Joining such distinguished public policy thinkers as Pat Robertson and birther evangelist Joseph Farah in seeing divine political interference in natural disasters, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) said yesterday that Hurricane Irene was a message from God. Speaking Sarasota, Florida, Bachmann suggested God used the hurricane and last week’s earthquake to tell politicians to cut spending, the St. Petersburg Times reports:
“I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me here?’ Listen to the American people because the American people are roaring right now. They know government is on a morbid obesity diet and we’ve got to rein in the spending.”
It’s ironic that God would use a hurricane to send a memo about cutting government spending, considering that the damage it causes it likely going to increase government spending. Meanwhile, religious leaders from disparate faith organizations have come out against further spending cuts on services for the poor.
Conservative radio host Glenn Beck also saw a prophetic communiqué in the back-to-back disasters, even calling the hurricane — which has killed at least 25 people and likely caused tens of billions in damage — a “blessing” because it will remind people to store more food:
How many warnings do you think you’re going to get, and how many warnings do you deserve? This hurricane that is coming thorough the East Coast, for anyone who’s in the East Coast and has been listening to me say ‘Food storage!’ ‘Be prepared!’ […] If you’ve waited, this hurricane is a blessing. It is a blessing. It is God reminding you — as was the earthquake last week — it’s God reminding you you’re not in control.
The Washington Post’s Elizabeth Tenety points out that Beck’s fascination with storing canned goods may stem from his religion. “Beck, one of Mormonism’s most famous converts, is actually touting one of the unique aspects of the Latter-day Saint faith: food storage,” she notes, citing Section 78 of the Doctrine and Covenants revelation which includes the commandment to “organize and establish a storehouse.”
Bachmann’s presidential campaign is already walking back her comments, telling TPM’s Evan McMorris-Santoro, “Obviously she was saying it in jest.”
After the event, a reporter asked Bachmann about the comments. She said: “Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of the victims. This isn’t something that we take lightly. My comments were not meant to be ones that were taken lightly. What I was saying in a humorous vein is there are things happening that politicians need to pay attention to. It isn’t everyday we have an earthquake in the United States.”