Dissent Of The Day

by Chris Bodenner

A reader writes:

As a rule I'm pretty amused by your sarcasm, but your bit on "The Hurricane Whisperer" is kind of disgusting. I was even more disgusted after having read the article to which your referred. You conveniently left out the final paragraph, in which Crist says he takes no credit for the lack of hurricanes, but leaves it up to God - not to mention the entire tone of the article, which is light and whimsical. I'm not sure what prompted you to take such a cheap and dishonest shot, and to tie into it the death of a child, but it's bad form and you should know better.

Yeah, it was pretty mean-spirited of me, particularly since Crist is not a politician to readily exploit religion. He deserved the benefit of the doubt. Nevertheless, his caveat was lame, and his invocation of God was tasteless, especially since the hurricane was still raging. But I was probably just as tasteless.

In my defense, this weekend I was stuck on a plane next to a Baptist minister who persistently pushed his faith on me. He had been rushing from a late connecting flight and attributed his nick-of-time arrival to his prayers (the real reason he made the flight was the hurricane, which delayed our take-off to DC). Also, by strange coincidence, a man right in front of me spent an hour trying to convince a hapless woman that his mixture of herbs cures AIDS. The charlatan was quite charming and said he was chosen by God, so who knows how many naive and desperate people he has grafted (he's already been arrested). Thus, when I wrote that post, I had religious exploitation on my mind.

Also by chance, last week I re-read "The Monkey's Paw," a classic short story whose theme is the tragic, unintended consequences of wishing/praying. I recommend it.