America's favorite caricature, Rev. Pat Robertson, has been notably absent from Deep Thought for a few months (since declaring that Ariel Sharon's stroke was a punishment from God.)
In fact, since the search feature on Blogger seems to have broken down and limits searches to recent posts, I've been working on compiling an index of old posts (which I will post when it is complete) and it is remarkable how faithful Pat is. Faithful as in, whenever he hasn't shot his mouth off for a couple of months, he shoots it off again, just like clockwork. I've gotten him on the Sharon comment, on his saying that black people will only vote for white Democrats if they are named, 'Bubba,' on his proposing the assassination of Hugo Chavez, and on his telling residents of Dover, PA not to pray to God in the case of a natural disaster because they have 'rejected God' (by voting for a school board which did not want to waste any more of the district's money by pushing that Intelligent Design be taught as science rather than a religious doctrine.) I've also blogged on the incident post-Katrina when FEMA briefly helped funnel monetary donations to Pat, and on the questionable African business dealings of his charity.
Compared to some of this, what he said this time was a relatively tame and low level 'Faux Pat.'
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- The Rev. Pat Robertson says God has told him that storms and possibly a tsunami will hit America's coastline this year.
The founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network has told viewers of "The 700 Club" that the revelations came to him during his annual personal prayer retreat in January.
"If I heard the Lord right about 2006, the coasts of America will be lashed by storms," Robertson said May 8.
He added specifics in Wednesday's show.
"There well may be something as bad as a tsunami in the Pacific Northwest," he said.
Storms on the Atlantic coast? Every year the U.S. gets hit by a hurricane or two, and the Atlantic coast is more often a target than even the Gulf Coast (last year being a particularly nasty and freakishly unnatural year). Further, the devastation of last year, while unlikely to be repeated in terms of its magnitude, is just a 'high' year of what we are now moving into-- a very active hurricane cycle, compounded by the effects of global warming which has heated the surface temperatures of tropical waters and thereby helps strengthen hurricanes. Pat may have heard this from God, but he could have asked any meteorologist and the meteorologist would have said the same thing.
As to the tsunami prediction, that is more interesting. First, of course, we should note that Pat said, "MAY be something as bad as a tsunami."
First, didn't God tell him if there would or not? True, in scripture there are times when the Lord promises some sort of destruction contingent on the repentance of the people, but Pat didn't seem to be tying this to repentance. I guess he has learned by some of his past mistakes and is hedging just a bit.
As far as that there may be a tsunami in the Pacific Northwest, you don't need to go to God to learn that either. Earthquakes are quite common around the Pacific, and as such while in any given year the chances are quite a bit higher that there won't be a tsunami than that there will, it is one of those events that sooner or later will happen. So Pat is saying that something may happen, which is what any planetary geologist will tell you too.
But even if it does, there is not too much reason to worry. For one thing, since tsunamis in general are quite common in the Pacific, the international community has put in place an early warning system in the Pacific (a system which was tragically lacking in the Indian Ocean a year and a half ago). So it is likely that most communties could be evacuated. That is especially true in the Pacific Northwest, where the combination of a sparsely populated coastline, the presence of the coastal ranges immediately behind that coastline, and population centers that are located behind the coastal ranges on inlets and (in the case of Portland) river valleys, meaning that a tsunami when it does hit this area (where I've been several times, and where my wife and I took part of our honeymoon) is likely to cause few or even no deaths. There could be some property damage, but with only small communities along the coast, it is likely that the effects would be localized and nothing like the scale of the tragedy that we saw in Asia.
It would be easy to dismiss this clown as just a clown, except that there are at least a million (and according to his organization as many as seven million) people who listen to him every day and do what he says and vote like he tells them to. In that context, this 'nut' has to be taken seriously.