Here I am in NYC. Hurricane Sandy is doing its worst. My son and his family are safe. I’m cuddled up with the cats and a good book. And I’ve been wondering when one of the religious zealots would come out of the woodwork. I didn’t have to wait long. I took a break from my Agatha Christie and here’s what I found, compliments of Pastor John McTernan:

God is systematically destroying America. Just look at what has happened this year.
There was an incredible heatwave (sic) and drought that destroyed massive amounts of the crops. This drought has not let up and now covers about 65 percent of the country.
The drought triggered record forest fires in the West.
The East was not affected by the drought, but now the most powerful hurricane on record is heading directly towards Philadelphia and New York City. It could do catastrophic damage to the entire Northeast!
If you add the area of the drought and now the hurricane together, it would be about 80 percent of the country! As I said, the Holy God of Israel is systematically destroying America right before our eyes.
Just last August, Hurricane Isaac hit New Orleans seven years later, on the exact day of Hurricane Katrina. Both hit during the week of the homosexual event called Southern Decadence in New Orleans!

My first instinct was to laugh. But then I remembered that many people believe this sort of thing. And the hatred of queer people spreads. Cult expert Robert Jay Lifton, MD talks about a mind control technique called “sacred science.” In “Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism” Lifton writes:

While thus transcending ordinary concerns of logic…the milieu at the same time makes an exaggerated claim of airtight logic, of absolute “scientific” precision. Thus the ultimate moral vision becomes an ultimate science; and the man who dares to criticize it, or to harbor even unspoken alternative ideas, becomes not only immoral and irreverent, but also “unscientific.”

McTernan’s logic will seem scientific and irrefutable to his faithful followers. His blog post provides believers with an unimpeachable (in their eyes) logical explanation of America’s meteorological woes. You’ll never convince the pastor’s followers that their nonsensical beliefs are nonsense.

But we can teach children. So here’s the first point: Teach your children that bad weather isn’t God’s judgment. It isn’t a judgment against homosexuals or anyone else. Then, teach them what hurricanes actually are. offers this simple explanation that you can share with your kids:

Hurricanes only form over really warm ocean water of 80°F or warmer. The atmosphere (the air) must cool off very quickly the higher you go. Also, the wind must be blowing in the same direction and at the same speed to force air upward from the ocean surface. Winds flow outward above the storm allowing the air below to rise.

More power to science!

Hal W. Lanse, PhD. Is the author of “Erasing Reason: Inside Aesthetic Realism – A Cult That Tried to Turn Queer People Straight.”

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