Robertson: Victims Could Have Prayed Tornadoes Away

Robertson: Victims Could Have Prayed Tornadoes Away March 8, 2012

Pat Robertson says that the victims of all the deadly tornadoes last week only have themselves to blame because they could have prayed those disasters away if they’d only bothered to do so. He also says they shouldn’t have built houses where tornadoes happen. Remember, he lives in Virginia, where hurricanes hit. He claims to have prayed one away from there, but it actually continued up the coast and hit other places instead.

Robertson continued that the tornadoes may not have happened if people had prayed for divine intervention, “If enough people were praying He would’ve intervened, you could pray, Jesus stilled the storm, you can still storms.” He also told people who live in areas prone to natural disasters that it’s “their fault, not God’s.”

Does he really think there weren’t people praying? As soon as the weather reports hit saying there was a chance of tornadoes, no doubt thousands and thousands of people immediately began praying that it wouldn’t happen. But it did. So what’s the magic number, Pat? The Bible says it’s two, but apparently you think it has to be more. 5,000? 10,000? If 9,999 people pray, will that do it, or is that last person absolutely crucial?

It occurs to me that praying to God is a lot like the White House’s public petition website, where if enough people vote for the administration to address an issue, they will — but the answer is always bullshit.

httpv://youtu.be/rSp7fzgCuqI

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  • How many people die of cancer every year? And with an 80 percent number of supposed Christians in this country it’s obvious that these Christians’ families — and entire churches — are praying against the Satanized cancer cells with no discernible impact on individual patients.

    Funny, someone has a heart attack, goes to the hospital and doctors and modern medical technology saves them before anyone prays for the victim — gawd did it! His brother has cancer and dies, despite hundreds or thousands in some cases, praying for a recovery over many months — gawd’s will (that we should never, ever question).

  • raven

    The fundie heartland is always getting slammed with tornadoes and hurricanes.

    It’s quite clear. God hates fundie xians.

    They never figure it out though.

    And no, prayer wasn’t going to work. If god hates you, he isn’t going to care what you say.

    PS Can you believe Robertson became a billionaire with his ramblings? You would have to give a normal person a lobotomy to get down to his level.

    Robertson also predicted the Great Second Genocide when jesus shows up to kill 7 billion people. He was wrong of course.

  • Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

    I keep praying that people will wake up to the distinction between “may not have” and “might not have”, but does God listen?

  • He also says they shouldn’t have built houses where tornadoes happen.

    At least he’s being a little more consistent. That’s more than the idiots who blamed the people of New Orleans for living in New Orleans can say.

  • anandine

    In addition to her inordinate fondness for beetles, god seems to have a hatred of trailer parks.

  • Chiroptera

    He also told people who live in areas prone to natural disasters that it’s “their fault, not God’s.”

    I haven’t watched the video yet. I might when I get home. But in the meantime, did Robertson really use those words? I mean, holy shit! These tornados occurred right in the Evangelical homeland! Are good Christians really going to stand for one of their leaders basically telling them all to suck it?

    Robertson needs to reread Job. The whole point is that disasters are not necessarily because of any fault on the part of the victim. (Instead, they happen because God and Satan are like the two old guys in Trading Places.)

  • Pardon teh OT, but I gotta say all these ads for Utsav Fashion are a HUGE improvement over the eye-poppingly ugly crap I’ve seen in nearly all the other targeted ads. I’m almost inclined to buy something from them, just to keep the prettier ads coming. Seriously — beautiful women in colorful garb, or badly (and pointlessly) doctored photos of ugly people in ads for grants, loans or other very dubious products? No contest.

  • Lycanthrope

    Wow. Just when I thought I couldn’t hate Pat Robertson any more than I already do…

    He also says they shouldn’t have built houses where tornadoes happen…He also told people who live in areas prone to natural disasters that it’s “their fault, not God’s.”

    Pretty sure comedienne Nikki Payne has a bit about this.

  • I’m not sure why, but this bit of insanity somehow ended up feeling like a first. I’ve known about fundies playing the “blame the victim” game and acting like prayer was self-evidently powerful when it’s not, but something about this made it feel like the first time I ran into complete and utter disconnection from the real world. Maybe it’s because it’s the first time I’ve seen it applied to a natural disaster. I’m used to this combination showing up in a medical context, blaming the victim for not having enough faith to be graced with a cure.

    Of course, Robertson’s imaginary god is an asshole for sending the tornadoes at all. Choosing not to divert them because no one asked makes it worse. Choosing to require the asking be done in a ritualistic manner adds a third level of assholery.

  • carolw

    So why didn’t old Pat pray for the tornadoes to not hit all those good christians? Oh yeah, he’s a compassionless old ghoul.

  • @ 10

    You’d think Pat had gawd on speed dial. Wonder if Pat ever gets tired of doing all the talking in those conversations?

  • greg1466

    I seem to remember seeing a headline/stories about an entire family that died. Instead of taking shelter in a more substantial place, they were in a prayer circle in their mobile home…

  • Holy crap!

    “Pat Robertson Says Marijuana Use Should be Legal”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/08/us/pat-robertson-backs-legalizing-marijuana.html?_r=2&hp

  • yoav

    It’s not that they weren’t praying its just that the people in the next town prayed harder so they managed to push the tornado away and into their neighbor’s home.

  • LightningRose

    Is it a coincidence that Tornado Alley runs up the center of the Bible Belt?

    I think not! Clearly, it’s Yahweh’s retribution for bigotry and intolerance!

  • Sastra

    He also told people who live in areas prone to natural disasters that it’s “their fault, not God’s.”

    Well for crying out loud, what area in the US is not “prone to natural disasters?” Including “tornadoes” into the mix now brings in most of the country that’s been more or less exempt from earthquake and hurricane. One might as well blame people for living in an area where they knew lightening could strike — and yet here he is pretending like he’s scolding someone who went ahead and built a house on a flood plain, against city code.

    As for the power of prayer increasing with the numbers who pray, I’ve always admired the way Bishop John Shelby Spong lost his belief in prayer after his wife got cancer, many prayed, and she went into remission. People told him how lucky she was, as the wife of a Bishop, to be able to have so many prayers. God had thus answered.

    Spong thought to himself “what? This means that, had I been an obscure auto mechanic instead, she would have died. I can’t believe in a God like that. Nor do I want to.”

    I have to give him credit, for thinking things through even after an apparent healing. It would have been so easy, and so tempting, to see it as a faith-confirming sign of God’s love.

  • Well for crying out loud, what area in the US is not “prone to natural disasters?”

    Montana and Idaho. Or so the survivalists say at least.

  • Chris from Europe

    Does he really think there weren’t people praying?

    He must know better as there were such stories contradicting him in the news. Of course, telling the truth doesn’t exactly help his vile message.

    I don’t understand, especially in one case of reported victims, why people stay in weak structures like mobile homes instead of seeking better shelter.

    People don’t need to leave the region. There must be appropriate building codes etc. When something similar happened last year, the argument was that appropriate standards cost too much.

  • Sastra

    Raging Bee #17 wrote:

    Montana and Idaho.

    I don’t know about that. I’ve heard those states are prone to having survivalists.

  • eric

    Montana and Idaho. Or so the survivalists say at least.

    You mean the state sitting on top of the world’s largest supervolcano, and the one next to it?

  • @13: Yeah, saw that a couple hours ago, and I’m still looking for my jaw where it bounced under the furniture…..

    But then along comes this little demonstration of reversion to the mean, and my faith in Robertson to be absolutely insane and vile is restored.

  • abear

    fifthdentist @13; The first time I saw that I had to be careful to dodge flying pigs while I was checking the weather conditions in Hell.

  • Olav

    Even from the other side of planet Terra it is obvious that mr. Robertson is a person who should best be ignored completely. By everyone. Forever.

    However,

    Ed:

    He also says they shouldn’t have built houses where tornadoes happen.

    I can’t help but think that Mr. Robertson has a tiny bit of a point there. Year after year we see pictures of tornado-stricken towns in America on the web. Almost always these pictures are of wooden homes that are completely flattened, whole streets/blocks of them. Very dramatic. It does make me wonder whether people who live in such houses really expect them to stand up against the violence of tornadoes. Or whether we are seeing only the poorest areas in the pictures, where people can’t afford more sturdy housing.

  • @23: “Tornado Alley” covers a pretty good swath of the American Midwest, with a lower-risk area extending hundreds of miles beyond it (even here in the Ottawa valley, we get a tornado every few years). So there’s not much that can be done, beyond sturdier construction. Short of building everything from poured concrete, I think that mostly consists in attaching roofs to walls to floors to foundations with something more pull-out resistant than twist nails.

  • Holy crap!

    “Pat Robertson Says Marijuana Use Should be Legal”

    I just posted a piece on this myself. A spokesman later “clarified” that he was just advocating for decriminalization, but it’s a welcome development all the same.

    I had to laugh, though, when he placed the blame for too many Americans languishing in jail on the “liberal mindset” of big government. If there is any one issue that has united American conservatives more than anything else its their desire to be “tough on crime” to the exclusion of everything else. Even Grover Norquist accepts this to be the case and has been calling for a sea change in conservative attitudes toward prison reform (i.e. let’s have some!).

  • llewelly

    Why didn’t Robertson pray the tornadoes away?

  • Olav @23:

    I can’t help but think that Mr. Robertson has a tiny bit of a point there. Year after year we see pictures of tornado-stricken towns in America on the web. Almost always these pictures are of wooden homes that are completely flattened, whole streets/blocks of them. Very dramatic. It does make me wonder whether people who live in such houses really expect them to stand up against the violence of tornadoes.

    Adding to Eamon Knight at 23, I’ve never even heard of anyone building a tornado-proof home. A direct hit by a strong tornado can knock down just about anything. And there is also the flying debris problem.

    USA Today:

    For a home to be “tornado-proof,” according to a wind research center online report, the walls, roof, windows, doors and garage doors would have to be “missile-resistant” to halt penetration by flying debris, and the connections of the structural elements would need to be capable of withstanding 250 mph wind pressures.

    Might as well live in bomb shelter, eh?

    I live north of tornado alley in Chicago, and still tornado watches and warnings come so frequently during the late summer and autumn that you can’t really pay them much attention unless it starts to look like all hell is breaking loose outside and the tornado siren directly across the street, as it happens, starts blaring. That happened only once in eight years at our current residence and nothing came of it.

    Once in a great while, here, a tornado will do some serious damage and cause some deaths, but the reality is that even in tornado alley, the odds that you’ll ever see your neighborhood leveled are pretty remote.

    As for the deficient prayer explanation for tornadoes, I would note that most often they touch down and damage relatively small areas. Was it just the people on Maple street who weren’t praying enough?

  • llewelly

    You mean the state sitting on top of the world’s largest supervolcano, and the one next to it?

    Bah. No sense getting excited about an annual chance of eruption that is on the order of 1/700,000 .

    The biggest danger in that area is colliding with a large ungulate whilst driving too fast.

  • quagmire

    Speaking of prayer and tornadoes, this video is quite spectacular:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxgbRXyFPMg

    Praying sorta worked for this lady – the tornado ripped her porch off but she was unharmed. Many of her neighbors, of course, were not so fortunate.

  • Bronze Dog @ #9:

    Of course, Robertson’s imaginary god[‘s c]hoosing not to divert [the tornadoes] because no one asked makes it worse.

    Perhaps it’s an opt-out sort of deal. When you sign up for communications from God, you have to pay attention to the check-boxes and un-check the ones that you don’t want.

    – Yes, I’d like to receive news about special offers for believers and bigots.

    – Yes, I’d like to be added to your mailing list in perpetuity.

    – Yes, I’d like to be the victim of randomly-generated weather events.

    – Yes, I’d like to receive the exclusive Mirculous Visions and Revelations service. (Extra fees apply)

  • wheatdogg

    I used to live not 15 minutes away from Henryville, Indiana, and drove through it many times on my way home. It’s a tiny little town with tons of God-fearing people who probably pray every Sunday, and many times in between going to church. Now, their junior-senior high school is totally destroyed and many homes have been reduced to toothpicks. The twister that hit Henryville had winds of up to 200 mph, say the experts. Off the charts.

    Pay Robertson can just shove it up his ass.