There have been floods, and some people have died. In one tragic incident a man got his foot stuck in a drain and, despite a 4 hour attempt to free him, the waters rose and he drowned. A school boy was swept away by a river. Neither of them were gay.
The Bishop of Carlisle, Graham Dow, commented on Sunday that the floods were "a direct consequence of mankind’s lack of respect for each other, for the planet and for God."
This much I would actually agree with. Proper respect for one another and the environment would have meant our weather patterns were not altered and these freak weather events would not be happening with such frequency or ferocity.
What I find disappointing is Dow's linking of this to judgement. He goes on:
“This is a strong and definite judgment because the world has been arrogant in going its own way. We are reaping the consequences of our moral degradation, as well as environmental damage. We are in serious moral trouble because every type of lifestyle is now regarded as legitimate. In the Bible, institutional power is referred to as ’the beast’, which sets itself up to control people and their morals. Our government has been playing the role of God in saying that people are free to act as they want. The sexual orientation regulations (which give greater rights to gays) are part of a general scene of permissiveness. We are in a situation where we are liable for God’s judgment, which is intended to call us to repentance."
I'm afraid I simply don't buy the line that God sends disasters which kill indiscriminately in order to force particular people to change their behaviour. It's an angry, violent image of God that I just don't believe holds up with the pattern we see Christ living out.
Plus it's one that puts people right off faith - see blog reaction here and here. "Thank God for nutters" "Ha ha ha I tell you they really are clutching at straws to try and make people believe in their ridiculous heirarchal one male god story telling Xtian bullshit" The Independent even compares him with a suicide bomber.
Nice work Graham. Really helped out here.