First, an earthquake struck the Washington, D.C., area, then Hurricane Irene pelted the Northeast, but GOP presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann’s thunderous weather comments caused another kind of quaking.
That the Minnesota politician-turned-weather interpreter saw the hand of the Almighty in the storms isn’t a shocker. She’s a devout Christian. Even not-so-devout believers embrace the idea that nature is God’s handiwork.
It’s just those other people don’t make you want to batten down the hatches to escape a politically far afield interpretation of changing atmospheric conditions. Bachmann, on the other hand, said the Almighty wanted to shake up Washington.
"I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of politicians," she said, while campaigning over the weekend in Florida, the St. Petersburg Times reported. But wouldn’t God know that Congress is away on summer recess?
Never mind. That’s logical thinking. Bachmann said God stormed into northeast to let politicians know they better open their ears.
"Listen to the American people because the American people are roaring right now," she said. "They know the government is on a morbid obesity diet and we’ve got to rein in the spending."
In other words, God unleashed a violent storm that killed at least 27 Americans in eight states because politicians weren’t listening to regular people — like those who died.
And you thought Irene was mean. Do you think the parents of 20-year-old Celena Sylvestri want to hear that their daughter drowned in her car while fleeing to safety because God wanted to let off some political steam?
Given that logic, should we believe that Texas is suffering from a drought because God wanted to warn Americans about Rick Perry, who just held a big rally pleading for the Almighty to send rain?
That’s not just bad theology, but cruel and irresponsible political rhetoric.
The public outcry over Bachmann’s words prompted her handlers to issue a clumsy statement that went something like this: Just kidding.
But was she? For that matter, is death and destruction something to kid about?
God may or may not be in the wind but, on this matter, Bachmann was clearly a windbag.
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Susan Hogan is a Star Tribune editorial writer.