Part 1: Some reasons given by religious conservatives
A brief review of the Katrina hurricane of 2005:
On 2005-AUG-25, Katrina, as a Category 1 hurricane, struck south Florida. It
strengthened over the Gulf of Mexico to Category 4. It hit New Orleans, the rest
of Louisiana, and Mississippi on AUG-29.
As of OCT-04, the search for victims of Katrina ended. One estimated total death toll
that were directly caused by the hurricane in Louisiana was 964. In addition, many more died indirectly because of the hurricane. Mississippi's death toll was 221.
Hundreds of thousands of residents were dislocated; a quarter million into Texas alone.
Writers for the Washington Post said:
"The evacuees [from New Orleans], most of them black and poor, spoke of
violence, anarchy and family members who died for lack of food, water and
medical care." 1
Many had no homes, assets, or jobs to which to return.
Property damage was immense.
Overview of reasons given for the 2005 tragedy by some religious conservatives:
Many religious conservatives have a very different worldview than do
religious liberals, secularists, and others. Many conservatives believe that God is
present in every major event in the life of individual Christians and of nations. Thus,
they believe that Katrina, with its massive loss of life, dislocated lives, property
damage, and general devastation, must have involved God in some direct way.
Conservative Christians also generally believe in the existence and
insidious, pervasive power of Satan.
In the list below, we describe many articles, sermons, etc. which suggest
that God took an active part in the devastation brought by Katrina to New Orleans, the
rest of southern Louisiana, and southern Mississippi. A near consensus of
religious conservatives is that God's motivation for his involvement in Katrina
was to send a message to Americans. However, the precise message does not appear particularly clear. Various conservative
Christian individuals and para-church organizations cannot agree on
the reason for God's punishment:
Many believe that God has used the hurricane to send a message to the
American public that he is displeased with their behavior. As listed
in the quotations below, they have suggested
various reasons for God's wrath:
Abortion access in the area affected and in the rest of America.
Another writer, Michael Brown, suggests that God
played no role in Katrina. Rather, it was certain evil practices in New Orleans and
area that actually drew the storm towards the Gulf Coast.
Finally, in an article titled "Katrina: not God's wrath -- or his
will," Dr. Tony Campolo quoted the Bible (James 1:15) to show that "...God
is not the author of evil." He concludes that:
"When the floods swept
into the Gulf Coast, God was the first one who wept....God would not create
suffering for innocent people, who were--for the most part--Katrina‚s
Campolo is an Evangelical Christian who often takes liberal
positions on social matters while still holding conservative beliefs about
the Bible and Christian theology. 12 There are probably other conservative Christians who hold similar
views. However, we have not seen any in the media or on the Internet.
The following individuals and groups disagree almost completely with each
other. Yet, each seems to be absolutely certain of their beliefs. None of them
give any room for vagueness in their interpretation. An observer is forced to
conclude that most of their beliefs are wrong.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
Manuel Roig-Franzia and Spencer Hsu, "White House shifts blame for Katrina response. Administration, embattled FEMA chief
point to state, local officials," The Washington Post, 2005-SEP-04, at: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/"
at Robertson's statement regarding terrorist attack," Christian
Broadcasting Network, 2001-SEP-14, at: http://www.cbn.com/
New Orleans City Council President: 'Maybe God's Going To
Cleanse Us'," LifeSiteNews.com, 2005-SEP-01, at: http://www.lifesite.net/
Tony Campolo, "Katrina: Not God's Wrath--or His Will. The
Hebrew Bible doesn't say God is omnipotent. When disaster strikes, he cries with
the rest of us," Beliefnet.com, undated, at: http://www.beliefnet.com/