Right after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, the Washington Post published a report on people who thought the disaster was God’s retribution. Post writer Alan Cooperman led with this:
Steve Lefemine, an antiabortion activist in Columbia, S.C., was looking at a full-color satellite map of Hurricane Katrina when something in the swirls jumped out at him: the image of an 8-week-old fetus.
“In my belief, God judged New Orleans for the sin of shedding innocent blood through abortion,” said Lefemine, who e-mailed the flesh-toned weather map to fellow activists across the country and put a stark message on the answering machine of his organization, Columbia Christians for Life.
Well, yesterday New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, who did so much to spread false rumors of rapes and killings last fall, was at it again, making common cause with Lefemine. Only Nagin’s God is upset about a, uh, different set of issues. John Pope writes about Nagin’s Martin Luther King Day speech in today’s New Orleans Times-Picayune:
“This city will be a majority African-American city. It’s the way God wants it to be,” Nagin said. “You can’t have it no other way. It wouldn’t be New Orleans.”
Nagin’s remarks were tucked into a wide-ranging speech, delivered on the steps of the federal courthouse, in which the mayor related a dream conversation he had with the slain civil rights leader.
In addition to discussing New Orleans’ reconstruction, unity and numerous issues in the black community, in his speech Nagin attributed the recent hurricanes striking the United States to a God who is “mad at America” for waging a war in Iraq based on false pretenses. Nagin said God also is upset at the black community for not taking better care of its people….
“We ask black people…. It’s time for us to come together,” said the mayor, who is black.
“It’s time for us to rebuild a New Orleans, the one that should be a chocolate New Orleans,” he said. “And I don’t care what people are saying in Uptown or wherever they are. This city will be chocolate at the end of the day.”
Nagin also said that last year’s devastating hurricanes were signs of God’s wrath.
“Surely God is mad at America,” he said.
I think we finally have the definitive answer to the question of whether we need to take Ray Nagin seriously.