This Week’s Patheos Column: Seeing the Hand of God in Natural Disasters

In case you missed it, Pat Robertson believes last week’s East Coast earthquake is a sign from God. According to the Virginia televangelist, the 4-foot crack in the Washington Monument has a spiritual meaning. “It seems to me,” he told his 700 Club audience, that “the Washington Monument is a symbol of America’s power . . . We look at the symbol and we say ‘this is one nation under God.’ Now there’s a crack in it . . . Is that a sign from the Lord? . . . You judge. It seems to me symbolic.”

Robertson is not the only one who has recently connected natural disasters to God’s judgment. In a campaign stop in Florida this week, Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann said that God used the earthquake and hurricane Irene to send a message to politicians in Washington. As far as I have been able to decipher it, the message had something to do with stopping deficit spending and listening to the collective voice of the American people who apparently oppose such spending. (The Bachmann campaign claims that she was, oddly, making these comments about the catastrophes in a light-hearted vein.)

A recent survey found that 40 percent of Americans believe that natural disasters are signs from God. If you believe this, you have much of American history on your side. Let me explain.

Read the rest here.