Have we made God angry?
Illinois Republican congressional candidate Susanne Atanus is asking you to believe that God is not only highly displeased with us, but that many of the life-threatening illnesses and precarious weather patterns we have been experiencing around the world are the direct result of an “angry God,” a God who means to inflict suffering upon thousands for the choices of wrongdoers.
What could be making God so unhappy, so disappointed, so furious that He would categorically punish so many people in such widespread and catastrophic ways?
The answer is clear and simple, according to Atanus: “We are provoking him with abortions and same-sex marriage and civil unions,” she added, blaming natural disasters like tornadoes and diseases, including autism and dementia, on recent advances in the LGBT movement. “Same-sex activity is going to increase AIDS. If it’s in our military it will weaken our military. We need to respect God.”
It feels almost silly to give Ms. Atanus’s diatribe any thoughtful attention, to shift even for a moment our focus and energy away from the places and people in our world who really need it. But if she believes this, truly believes this — and is publicly asking others to believe it, too — how many other people might there be out there that also feel this way?
Well, apparently even those within her own conservative Republican party aren’t willing to stick their necks out as far as she has and have asked Atanus to drop out of the GOP primary for the 9th Congressional District.
Jack Dorgan, chairman of the Illinois Republican Party, called Susanne Atanus’ comments “offensive.” “She has no place on the ballot as a Republican,” he said. “Her candidacy is neither supported nor endorsed by the leaders of our party, and she should withdraw from the race immediately.”
Adam Robinson, chairman of the Chicago Republican Party, said, “Atanus is not in any way affiliated with any of our efforts in the Chicago GOP, nor have we ever supported, endorsed, or assisted her in any way at any time.”
But Atanus is not budging. She adamantly refuses to drop out of the race, perplexed why the Republican party is not standing behind her.
Is it possible that Ms. Atanus is only boldly verbalizing what many other people are thinking, but are just too afraid to say? Is there that much of a divide between a God who would condemn a person for being gay and a God who would condemn a baby for not being baptized? Are the conservatives who claim to be offended and righteously speaking out against Atanus also denying opportunities — and even God’s unconditional love — to these very same people by creating and defending laws which discriminate and deprive them of equal rights and freedoms?
So how should we react to someone like Ms. Atanus? Do we just ignore the hate-filled tirades and antics? Do we look the other way because these outlandish proclamations just simply do not deserve our recognition and attention? Or do we talk about it, look it squarely in the face, and stand up to people like Susanne Atanus by saying, no, we do not desire to live in the kind of world which supports behaviors which are born out of a belief in an angry God?
What would you do?
(Lisa McCormack is a Feature Editor at The Global Conversation and lives in Orlando, Florida. To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at Lisa@TheGlobalConversation.com.)