I know that title may be offensive to you. So, I want to preface these remarks by saying that I am just as horrified and saddened by the destruction, chaos, and looting in New Orleans as you are. Like you, I've been praying for the poor people still trapped there. I've been glued to www.wwltv.com too. (Very compassionate, courageous reporting.) The heroic rescuers have my heartfelt admiration and applause.
My main premise in this article is that our country as a whole deserves God's judgment.
But first, please understand, I recognize that there are many good people in our country. The fact that individual people are injured or killed by an "act of God" like Katrina does not necessarily indicate that they were struck down for a particular sin.
Jesus, when responding to a natural disaster of His day, said: "Or those eighteen, on whom the tower in Siloam fell, and killed them, do you think that they were sinners more than all men that lived in Jerusalem? I tell you, No: but, unless you repent, you shall all likewise perish."
However, having said all of that, our country taken as a whole has done a lot to offend God. We deserve His judgment. If He does not sooner or later judge our country for its sins, He'll have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.
One thing you may not know is that hurricane Katrina hit right before a scheduled "celebration" of sexuality in New Orlean's French Quarter. "Southern Decadence" was supposed to be held from August 31 to September 5. It has been held annually for the last 33 years, attracting a crowd of 125,000 last year. Among other things, it features sex acts performed in the public streets. For more information, click here.
I can do no better than quote the prayer that Pastor Joe Wright prayed as the invocation in the Kansas State House on January 23, 1996. (For more background on the prayer, click here.)
"We come before You today to ask Your Forgiveness and seek Your direction and guidance.
"We know Your Word says, ''Woe to those who call evil good,'' but that's exactly what we have done.
"We have lost our Spiritual equilibrium and inverted our values.
"We confess that we have ridiculed the absolute truth of Your Word and called it pluralism.
"We have worshipped other gods and called it multiculturalism.
"We have endorsed perversion and called it an alternative lifestyle.
"We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.
"We have neglected the needy and called it self preservation.
"We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.
"We have killed our unborn and called it choice.
"We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable.
"We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem.
"We have abused power and called it political savvy.
"We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition.
"We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression.
"We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.
"Search us, O God, and know our hearts today; try us and see if there be some wicked way in us; cleanse us from every sin and set us free."
Now is the time for our nation to repent, not to simply try to rebuild. -- Daniel Bartsch
An anonymous reader's response:
"Dude you are scary. Just promise that you will leave the 'deserved cleansing' to God, ok? Btw, all i wanted was to buy some office supplies. I think i'll buy my stuff from a company who's main focus is in fact office supplies. People like you make me want to run from Christianity - not to it."
Dear anonymous: please understand, I am not calling upon anyone to become a terrorist to execute the wrath of God. God can carry out or withhold His own judgments as He sees fit, without any help from me or anyone else. (This is one place where Muslim theology goes wrong, believing that they have to help God cleanse the earth of infidelity.) The only "cleansing" that I am calling for is the personal cleansing of our own hearts, as we turn in repentance and humility to God. Hope that helps.
Another anonymous note:
"Maybe YOU deserved Katrina but WE did NOT........ by the way, who is "WE"? Is it Arizona? Is it Lousianna? Is it the US? Is it North America? Is it blacks? Is it whites? Is is kids? Is it adults? Ya right...... You tell me what "I DID" to deserve it? Or what the lady across the way from you "DID" to deserve it...... don't project your guilt onto others bud -try feeding the homeless or something....."
Dear anonymous: I think a more careful reading of my article above will answer your questions. (Did you read it or just see the link?) Our entire country deserves a "Katrina" -- including me. What did I do to deserve it? Repeatedly, systematically chose to go my way instead of God's.