UK Floods Are God’s Attempt to Wash Away Homosexuals?

FloodsYou may not have picked up on this Stateside – unless you’ve been trying to follow coverage of Wimbledon – but it’s been raining here in the UK. A lot. Every day for weeks.

There have been floods, and some people have died. In one tragic incident a man got his foot stuck in a drain and, despite a 4 hour attempt to free him, the waters rose and he drowned. A school boy was swept away by a river. Neither of them were gay.

The Bishop of Carlisle, Graham Dow, commented on Sunday that the floods were “a direct consequence of mankind’s lack of respect for each other, for the planet and for God.”

This much I would actually agree with. Proper respect for one another and the environment would have meant our weather patterns were not altered and these freak weather events would not be happening with such frequency or ferocity.

What I find disappointing is Dow’s linking of this to judgement. He goes on:

“This is a strong and definite judgment because the world has been arrogant in going its own way. We are reaping the consequences of our moral degradation, as well as environmental damage. We are in serious moral trouble because every type of lifestyle is now regarded as legitimate. In the Bible, institutional power is referred to as ’the beast’, which sets itself up to control people and their morals. Our government has been playing the role of God in saying that people are free to act as they want. The sexual orientation regulations (which give greater rights to gays) are part of a general scene of permissiveness. We are in a situation where we are liable for God’s judgment, which is intended to call us to repentance.”

I’m afraid I simply don’t buy the line that God sends disasters which kill indiscriminately in order to force particular people to change their behaviour. It’s an angry, violent image of God that I just don’t believe holds up with the pattern we see Christ living out.

Plus it’s one that puts people right off faith – see blog reaction here and here. “Thank God for nutters” “Ha ha ha I tell you they really are clutching at straws to try and make people believe in their ridiculous heirarchal one male god story telling Xtian bullshit” The Independent even compares him with a suicide bomber.

Nice work Graham. Really helped out here.


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13 responses to “UK Floods Are God’s Attempt to Wash Away Homosexuals?”

  1. I agree with you on the judgement issue, totally ridiculous on the Bishop’s part. Yet another reason for people not to be interested in Jesus and his ‘followers’.
    Not sure I am with you 100% on the question of whether we have caused these floods through our contribution to global warming though, I tried to think out loud about this on my blog, ended up rambling on instead. No change there then.
    Looking forward to reading your book.

  2. Kester – this reminds me of the fundy faithful who blamed Katrina on sinful New Orleans – this despite evidence that Bourbon Street (the area of town that gave New Orleans the nickname the Big Easy) didn’t get hit as hard as other areas. Apparently Bourbon Street is on higher ground literally than other areas and thus didn’t recieve the level of fatal flooding.
    As an avid outdoor sports enthusiast, I can tell you that the ecosystems seem to be totally out of whack for the past few years. Not sure how much is due totally to global warming versus other factors such as the disappearance of wetlands. From what I’ve read, the draining of Louisiana swamp land for development and the placement of oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico destroyed the natural barriers that Mother Nature put in place to serve as a buffer for when a hurricane hits land. People tend to see swampland as useless without forgetting about it’s role in the whole ecosystem.
    I hope the rain lets up shortly for the sake of all involved. I was aware of the terrorist alerts but not the weather.

  3. Initially people have put this own goal down to press misinterpretation – but now the bloggers and Ruth Gledhill at the Times have revealed some of Grahams Dows stranger theological views see here.

  4. I wish I had a link to offer. Maybe an obituary of the drowned man. To escape pain; to fight it, we can often be quick with our pronouncements. I’m sorry to hear the UK is having it’s share.
    I don’t know who Graham Downs is, but the universe seems to never be short on prophets. The Bible has a lot to say about false ones. I don’t know why floods come, but I like the idea of a dove with an olive branch.

  5. James

    I think indiscriminate sweeping statements of judgement are unhelpful, and I don’t believe that God is using this to display his judgement on the UK. But… I do think that the country looks to us for a theology of what’s going on – why does God allow this? Is God not in control? Why would God take away my home? etc. After the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004 a bishop (can’t remember who) said this wasn’t a time for theology, instead we should extend our sympathies and help to the family. On one hand, I understand the sentiment, but I also feel that if theology isn’t to be worked out in the midst of tragedy then what use is it to us? And so I ask do we have any good theological response to the flooding in the UK?

  6. In the book I make some points around a theology of gift. If I was going to try to attempt to do some theology around these floods, I’d probably want to get people thinking about our world as ‘gift’ too. It’s not ours to do with as we please. It’s our responsibility to hand it on. It’s not ours to trade and consume.
    On the other hand, I think we can often rush in too quickly and demand theology: God, what are you doing here!? When God quietly points out that we’ve just had our free will, and royally screwed up.

  7. The Bish has made a statement to try to clarify his position. It doesn’t address the sexuality issue. Hmmm.

  8. Simon

    The link in your last comment is a statement from Bishop James Jones to clarify his position. He never said anything about the sexuality issue in the 1st place – surely that is up to Bishop Dow, who made those comments, to address.

  9. Oops! Apologies. My mistake.

  10. Simon

    Having clarified the above – I did actually mean to say that I fully agree with your orignal post, and do think that Bishop Dow has a lot to answer for over his comments!

  11. ‘I’m afraid I simply don’t buy the line that God sends disasters which kill indiscriminately in order to force particular people to change their behaviour. It’s an angry, violent image of God that I just don’t believe holds up with the pattern we see Christ living out.’ Kester
    The rain God sends is just tiny drops of water. In itself it is not a violent weapon, and He does no direct violence to anyone. For many, however, it causes inconvenience, and can be a strong means of His getting their attention.
    The more important issue is how different people react and fare in the rain and the floods that can accompany it. Even when God covered the whole of the face of the earth with deep water in The Flood, those who were right with Him and so able to hear Him, reacted rightly (in that case pre-emptively) and were safe.
    Those who did not heed the still small voice of God in their hearts in their lives generally did not receive His specific warnings and act on them, and so perished.
    Many have been kept entirely safe by God in the latest floods. Others, to varying degrees have not. If, having tried to get through to them, God decides that some are stubbornly unreachable and beyond redemption, He is quite entitled to allow the loss of the lives that He Himself gave. He is a God of love, but He is also moral, and in the end a God of justice, whether we find this comfortable and convenient or not.

  12. So the man who banged his head while attempting to bale out his basement, and fell over and died, was ‘stubbornly unreachable’?
    Perhaps I’ll forward your views to a wonderful Christian friend of mine whose basement has been destroyed twice in the past fortnight. Or did he not bang his head and die because he was a Christian?
    I’m pretty sure he’ll agree that the view you express above is rather like his basement: it stinks because it’s full of crap.
    I agree that the floods are, at the root level, just tiny drops of water. But the main point is that we have screwed up the environment so much that a) there’s a lot more water falling and b) there’s no flood plains left for it to go.
    To claim that this is God’s retribution is not only cruel, it abdicates us from any environmental responsibility to do anything about it.

  13. John P

    What I find equally repugnant is the fact that while some old guy in a terraced house gets God’s furious judgement on him for being stubbornly unreachable,murderous dictators like Mugabe et al get to stay in power for as long as they please.
    Go figure.