Hurricanes, natural disasters, Kirk Cameron, Jim Bakker, Kat Kerr, spiritual abuse
Have you noticed whenever there is a natural disaster, certain Christian leaders take advantage of the tragedy and promote their “stuff?”
Huffington Post posted an example in an article about Jim Bakker and his guest, Rick Joyner:
Disgraced televangelist Jim Bakker claims Hurricane Harvey was God’s “judgment” on the city of Houston, where the storm killed at least 60 and left thousands homeless.
And naturally, he used his gloom-and-doom scenario as part of a sales pitch to sell his buckets of instant apocalypse food.
“I have felt ― and I was afraid to share it with anybody ― that this flood is from God,” he said on Monday in a clip posted online by Right Wing Watch. “It’s a judgment on America somehow.”
His guest, “prophet” Rick Joyner, agreed.
You can now give one Bucket to Hurricane Harvey victims and then get one for your own End Times stockpiling for the price of $175. Guess who is profiting from this?
And then there are those who use natural disasters to promote their brand of doctrine, or in this case, a special prayer to get the hurricane to change directions. Here is The Kat Kerr announcing a training session on commanding the storm to downgrade. Alrighty, then!
Here is the 3rd session she posted just 4 hours ago.
I don’t have a problem with people praying and asking God to protect them from the storm, but to act like God and command the storm? I don’t think so. (Source)
Yesterday, I got upset after seeing that someone close to me had posted a video about Kirk Cameron on Facebook, claiming it was a good message about God and hurricanes. Well, it’s good if you view God as an abuser who doesn’t mind tragedies and loss of life. Here, Kirk is trying to “win souls” by using Hurricane Irma’s unleashing storm in the Caribbean and soon, the United States.
This is fear mongering. I find it to be spiritually abusive. It paints God out to be an evil monster and abuser.
I had to vent on my Facebook page:
One of my friends posted this and I think he may be on to something:
There is absolutely a connection between people who describe God in abusive spouse/parent terms, people who are abusive spouses/parents, and people who cover for abusive spouses/parents. It’s not surprising that abuse runs rampant in churches when so many of them embrace the theology of a manipulative, mean-spirited bully god.
My heart and prayers are with people who are suffering from natural disasters like the recent hurricanes, fires, earthquakes. Please know that God is not happy when you are suffering pain.
A friend of mine was equally disturbed with Kirk Cameron’s words and sent me this from Bibleinfo.com:
When God came to earth in the form of man He did nothing to hurt people, only to help them. Jesus said, “For the Son of Man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them” (Luke 9:56). He said, “Many good works have I shown you from My Father. For which of those works do ye stone Me?” (John 10:32). He says, “. . . it is not the will of your Father who is in Heaven that one of these little ones should perish” (Matt. 18:14).
44 thoughts on “Hurricanes: How Christian Leaders Use and Abuse During Tragedies”
And a little more of the weird and wonderful–people actually went out to the beach in Jacksonville to pray Irma away. They actually believe they can command the storm to leave! I pray that God will spare the people of Florida from any undue effects, but He has to show His power over the storm. I currently don’t have that kind of power!
I don’t normally bring up anything political just to bring up anything political, so I hope what I write here does not offend or annoy anyone.
(For the record, I don’t care who you voted for in the 2016 election. I didn’t not vote for anyone.)
Not only am I disturbed to see Christians such as Kirk Cameron and others claiming to know why we are getting hurricanes, or what God’s purposes or motivations are in allowing hurricanes, but I’ve lately been seeing this occur among secular, liberal entertainers, and rank and file liberals.
I’ve been seeing headlines of actors saying that Trump (!!!) is to blame for the hurricanes, and/or folks who voted for Trump are to blame (!!!), while average, ordinary (non celebrity) people on Twitter have been saying things like they hope that the homes of Trump voters are demolished in hurricane Irma.
Here’s one example of what I mean:
Jennifer Lawrence (Movie Actress) Says Hurricanes Are Punishment For Electing Trump
I don’t care if you disagree with Trump’s views or politics, that’s all fine by me, but really, to say you’re hoping that conservatives die from hurricanes, or Trump voters die, or people who don’t share your views on Global Warming die, is just appalling.
This rhetoric isn’t just coming from Christians (like Pat Robertson, Kirk Cameron) now, but it’s also coming from people who are really un-hinged in their dislike of right wing people or of Trump. It’s very creepy.
FWIW, I’m a right winger and didn’t care for Hillary Clinton, but I don’t want to see the homes of Clinton voters destroyed by Hurricanes Harvey or Hurricane Irma!!
People are messed up to use natural disasters to curse people or mock them if they die, are injured, or lose their homes – it’s sick.
I wish everyone would stop doing it – religious people, political people, whomever else.
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Above, I wrote:
“I didn’t not vote for anyone.”
Heh, that’s a double negative, unintentional on my part, a typing mistake.
I meant to say I did NOT vote for anyone in the 2016 election.
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Thank you Julie Anne for calling out the big names in the Jeezus-Bizz who want to return people of faith to the fear and superstition of Medieval Times.
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I am glad I left my old church! Back in 2005, they thought Katrina was God’s Judgment on New Orleans for Mardi Gras (or some gay event planned, later due to Bush’s not being supportive enough of Israel
‘s Right Wing/most hawkish sector). They also thought the 2010 earthquake was God’s Judgment on Haiti for voodoo.
Let’s just say that when I read about spiritual abuse, much of it described this church (and stories my friends told further matched the descriptions), and covered spousal abuse. (My one friend told me her mom was told to put on make-up.)
Oh, I remember hearing about voodoo being the reason for the Haiti earthquake. Is it any wonder so many have no need for church or even God?
Pat Robertson also claimed Haiti was dedicated to Satan to get rid of the French. The pastor of our church dismissed Robertson’s critics, saying that those in the spirit (TM) know he’s right.
What actually happened was there was a ceremony in honor of a spirit, and a priestess told them to “throw off the white god who only desires our tears”. (The French enslaved the Haitians, and used Christianity to justify it.)
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I’m going to end up posting a stream of comments. My first, however, is a reply to the post…
First, a response to the Jim Baker, Kirk Cameron “Maybe God is trying to tell us something”
In the Old Testament, when God had something to say to Israel, he said it with prophets… Before the event happened… And sometimes even then, the situation changed (Nebuchadnezzar’s win over Tyre and Sidon) and God had a “do over”…
My point being, there was no doubt about the reason for the disaster if God was involved… In Luke 13, Jesus addresses two incidences where disasters hit the people of Israel, the first was the killing of Galileans when their blood was mixed with Roman sacrifices, the second was those that were killed when the tower of Siloam fell. Jesus then asked, “Were these people more guilty than those here?” This was followed by a warning of “But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
All this was followed by a parable…
Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’
“‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’”
I guess my point is, there seems to be a warning of why the disaster happens, not just something that a speaker can use as a warning against God’s wrath.
Linn: I’ve been in one situation and had a friend tell me of another where the weather was changed because of, I believe, prayer.
I was helping with a Christian music festival about a decade ago. In Denver area, it’s not unusual for storms to roll through the area in the summer evenings. The organizers were watching the weather and a call went out over the radios to pray that the approaching storm would not bother the festival as the prior day, they needed to reset nearly all the grounds as it’d been blown about by the wind.
The storm split and went both south and north of us. This was even mentioned on a weather broadcast on the 10:00 news as an odd occurrence…
seekeroftruthweb & Julie Anne,
From our ?friend? John Piper: http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-tornado-the-lutherans-and-homosexuality
His claim is that the tornado that hit the Luthern Church in Minneapolis while they were talking about “human sexuality”.
Another pastor up there, one I’m more aligned with spiritually (Greg Boyd), suggested that if God it using tornados to enact judgement, that he really must have it out for the Bible belt of Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri.
All of this blathering by Kirk Cameron, Jim Bakker, Kat Kerr, et al is nothing more than self promotion. The ones who are having a real impact in these situations you will never hear about. They’re too busy rescuing, rebuilding, feeding, comforting, and providing for the victims of disasters. “Which of these . . . do you think was a neighbor to the man . . ?”
And about praying against storms, I once prayed for my family who was in the direct path of a hurricane. It shifted at the end and hit east of them. Do you think I felt any better that another area was devastated? Nope. I don’t believe for one second that God would rather those people be hurt than my family. Stuff happens.It gives us an opportunity to love our neighbors.
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Kevin Swanson used his radio show on 9/7 to declare that the Supreme Court needed to reverse Obergefell and Roe v. Wade or face the wrath of God. I find it comical that he thinks the judges of the Supreme Court would actually listen to him, and if by chance they did, that God would suddenly stop the hurricane.
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This guy is an ex pastor who has had his own Christian TV show for the last several years:
James Robison Says God Is Speaking Through Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, Implores Christians to Pray
At least he’s not blaming people.
Usually, guys such as Pat Robertson, John Piper or John Hagee (pastor in San Antonio with his own TV show) blame natural disasters on stuff such as gay marriage or the USA not being supportive enough of Israel.
Maybe God is not speaking through any or most of these storms, but they are just a natural out-come of living in a fallen world.
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Here’s another secular example (it’s not just odd ball Christians who are doing this sort of thing, but people with axes to grind):
Handful of Leftists Call Irma Karma for ‘Climate Deniers’
I think people in general should stop acting like hurricanes and tornados are oddball things that can only be a sign/result of our actions. They are what they are. We should deal with them as they come and do our best to protect people in their path, and help afterwards.
Franklin Graham has chipped in too, kind of:
Franklin Graham on Hurricanes, Fires, Earthquakes: World Needs to Prepare for Jesus Christ’s Return (on Christian Post)
Depending on what your prophecy view is, increasing numbers of natural disasters coming closer together was one sign Jesus gave as indicating his return.
Snippets from the page (on Christian Post):
“… We command that storm… in the name of Jesus, you will go off to the ocean, you will bounce off in a direction away from the coast… we don’t have to accept this destruction. And we’ll see it wobble and [sound effect] off to the ocean it goes, out into the open ocean it goes…
Read more at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2017/09/07/pastor-lance-wallnau-i-command-hurricane-irma-to-go-back-into-the-ocean/#PZdDr6x5V0ejxpBw.99“
I’ve been hearing this my whole life, about literally everything that happens. Forgive me if I completely tune it out now.
There is something in the bible that says ‘no man will know’ and that’s my goto ‘pfft’ proof text for this since I was a teenager!
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Laurie is a pastor:
Greg Laurie Asks: Is God Trying to Get Our Attention With Hurricanes and North Korea?
Yes, Jesus says no man knows the (specific) date, but he did never- the- less say that non-stop natural disasters (among a few other indicators) were a general sign of his return.
(If you’re a full preterist, you would say that stuff was already fulfilled. I’m a futurist, so no, with me.
But I don’t really care what prophetic view people adhere to. I’m just mentioning this in passing.)
What I tune out are all prophecy-obsessed Christian-based Israel-related warnings. I’m not saying they are completely untrue, but I’ve heard them since childhood.
Example: every time something happens in the Middle East, like when Iran began sending missiles into Israel in the late 1990s, pastor John Hagee made like Fred Sanford, grabbing his chest as though he’s having a heart attack,
Yeah, well, Hagee, every day, a Muslim somewhere in some part of the world, including national leaders, is declaring hate, Jihad, and destruction of Israel, and it’s been going on since I was a kid in the 1970s, so what else is new?
Julie Anne, regarding your Ray Comfort / Hurricane Tweet.
My rant here is bit tangential, I hope this is okay – it’s still kind of related, though.
Comfort has this certain form of evangelization which I find annoying the older I get. I used to watch his TV show, “Way of the Master,” and in the last few years, he’s been releasing a new movie every so often, which touches on whatever the latest cultural concern it.
Comfort exploits this stuff as a selling point for the Gospel, which I find distasteful or annoying.
I know from his view, Comfort probably thinks he’s doing a good thing because he feels he is solving people’s problems by pointing them to the Gospel, but in the end scheme of things….
It seems to cheapen Gospel, and I don’t think the Gospel is the solution for every single problem or pain a person has in life.
For instance, in the last few years, more and more news articles and studies have been published showing that depression and suicide are on the increase in the United States.
So, a few months ago, Comfort released a movie called “Exit The Final Solution,” or something, and he went the rounds on Christian shows to promote it.
I watched parts of his “Exit” movie. Basically, his solution for anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts (things of which I’ve endured over my life), is to believe in and trust Jesus as savior.
(Of course, the Gospel does not heal or cure suicide or depression for most people, which I’ve blogged on before over at my Daisy blog.).
Now that hurricanes Irma and Harvey have been in the news, of course Comfort exploits that to sell the Gospel.
Three weeks from now, if the big cultural or national concern is burnt waffles with blueberries turning moldy and stale maple syrup, you can expect Comfort to push a booklet or movie about how….
Jesus fixes all waffles, and if you just accept the Gospel, your maple syrup will never be stale ever again, and your blue berries will always be fresh and delicious.
it’s like the Gospel is a product to him, and it can fix ANYTHING (like Duct Tape), if you just hop on board and try it. I consider this false advertising.
And can I say that in light of Taylor Swift recently being in the news all over the place in the last two weeks for her “Look what you made me do” song that I am shocked that Ray Comfort did not exploit that in some fashion to hawk Jesus or the Gospel.
Where is his cheesy video where his side kick, Kirk Cameron, is disco dancing in the background while Swift’s music to LWYMMD song is playing and he says to the viewer,
“Yes, look at what you made Jesus do! Your sins nailed him to the cross… and Christianity doesn’t believe in Karma Karma, that would be Hinduism with all its Drama Drama…”
I would not be surprised if some stupid trendy mega church has not already done that very thing – got their cheese ball “worship” band to do a cover of Taylor Swift’s song during a church service, but switch the lyrics out to mention Jesus or something like that.
So, so cheesy.
(Some mega church should hire me to come up with ideas like this. I think I could be fairly decent at doing cheese ball cultural rip offs and making them quasi- churchy.)
There have been natural disasters forever. There have been hurricanes floods earthquakes (people really do freak out at earthquakes!) volcanos…Going back thousands of years. I refuse to freak out about them.
And practically, what is the point? Jesus is coming or he isn’t. Why stress about it? Just live your life.
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That’s not what Jesus was indicating, though. Yes, there have always been natural disasters…
But Jesus was saying when those natural disasters appear to be increasing in frequency and coming close together (and I think he also stated severity?), that would be a sign.
(I don’t stress out about if Jesus or coming or not.)
Daisy, I’m pretty sure his ministry is also his paycheck. So there’s, that.
When all you have is an End Time Prophecy hammer…
(I saw way too much of this in the heyday of Hal Lindsay.)
When all you have is a Sinner’s Prayer hammer…
(Which also boosts your sales record at the Great White Throne; the more converts the bigger your crown of glory.)
I don’t blame anyone for that. I live in Earthquake Central. I hate them.
Certainly I don’t blame you! I just meant earthquakes = end times to a certain crowd.
We get tornados all the time and they are scary but different because they just kind of pop down, bam, and then are gone. Although a few years ago we had one on the ground for 30 miles or something which was pretty crazy.
Well I think the Lord is clearly trying to tell us something: Stop listening to these idiots !
Not to infer that anyone here does, did or will in the future but speaking more to the horrific level of gullibility within the church. It’s not just these ” big name” goobers & gooberites either. Some of the crap coming from local pulpits is just as bad. The level of hatred I hear expressed towards gay, lesbian and trans folks is heartbreaking. I wonder if these folks even know God, are we not commanded to reach the lost with the gospel ? How can we hate those we are commanded to share the gospel with ? Much of Christianity is just flat out off the rails right now. This is not the faith of my grandparents. It is not the ” be ye kind ” I was taught when I was 3 years old in Sunday school. Christianity has become a political agenda, a polarizing force of self righteousness and a ” safe space” to hide your perfect little family from reality. The church has failed and it’s just as much my fault as anyone. We have allowed our leaders, preachers and churchOCRATs to pervert the church.
This Kat Kerr is a new one for me, never heard of her so I googled. O boy is she out there. Claims God has given her tours of heaven many times over the last 20 years and given her a mission to tell us certain things. Great, another nutjob delivering special messages from Jesus. I watch a few YouTube videos of her and I can’t believe any adult would take her serious. She is there with her pink Strawberry shortcake look a like hair and that’s enough right there to make you run.
Over the weekend, I was checking the YouTube livestreams about Hurricane Irma. (Tip: Hide the chat log; it’s nothing but Beavises & Buttheads endlessly going “F-U!” back and forth.) One of the “Recommended” stack on the right side of the screen had the title “PROPHECY FOR AMERICA: TWO HURRICANES, THEN THREE EARTHQUAKES”. Channel name was “Reverend” or “Rev” something.
Living in Earthquake Country, I always got a laugh out of denizens of Tornado Alley who wouldn’t come out here because of fear of earthquakes. Their rationale was “Earthquakes hit EVERYWHERE; you can’t dodge them or run from them like you can a tornado.”
Whereas here, the attitude is that tornadoes do a LOT more damage along their path; in an earthquake, you only get that level of destruction at the epicenter of a BIG one.
New one on me, too. But the text of both of her postings above has a density, intensity, and rhythm familiar from kook-rant literature.
Another Personal Tour of Heaven, none of which (like visions of Hell) corresponds or correlates to other claimed visions on the subject. Back during the early Eighties there was a very surreal Personal Tour of Heaven by a guy named “Percy Collet”, distributed on a series of audio-tape cassettes. A quick search on his name showed hits from YouTube, you can probably find it there.
Highlights of Percy Collet’s trip (from memory, when it showed up on Christian talk radio of the time) were being driven around by Elijah in a chariot that grew or shrank as needed to fit the number of passengers, “spirit animals” in Heaven (not repeat NOT an afterlife of mortal animals — I forget what verses he quoted), including “spirit dogs” that “did not bark, neither did they bite” but endlessly repeated “Praise the LORD!” All in all, very weird and surreal.
I find this logic completely valid. I know when it’s tornado season I can just hide in the bathtub. What happens if the ground literally opens below you??? (although I do live close enough to the new Madrid fault to be a little nervous of it-when that thing hits again it won’t be pretty!)
It is Hurricane SEASON, ya’ll! And the earthquake in Mexico was as strong as the one…100 years ago. Galveston got hammered by a cat 4 (?)…100 years ago. Was 100 years ago end times? Sheesh.
Wow, I guess Jim Bakker didn’t learn a lessons from his past and his history appears to repeating itself. Once a scam artist, always a scam artist; and to capitalize from others’ suffering, pain, and the long road to reconstruction, it’s difficult to fathom.
Why is he still in the public eye promoting his brand of religious garbage?
@joelfrederick, I think you have some really good points. Jesus’s continued prophecy against the Jews was that the destruction of Jerusalem was due to their continued faithlessness. I think we can take that as the truth.
However, we have a swarm of theologians and so-called prophets who are rambling on about natural disasters being because of this or that, and they are often contradictory. We really have no way to “test” their prophesies as the Bible commands, so I think it is best to ignore them. I stopped even reading Gary North because he prophesied that Y2K was God’s judgment on us and that everything was going to fall apart.
I think what Jesus said about future natural disasters is the opposite of what we’re hearing:
They questioned Him, saying, “Teacher, when therefore will these things happen? And what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?” And He said, “See to it that you are not misled; for many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not go after them. When you hear of wars and disturbances, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end does not follow immediately.”
Then He continued by saying to them, “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.
It seems what He is saying is that those who say hurricanes = end of the world is near are people that we SHOULD NOT BE LISTENING TO!
I haven’t had the time to read this whole page yet, but I just saw it (so I can’t say at this point if I agree or disagree with it):
Yes, Christians Think Hurricanes Are God’s Punishment For Sin By Joy Pullmann
Here are a few quotes from that page:
I do not believe divorce, in and of itself, is a sin. I don’t see it anywhere listed as such. Jesus even gave conditions for divorce so her ‘these are all plain-text readings of the Bible’ is nonsense.
God can use circumstances to punish people. Sickness, famine, and storms. But it’s hard to tell whether or not His hand is in it. Remember Job?
Even if we know He has a reason to be angry at people, He doesn’t like punishing the wicked. And it isn’t right for us to gloat!
Or exploit the tragedy to sell preserved food.
Btw, what good will hoarding precious metals, food, and ammo do you if the government or bands of raiders take it away? And is it right to hole yourself and your family up with all those supplies while others perish?
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I was struck listening to James White on the irrational response to the Nashville Statement (e.g. its poor timing in view of the recent destruction) when he said there have been similar storms and flooding in the Indian subcontinent recently with 200 times the death toll and hardly anyone in the West even knows it is happening, let alone cares about it. It isn’t headlines. The English-speaking world and Europe overly concentrate on their own disasters and suffering.
Now I have to be honest, not having followed the news recently much, that I didn’t know about what was going on in India either, but the damage in the British possessions in the Caribbean and across the USA is impossible to miss.
I’m also rather bewildered by the number of believers (or so-called believers if they think they can command the weather) who think this is God’s judgment. I’m not sure how they can know this, but usually the thinking is that certain high-profile sins have lead to this, such as gay marriage or divorce.
When a society turns away from God and Christian truth, God hands it over to moral decay and mental decay and distintegration, something I am sure is apparent in both the US and the UK and Western Europe. (I couldn’t but think of the expressions ‘futile thinking’ and ‘senseless minds’ during last November’s election.)
The presence of gays and their pride marches is not primarily what will bring judgement, it is the judgment itself. You are witnessing the wrath of God on a society. It’s spelt out in Romans 1, why do so many Christian leaders not seem to see this and instead try to act like prophets announcing doom? God ‘gave them up’ to these things, and of course these include insatiable greed and a general breakdown in integrity and man’s relationships with his fellow man.
It may be true that we deserve such disasters as judgment, but I think Daisy is spot on above somewhere that this is more a general aspect of living in a fallen world. If God’s normal response to our rebellion were to keep sending ‘natural’ disasters, would we still be here?
KAS, “When a society turns away from God and Christian truth, God hands it over to moral decay and mental decay and distintegration, something I am sure is apparent in both the US and the UK and Western Europe.”
I’m not sure if this is actually true or what pastors are preaching to instill the proper fear in congregations. My kids are getting a better education than I did. We both attended public schools. Society is starting to acknowledge things like domestic violence, emotional abuse and spiritual abuse. Pastors are being exposed for sins that were previously swept under the carpet in churches. We don’t turn a blind eye to our children being bullied at schools or ignore sexual harassment.
Mark – I had in mind a particularly excellent exposition of Rom 1 by Dick Lucas Rector of St Helen’s Bishopsgate in London called The Ruin of Man and Society. Now I appreciate that Rom 1 describes the general fallen state of mankind as it has always been. Yet Dick illustrated the truth of what God gave them up to as it applied in 1970’s Brítish society. The inversion of right and wrong, light and darkness. An education system that didn’t teach people to think in a society increasingly unable to think. The whole series had a profound affect on my thinking.
This is the real wrath of God, much more nuanced than OT judgments. And of course it can be changed if a country like Britain, that has had centuries of Christian light, stops suppressing that light as it has done every increasingly since WW1.
It is this being delivered up to sin and its consequences – sin as its own punishment – that we should be frightened of. Since this series was originally given, Romans 1 has been ever more seen in British society. The rise of homosexuality is obvious, but the passage also lists greed – pleonexia, an insatiable desire to have more, as a mark of such a society. You only have to consider the banking crisis that this greed triggered to see another example of this. Yes the City of London as always been greedy, but it had not reached the unimaginable proportions it managed in the new century.
Shopping is the new religion of most British – and the shops are open seven days a week. No day of rest any longer.