Gays don’t cause natural disasters

Guest Column by Chris Paulus

Recently, I became aware of a YouTube video that features the Rabbi Yehuda Levin, a controversial yet established Rabbi in the Brooklyn borough, spreading his ideas about how God is manifesting his wrath in the form of earthquakes.

We are apparently becoming too tolerant of the LGBT community through legislation that allows gay and lesbian couples to be married in certain states. According to Levin, “There is a direct connection between earthquakes and homosexuality.” He continues to mention Haiti’s devastating earthquake and concludes that Haiti experienced more damage because of its high AIDS statistics, despite the fact that AIDS isn’t solely attributed to homosexual behavior. The video has already garnered 43,000 hits in the last five days. I fear this is a growing sentiment in our country and in the religious community and needs to be addressed immediately.

First, why does God only manifest his wrath through natural disasters? Levin only mentions the earthquake that took place near Washington D.C. and Haiti, but is it the reason for the recent Japanese earthquakes and tsunamis? Is homosexuality responsible for the awful floods that took place in Pakistan last year? Hurricane Katrina? Why doesn’t God’s anger show up in rape and murder cases of innocent children? What about all of the innocent, starving people all around the world and the poverty-stricken but God-fearing families?

Furthermore, does God manifest his outrage through other extraterrestrial phenomena, such as black holes, supernovas, comets, solar flares, explosions and the collision of galaxies, just to name a few? Approximately 12 people have been reported dead from our D.C. earthquake and close to 16,000 deaths have been reported as a result of the disasters in Japan. Are God’s actions really legitimized through the deaths of all these innocent people? Earth has been experiencing plenty of natural disasters since its inception, around 4.5 billion years ago. Climate is a very rigid and stable parameter, and when it’s threatened it goes to extreme lengths to maintain equilibrium. It’s a self-correcting system. Earth was doing this kind of stuff way before humans existed, and will continue to do so for a long time, because that’s what it does.

Bring your attention to the words that we use: ‘natural’ disasters, ‘earth’ quakes, etc. The etymology and denotation of these words suggest that these disasters are caused because of geological changes of Earth, which is where more of our energy, thoughts and creativity need to be focused right now. There is plenty of scientific evidence to consider our own impact on the world without supernatural or celestial intervention.

I’m generally tolerant of individuals that practice and associate with organized religion, but these remarks cannot be accepted in an open-minded, contemporary, and arguably civilized population. These kinds of comments are intolerant, unenlightened, narrow-minded and untrue. By proclaiming and condoning these statements, we remove all responsibility for our own actions and dump them on innocent communities and people, such as the LGBT community, which is a loving and wonderful community that is simply asking for equality.

It’s time we rid ourselves of these absurd notions and come together as a species to fight the increasing amount of injustice occurring in all realms right here on Earth. Too many people use the Torah, Quran or the Bible to defend their behavior and bigotry. I managed to make an argument without it, and I challenge you to do the same.

Simply put, use only the brain that God gave you.