Christian virtues on display as storms rage

Published 6:00 am Friday, September 8, 2017

Harvey, Irma, Jose, Katia.

Four names. Four examples of nature’s power and fury.

For the past few weeks, I’ve watched as these storms have formed and began making their way across the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. Harvey, as we know, caused destruction and death in Texas and Louisiana. Irma is beginning to make her power felt as she moves toward a landfall somewhere, the models predict, in Florida.

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As a Katrina survivor, the images from Harvey were hard to take; when you’ve lived through a major hurricane, many of the scenes you see — especially if you’re a reporter covering it live — are seared in your brain. And they’re even worse when you’re also a survivor.

But there have been other things with this latest series of storms that have bothered me. That’s the audacity of some to blame the storm on something or claim it is the wrath of God because of some alleged sin some region of the country has committed.

I read one online article that said Rush Limbaugh blamed Irma on the Democrats as way to prove global warming. Since Mr. Dumbaugh’s credibility is about as reliable as the current president, I just blow that idea off as a fat man shooting his mouth off to get ratings. If Rush ain’t controversial, no matter how stupid he sounds, he doesn’t get listeners and therefore loses advertisers and is out of a job.

What I find more objectionable is the so-called men of God who are quick to explain storm damage, or any kind of natural disaster, a retribution for cities allowing certain different lifestyles or for any of a number of other sins. That is utterly ridiculous and really in poor taste.

I remember the same things being said about Katrina — that it was punishment for the style of living and the open atmosphere of New Orleans. My response then was what it is now — if that is the case, how come the earth hasn’t opened up and swallowed Las Vegas, which by some accounts is worse than New Orleans or Houston have ever been?

Please forgive my naivete, but I was brought up to believe priests and ministers were supposed to be Christ’s representative on earth. And checking with my dictionary, one of the definitions of Christian is “having the qualities demonstrated and taught by Jesus Christ, as love, kindness, humility.”

Would Jesus declare the suffering of others because of a natural disaster a punishment? My innocent sense of justice would say no. And thankfully there are others who are exercising Christian virtues by reaching out and helping those affected by Harvey, and will be there after Irma to help people in the areas ravaged by her wake.

And I’m glad more people are interested and willing to help their fellow man in time of need instead of someone feeling they need to say something stupid to get attention and boost their so-called image or TV and radio ratings.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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