My cartoon and post last week “Other Tragedies in the Wake of the Tornadoes”, referring to the theological pronouncements following the Oklahoma tornadoes, got a lot of traffic.
Most of the time I assume theologians mean well and that they believe their intentions are sincere. But being well-meaning and sincere doesn’t seem to prevent harmful things from being said.
John Piper’s tweets are still stirring up a storm. I’m not satisfied with the explanations he and his team have put out. It is, after all, consistent with his theology that God uses tornadoes to warn and punish. Rachel Held Evans offered an apology for her reasoned response to Piper’s tweets that in my opinion was humble and kind but unnecessary.And Wolf Blitzer’s asking an atheist, “do you thank the Lord?” has received lots of attention.
The comedian Ricky Gervais, after learning that many stars were sending their prayers to Oklahoma, responded, “I feel like an idiot now. I only sent money.”
Care should be taken when famous people open their mouths to make theological statements. I just did a cartoon the other day when the pope announced that even atheists are redeemed and then Catholic theologians followed it up with some fine backpedaling. This incident has raised the question of whether or not Pope Francis is a heretic.
I have to be sensitive and aware of the impact my work and words can have on people. For example, the other day I posted a cartoon “Women Should Carry Rape Insurance?” (TRIGGER WARNING: rape scene). It hurt some women who had been raped and they asked me if I could please provide a trigger warning next time. Advice taken. It was insensitive of me to post that cartoon without a warning.
Yes, our mouths can create their own storms.