said, "God is tolerant and loving, but we can't keep sticking our finger in his eye forever. If they have future problems in Dover, I recommend they call on Charles Darwin. Maybe he can help them."
This is not the first time Robertson has gotten embroiled in controversy. Last summer he called for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
He also blamed the tornados in Kansas and Oklahoma on God's wrath. In 1998, he warned Florida that it would suffer hurricanes if it didn't reject homosexuality.
What to make of all this?
One theory getting a lot of play in my circle of friends is that recent natural catastrophes are occurring because Pat Robertson really is God.
Intelligent design teaches that the universe was created by a higher power, responsible for the people who live in it.
We call this superpower God because we have to call it something.
The theory is accepted by those who believe in the Bible. The world was created in six days, Adam and Eve were the first human beings and could have stayed in the Garden of Eden forever if Eve hadn't been talked into eating a forbidden apple by a snake.
Intelligent design has always been with us, but for the first time it has a name: Pat Robertson.
We suspected this when he used his powers on "The 700 Club" to smite his enemies. He pretends to speak for God when in fact he is God.
He doesn't let on about his true identity because if he did people would think he was insane.
To do God's work, Pat has to ask for contributions from his viewers. Even God can't get time on radio or television for nothing.
Because of his power -- Hurricane Katrina didn't come out of thin air, you know -- Pat is getting more believers with each catastrophe and more media coverage.
Yet it is the people who oppose him who make him so much more powerful.
There are other televangelists who think they're God. Jerry Falwell immediately comes to mind.
What I'm saying is not the last word on the subject.
The test will be in Dover. If a devastating blizzard hits the town this winter and everyone gets down on his knees and prays, and God isn't there, we can blame it on Charles Darwin. Or global warming.
(c) 2005 Tribune Media Services