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Why did the hurricane Katrina happen?


Part 1:
Some reasons given by religious conservatives

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hurricane damage 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.

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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:

bulletMany 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:
bullet Abortion access in the area affected and in the rest of America.

bullet Equal treatment of gays and lesbians in the U.S. including the right to marry.

The large percentage of non-Christians in the area, particularly Wiccans, other Neopagans, and followers of Vodun (a.k.a. Voodoo).

bullet U.S. involvement in the Iraqi war.

bullet U.S. support for the removal of Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip.

bullet The refusal of the U.S. to sign the Kyoto Accord to limit climate change.

bullet The high rate of political, court and police corruption in the areas most affected.

bullet The high murder rate in New Orleans.

bullet Drunkenness and scantily-clad dancers in public view during Mardi Gras.

bullet Occult practices, particularly in New Orleans.

bullet Gambling, particularly in Mississippi.
bullet 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 victims."

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.

Perhaps all are wrong.

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A sampling of conservative religious sources: compiled a list of reasons that various groups and individuals have suggested as God's motivation for steering Katrina to devastate New Orleans and much of the Gulf Coast:

bullet "European papers have suggested that Katrina was the punishment the US received for failing to sign onto the Kyoto accord."

bullet "Islamic militants have rejoiced that 'Private' Katrina has joined in the holy war against the U.S. for - among other things - the Iraq war."

bullet "...the hurricane was God's punishment on the U.S. for cooperating in the removal of Jews from the Gaza strip."
bullet The gay "Southern Decadence" celebration was scheduled to start a few days after Katrina hit.

bullet Unspecified "occult practices" in New Orleans.

bullet The practice of the religion of Vodun -- referred to in LifeSiteNews as "Voodoo."

bullet The high murder rate in New Orleans. By mid-2004-August, there had been 192 murders in the city that year -- almost ten times the national average rate.


Political, police, and judicial corruption. The New York Daily News reported that:

"Adjusted for population size, the state ranks third in the number of elected officials convicted of crimes (Mississippi is No. 1)." 3

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This topic continues in the next essay

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. 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:"
  2. at Robertson's statement regarding terrorist attack," Christian Broadcasting Network, 2001-SEP-14, at:
  3. New Orleans City Council President: 'Maybe God's Going To Cleanse Us',", 2005-SEP-01, at:
  4. Michael H. Brown, "Oh New Orleans, shed ye the darkness or face disaster," Spirit Daily, 2004-SEP, at:
  5. "Farrakhan: God punishing U.S. for Iraq with storm,", 2005-SEP-04, at:
  6. Ray Ruiz, "Friendly Gay New Orleans," at:
  7. "A home for a home," Jerusalem Newswire, 2005-AUG-29, at:
  8. Chuck Baldwin, "Is God removing his hand of protection from America," Covenant News, 2005-SEP-02, at:
  9. Walter Russell, "Remember and Repent," Covenant News, circa 2005-SEP-02, at:
  10. David Alan Black, "Shining in the Darkness," 2005-SEP-02, at:
  11. Jody Brown and Allie Martin, "New Orleans Residents: God's Mercy Evident in Katrina's Wake" Agape Press, 2005-SEP-02, at:
  12. 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,", undated, at:
  13. "Roberts blames hurricane on choice of Ellen Degeneres to host Emmys," Dateline: Hollywood, 2005-SEP-12, at:
  14. "God's Wrath,", 2005-SEP-12, at:
  15. "Thank God for Katrina," Westboro Baptist Church, 2005-AUG-31, at: and
  16. Shirley Phelps-Roper, "The Night America Bombed Westboro Baptist Church..." God Hates Fags, undated, at:

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Copyright © 2005 to 2014 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted: 2005-SEP-04
Latest update: 2014-MAR-14
Author: B.A. Robinson

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