July 19 2011 11:10 AM

Responding to nonsense about signs from God


Imagine my delight when I read this July 7 headline on the Orlando Sentinel website: “Lightning strike at Caylee memorial ‘could be a sign from the angels.’”

Apparently, a few hours after Judge Belvin Perry sentenced Casey Anthony to time served, lightning struck a 60-foot pine tree near where the body of Anthony’s daughter, Caylee, was found.

“Indeed this was God....” said a commenter on the Sentinel website.

“Goes to show ya what can happen when you play with the devil,” said another.

Then there was this poem, called “Lightning Struck a Tree Today,” with all of the author's typos and
gloriously atrocious grammar intact: “Lightning struck a tree today / near where they founr our dear Caylee / God & Angels both agree / that her mom, Cassey is guilty.”

She then added, “Proceeds will go to Caylee.org,” which raises the question: Proceeds from what? Her anthology of “Vacuous Message Board Poetry (Volume 1: Select Infanticide Poems)”?

Isn’t it incredulous that in the 21st century—with a mountain of science explaining how weather works—people still believe there’s a man in the sky who hurls incandescent spears of fire to express wrath or deliver vengeance?

Look, I’m not stunned or outraged by the Anthony verdict. However, assuming she was guilty, and God does enjoy, ahem, hurling incandescent spears of fire to express his wrath or deliver vengeance, wouldn’t you have to agree that this wasn’t one of those times? If you believe in an all-powerful Supreme Being who created every living thing and every non-living thing (such as Nancy Grace)—then wouldn’t that Supreme Being have a better sense of timing and accuracy?

The timing was certainly ineffectual. That lightning bolt hit the tree several hours after sentencing. Laaame! It should’ve been immediate. Actually, it should have been two days earlier, when the verdict was read. Any deity with halfway decent PR skills knows that verdict readings are the best time to send celestial messages of wrath and vengeance. The sentencing was anti-climactic. It was the verdict that would have launched God into a tirade. He would have roared, “That’s bullshit!” and marched directly over to his Locker of Celestial Weapons of Wrath and Vengeance, retrieved the brightest, sharpest lightning bolt and dropped it right between the squiggly 666 marks on the top of Casey Anthony’s dome as she hugged and kissed her lawyers.

Certainly, that would have been a more effective message than striking a pine tree, in the woods, several yards from her memorial site, unseen by anyone. The only message that sends is: God hates sap.

“That is what I call Karma,” Michelle Cooper told the Sentinel reporter about the lightning strike, to which I say, “Yeah, girl, Karma! That’ll teach a tree a lesson about being all tall and shit.”

God’s accuracy was awful, too. God wasn’t aiming for the tree. He was aiming for the spot where Caylee’s body was found, 20 feet from the tree—which is bad aim even for a bunch of retired army buddies playing drunken-fat-guy lawn darts. However, for the Almighty—who doesn’t drink and is quite buff—well, let’s just say the 2007 Republican presidential debate it ain’t.

Remember that lightning strike? When moderator Wolf Blitzer asked Rudy Giuliani about his soft stance against abortion? Just as Giuliani began to answer, lightning hit the building and fritzed his microphone. Now that is timing and accuracy!

Another fantastic example of timing and accuracy was an incident in 2003, when lightning struck the steeple of a church in Ohio—at the exact moment the preacher was shouting for God to give him a sign. Of course, nobody said, “See, God hates churches,” even though it caught fire and sustained about $20,000 in damages.

Speaking of churches and lightning, after Ben Franklin invented the lightning rod in 1753, it was condemned as an instrument of Satan. The reason? Because lightning is a display of God’s displeasure and it is blasphemous to interfere with God’s will.

What followed was predictable, sweeping, church-incited hysteria resulting in lightning rods being torn from roofs throughout Europe and America, and more than a few “witches” being burned for meddling with the will of God.

There was one infamous case of a church in Brescia, Italy, that scorned lightning-rod technology despite having 200,000 pounds of gun powder stored in its vault. When lightning struck in 1767, a large section of the city was destroyed and 3,000 people died.

It took churches decades to accept the science of the lightning rod and thousands more lives were lost because, back then, churches were the tallest buildings in towns and constantly getting hit—often with people inside.

Well, go figger! Lightning prefers tall things. I guess that explains why our little bolt in Orlando hit a tree and not the spot on the ground where they found Caylee. But wait! If God was aiming for the shrine, and the lightning was aiming for the tree, doesn’t that mean that the will of lightning is greater than the will of God? I imagine the Lord thy God being quite frustrated by that conversation.

Lord Thy God: OK, Lightning, I want you to strike Casey Anthony on the head as soon as the verdict is announced.

Lighting Bolt: Sorry, I don’t believe in the death penalty.

God: Grrr! OK, well, we have to send a message of some sort. How about you jolt the memorial site?

LB: Nah, I’d rather hit a pine tree.

God: A pine tree!? But why?

LB: Cuz they think they’re sooo cool and all tall and shit.   

Write to ed@sdcitybeat.com and editor@sdcitybeat.com. Edwin Decker will read poetry at Ducky Waddles Emporium at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 20.