May 6, 2011 3:21:00 PM
Storm clouds are all around us these days. Literal or symbolic, we are in the midst of eruptions made by God and made by man.
I suppose many of us in Columbus have a bit of survivor guilt, and a "whew, that was close," attitude about the recent tornados. The twisters that leveled Smithville, and did almost irreparable damage to Tuscaloosa, flew directly over our head. One slight dip in wind currents would have been devastating to the Golden Triangle. Truly, we were lucky.
However, according to the Westboro Baptist Church these areas were hit because the residents, " ... turned to serve other gods, incurring God''s wrath!" This is a quote from their blog of May 1, entitled "Praise God for the Storms Down South That Keep on Giving!" (blogs.sparenot.com)
You may remember this Topeka, Kan., church for their anti-gay protests at military funerals and their belief that Obama is the antichrist. They carry signs that claim "God hates fags" and "God hates America." Which begs the question, how is it that they have a direct line to God? I''ve been searching for that all my life. And, if God is communicating with man, why are all his messages about hate?
Theses tornadoes have opened some old wounds from my history with a killer storm. The Katrina scars were bad enough on their own. But the ignorant comments were hurtful, as well.
People have often asked why we were dumb enough to live in an area prone to hurricanes.
I wish that I knew a really safe place to live. Where is there no threat from the wrath of Mother Nature? It seems that every place has at least one thing to fear -- hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, floods. Who is really protected?
Edgar Casey, "The Sleeping Profit," declared that Virginia Beach was the safest place to live. Alas, he was wrong this time. Two tornadoes touched town there last week, causing lots of damage.
Some people alleged that New Orleans was destroyed because it is a "sin city." This argument makes it hard to explain why the French Quarter (ground zero for decadence) was untouched. At the same time, working-class neighborhoods were decimated.
Tragedy is random. It is not judgmental, or filled with vengeance. Certainly, not since Sodom and Gomorrah, can any place that was ever hit with a natural catastrophe be considered 100 percent sinful. All sorts of people live together, good, bad and mostly in-between. In Smithville and Tuscaloosa there are likely a greater number of believers per capita than many other cities.
I do, however, have some advice for those who genuinely want to help. Give to those who are directly affected. It takes a long time for donations to filter through agencies, no matter how well meaning they are. You may know a relative of one of the victims, or a friend, who can deliver your gift. Most of all, keep your opinions to yourself. The victims deserve that, and will bless you.
By the way, God just called; he promises to bless you for your silence, too.
Adele Elliott, a New Orleans native, moved to Columbus after Hurricane Katrina.