Whenever there's a natural disaster, very stupid people will argue that it's a deliberate act of murder and mayhem from a homicidal and petulant God we should still worship for some reason. Rightwing fundamentalists can't imagine a God with the sense to just drop a large boulder on an abortion clinic or a gay wedding. No, this so-called “supreme being" prefers to express His pique with an elephant gun.

Evangelical leader and rightwing hack (but I'm repeating myself) Franklin Graham was a guest on “Justice with Judge Jeanine" Saturday and, boy, if there were ever two less-qualified people to discuss something as serious as the coronavirus, they'd be on another Fox News show.

Jeanine Pirro posed Graham the remedial Sunday school question, “Why does God allow bad things to happen?" The typical Sunday school answer is “SHUT UP!" but if you've actually read the Bible, the obvious answer is that God is a petty, vindictive asshole who literally tortures people to prove how much they love Him despite all the torture. People who are confused by God's motivations probably also scratch their heads after watching The Godfather and wonder why a nice man like Don Corleone put a dismembered horse in someone's bed.


PIRRO: Thousands have already died. You must get questions like “Why would God allow this kind of thing to happen"?

Franklin flipped the script on Pirro: God wasn't just asleep at the wheel. COVID-19 is the big guy's own personal biological weapon.

GRAHAM: Well, I don't think it's God's plan for this to happen. It's because of the sin that's in the world. Man has turned his back on God, we have sinned against him, and we need to ask for God's forgiveness and that's what Easter's all about.

Wait, hold up, I thought Easter was about the resurrection of God's only son and my annual viewing of Jesus Christ Superstar. Didn't Jesus die for our sins? Wasn't that the whole point? We should be good now. Why is God still pissed?

King Herod: Jesus Christ Superstar www.youtube.com

Evangelicals insist that the modern world has turned its back on God because presumably women can vote now and rarely have dinner on the table when men come home from work. There was a brief gross period where fundamentalist crackpots could claim that COVID-19 was specifically ravaging liberal enclaves and breeding grounds of sin such as New York, San Francisco, and even Seattle, but the virus is spreading indiscriminately. It hasn't avoided the pious. It's preyed on people who defy social distancing guidelines and still gather in large crowds to worship. You can't duck and cover from the coronavirus in church.

Graham dropped some John 3:16 on Pirro as if the judge was back in Catholic school.

GRAHAM: God so loved the world he gave his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have everlasting life. Jesus Christ came to save sinners.

Swell, could God send some ventilators our way? Graham seems oblivious to the fact that it's not just sinners dying right now. He quotes Christ's line about not coming to “condemn the world but to save the world" before proceeding to condemn the world himself.

GRAHAM: This pandemic ... is the result of a fallen world, a world that has turned its back on God.

This pandemic is a natural event. It's in no way a response to a sinful society. But Graham suggests we all get on our knees and grovel some more to God and maybe He'll keep the death count low. This is almost as dumb as Trump trying to claim credit for his bungling costing only 200,000 American lives instead of 2 million. Trump also likes it when desperate people beg for his help. No wonder white evangelicals believe Trump's a man of God.

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).

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