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Religious Tolerance logo

Why did the hurricane Katrina happen?

Part 2:
More reasons given by religious conservatives

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This topic is continued from the previous essay.

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hurricane damage Reasons given for the 2005 tragedy by religious conservatives (Cont'd):

bullet Michael H. Brown of Spirit Daily predicted the devastation of Katrina four years in advance of the tragedy. In 2001, he wrote that New Orleans contains many "kind and generous and Christian people (nowhere is more Catholic)." But, he warns: "I have to be blunt: New Orleans, you are in peril." The city and area allows what he regards as evil practices, including:

bullet A swamp named after the Devil.

bullet Vodun, commonly called Voodoo, is practiced in the city. [Vodun is a syncretistic religion combining Roman Catholicism with West African aboriginal religion.]

bullet "Occult temples" exist in the city. [It is not clear what Brown means by this term.].

bullet There are tours to haunted cemeteries.

bullet Mardi Gras, a pre-Lenten celebration, features "barely-clad dancers."

He concluded:

"It's that kind of stuff -- not God -- that brings disaster. When you invoke dark spirits, you get a storm....when we look at the Bible we note that black magic -- the very definition of Voodoo -- was quickest to bring the Lord's judgment.

God allows this to purge us when we don't purge ourselves. It doesn't have to happen but unless evil is expelled -- especially hardcore occultism like voodoo, which is the darkest form of evil -- it's inevitable.

And the cycles may be coming due. The return rate for a category-three [hurricanes] is 31 years, a category-four 65 years, and a category-five 170 years.... If a category-five made landfall between your city and Baton Rouge, according to an emergency manager named Walter Maestri, it would be:

"... the most catastrophic hurricane in the history of the United States." 4


According to Dateline: Hollywood, the famous Evangelical teleminister Pat Robertson said that God steered Katrina towards New Orleans because he was angry at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for their selection of Ellen Degeneres to host the 2005 Emmy Awards. He was alleged to have said on his 700 club TV program:

"By choosing an avowed lesbian for this national event, these Hollywood elites have clearly invited God’s wrath. Is it any surprise that the Almighty chose to strike at Miss Degeneres' hometown?"

He is also alleged to have noted that the last time that Degereres was selected to host the Emmies, the 9-11 terrorist attack occurred. He is reporting as having said:

"This is the second time in a row that God has invoked a disaster shortly before lesbian Ellen Degeneres hosted the Emmy Awards. America is waiting for her to apologize for the death and destruction that her sexual deviance has brought onto this great nation."13

This report was widely circulated on the Internet. It made sense to many people because Robertson has made many similar outrageous comments in the past. During a 1998-AUG-06 broadcast of The 700 Club, Mr. Robertson addressed comments at participants of the Orlando, Florida, Gay Pride Festival, stating:

"I would warn Orlando that you're right in the way of some serious hurricanes, and I don't think I'd be waving those flags in God's face if I were you'." 14

Also, on 2005-AUG-22 Robertson called for a death squad to assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. However, as reasonable as the message about Katrina seems to some folks, he did not say it. It was all a hoax apparently perpetrated by Dateline: Hollywood. 14 Unfortunately, it has been widely reported as truth.

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bullet The Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) in Topeka, KS sponsors the virulent, anti-gay "God Hates Fags" website. They placed a short article online titled "Thank God for Katrina." It said, in part:

"New Orleans, symbol of America, seen for what it is: a putrid, toxic, stinking cesspool of fag fecal matter....America is irreversibly doomed. It is a sin to pray for the good of this evil fag nation ... It is a sin NOT to rejoice when God executes His wrath and vengeance on America. Pray for more dead bodies floating on the fag-semen-rancid waters of New Orleans. Pray for more American bodies blown to smithereens by cheap home made Iraqi IEDs - like the IED America bombed WBC with August 20, 1995, hoping thereby to terrorize us into silence about America's fag sins. America became WBC's terrorist. So, God, in retaliation, became America's Terrorist." 15

The reference to terrorism by America apparently relates to the triggering of three improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Topeka on the same date. One was in the driveway of Shirley Phelps-Roper's home, which is part of the church compound. She is a member of the WBC. 16 The church found evidence that three men were the perpetrators. However, the WBC attributes responsibility to all Americans.

bullet Louis Farrakhan, leader of Nation of Islam suggested that the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina was divine punishment for the violence that the U.S. had inflicted on Iraq. He said:

"New Orleans is the first of the cities going to tumble down... unless America changes its course...It is the wickedness of the people of America and the government of America that is bringing the wrath of God down." 5

bullet A conservative Protestant pastor on the the Mars Hill Network's Morning Worship Service for 2005-SEP-04 commented on the reasons why God carefully directed hurricane Katrina to devastate New Orleans and area. He gave three reasons for God's action:

bullet God was angry at the immoral behavior of the citizens of New Orleans. The pastor pointed out that the main street in the city is not "Church Street;" it is "Bourbon Street."

bullet A local gay event had been scheduled for New Orleans a few days after Katrina hit . This is apparently a reference to Southern Decadence, a festival which was to start on AUG-31 and last until SEP-05. It had been held each Labor Day for the past 33 years. In previous years, about 125,000 gays attended. 6

bullet The largest single business in Biloxi, MS was gambling.

Apparently anticipating questions about why God would cause the deaths of so many infants, children, and folks who did not engage in any of the above-mentioned activities, he explained that the Bible says that God sends the rain on righteous and evil people alike. This is apparently a reference to Matthew 5:45: God "sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust."

"The pastor explains that for years he has warned people that unless Christians in New Orleans took a strong stand against such things as local abortion clinics, the yearly Mardi Gras celebrations, and the annual event known as "Southern Decadence" -- an annual six-day "gay pride" event scheduled to be hosted by the city this week -- God's judgment would be felt [again]."

'New Orleans now is abortion free. New Orleans now is Mardi Gras free. New Orleans now is free of Southern Decadence and the sodomites, the witchcraft workers, false religion -- it's free of all of those things now," Shanks says. "God simply, I believe, in His mercy purged all of that stuff out of there -- and now we're going to start over again." 11

He seems to be implying that when New Orleans is rebuilt, that gays, lesbians, abortion providers and their clinics, and non-Christians should be not permitted to return to the city. Religious freedom, tolerance, and diversity do not appear to be among Rev. Shanks' priorities.

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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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or Home page > Religious information > God > Disasters > here

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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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