The great majority of the
talk I have heard since the great tsunami of 2004 may have
missed the most important point of all.
Immediately after this
cataclysmic event, we were subjected to many questions,
such as which countries were being cheap in their relief
support, or was the corrupt United Nations fit to take
charge of the humanitarian operation, or why weren't early
warning systems employed, etc.
These are all legitimate
and timely questions. Yet there's another, more
ominous question bubbling just under the surface.
Not many want to raise the question in this politically
correct world. They are afraid of being attacked for
speaking of what many are pondering. But if we are
to be truly compassionate toward the survivors and our
fellow human beings, I believe we must place the question
on the table.
There's an old saying,
"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." When
things happen in my life, good and bad, I believe they
happen for reasons. And there's always a lesson in
there for me. So is there a lesson behind the great
tsunami of 2004? Is there anything—spiritually
speaking—that could have been done to prevent it?
Can our behavior in any
way prevent or minimize future earthquakes, tsunamis,
floods, and the like? In other words, can our
moral—or immoral conduct as the case may be—affect God's
conduct toward us?
If we believe it can,
then it's not a stretch to believe that God can cause
"natural disasters" to occur to achieve His purposes.
And if we believe that, the logical follow-up question in
regards to this tsunami is simply, "Did God do it?"
If we believe the words
in the Old Testament, we believe that God can and does
destroy via "natural disasters". From the great
flood to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah with fire
and brimstone, there's a great precedence for this, and
rational societies have long believed it to be true.
To this day, for instance, the phrase "act of God" is used
on insurance policies regarding earthquakes, floods, and
the like. The fear of God's potential retribution is
very real to many, and most certainly affects the behavior
of many millions.
When the subject of God
has been broached since this disaster, questions have been
asked, such as "Why would a just God allow this?" Have you
ever stopped to think that perhaps God didn't "allow"
this, but that he DID it? Which would bring up the
See, this is a question
most really don't want to ask, because it intrudes into
our personal behavior. The notion that our actions
can be right or wrong is one we of the "enlightened"
modern world don't want to contemplate.
There are behavioral
areas human beings have no business venturing beyond.
But they do. And when they refuse to stop
themselves, particularly from abusing the young, and the
"good" around them avert their gaze, would it be a stretch
to conceive that God could see the need to step in and
make a clear statement to those who are guilty, and to
those who may be considering following in the guilty's
Interestingly, after the
news of thousands upon thousands of deaths, we heard
reports that virtually no animals were killed, nor were
many "primitive" (relatively uncorrupted) people killed.
"Experts" rushed in to explain that animals have a "sixth
sense" that allowed them to escape. Yes, that is
true, but could it be that the reason that they were not
killed was because they were not the intended targets?
I was reading Time
Magazine's special report on the tsunami, and was struck
by something I saw. I admit to having a kind of
fascination with maps, so my eye was immediately drawn to
an overview map of "how the deadly waves spread."
I noticed the red rippled
ball on the map signaling the earthquake's epicenter,
which was adjacent to the northern tip of the Indonesian
island of Sumatra. Last year,
UNICEF sponsored a
regional conference in Medan, North Sumatra on child sex
trafficking. Reportedly, 400,000 children worldwide,
including 70,000 from Indonesia, are being traded and
exploited every year, some as young as nine.
One of the conference
participants was quoted as saying, "Child trafficking for
sexual exploitation in the Asian region is getting out of
hand because authorities have not done enough to hinder or
bring to justice the perpetrators."
An article in Inside
Indonesia, July—Sept 1999, titled "Flesh Trade of Sumatra"
detailed incredible cruelty in brothels there, where girls
14-18 are treated like sexual cattle. Virgins who
are free of disease are at a high premium. Tales
like the one of the girl whose head was smashed into a
wall under the direction of a cruel madam for the sin of
refusing to satisfy the passions of a client are
apparently not uncommon.
Harsher laws and greater
enforcement of those laws was recommended at the
UNICEF-sponsored conference, as was greater regional
cooperation. Hmmm, greater regional cooperation
needed .... I can't help but wonder if there was a divine
reason why the surrounding countries were hit.
In the West, adult men
who have sex with underage girls are considered criminals.
In Indonesia there is no such law. Even the laws
that do exist are poorly implemented due to reported
After the disaster hit,
we heard reports of rampant child abductions for their use
in the sex trade. Think about this—AFTER the
disaster hit. I read a report about a young woman
who survived the tsunami only to be raped in the swirling,
muddy waters by a stranger who threatened to kill her if
she spoke about it.
Can you imagine the
depths of depravity of those who would suffer through a
major tsunami, and instead of pausing to consider the
reason behind it and to assist victims, would merely use
the tragedy as a tool to further their sick deeds?
It's pure evil, and gives us a glimpse into the kind of
wickedness at work there BEFORE the disaster hit.
Indonesia's history built
a foundation for its present. Concubinage was
Javanese (Indonesia's main island) kingdoms
and kings had sexual rights over low caste widows on the
island of Bali. During the Dutch colonial period the
sex industry expanded and became more organized.
Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, Bali's principal
export was slaves. In Jakarta, on the northern tip
of Java, Balinese slaves made up a large portion of the
The sex trade was long
ago institutionalized in Indonesia. And today the
government runs official brothel complexes throughout the
country, managed by the local Social Affairs office.
There also exists a rampant unofficial sex trade as well,
and an industry of women who smoothly combine the
professional skills of a secretary with sexual favors for
Responding to intense
criticism, the government last year finally came up with a
national plan to combat the trafficking of women and
children. However, there is reportedly no budget to
actually implement the plan, rendering it essentially
Beliefs in witchcraft and
mysticism are also widespread in Indonesia, particularly
on the island of Java. And homosexuality, though
considered immoral, is widely practiced.
Indonesia has absorbed
more of the tsunami's deaths than any other country.
Is this merely a coincidence, or is there a tie-in to its
moral standards, and one other interesting fact—Indonesia
is the world's most populous Muslim country, and host to
dozens of radical Islamic groups. It is easy to see
the fertile ground that radical Islam has in Indonesia, to
present itself as the country's moral savior. The
"rationale" behind the 2002 radical Muslim nightclub
bombings in Bali begins to come into clearer focus.
Could the combination of
wanton immorality, child exploitation, and the worst
elements of the violently reactionary "religion of peace"
have laid the groundwork for a loud divine statement to
the world via the almost literally earth-shattering event?
Islamic influence on
Sumatra has a long history. Arabs arrived on the
island as early as the tenth century, and established the
Sultanese of Achin (now the city of Banda Aceh, the
country's provincial capital at the northern tip of
Sumatra). In the late 1990's a radical Islamic group
with reported ties to Al Qaeda named Laskar Mujahidin was
founded to attack Christian priests and churches in
eastern Indonesia's Malaku islands. Nine thousand
people were killed in fighting between 1999 and 2001 as
guerilla attacks increased.
In 2001, the Indonesian
government caved, and wrote legislation that granted Banda
Aceh limited local autonomy, including the right to
implement Islamic law. In 2003, Muslims were a force
behind writing the country's stricter criminal code, one
part of which would make sex before marriage illegal.
The more sexually permissive criminal code in the country
has not surprisingly been based largely on the laws of the
former colonizing ruler, the Dutch.
Now Laskar Mujahidin has
set up shop in Banda Aceh, supposedly helping the victims
of the tsunami. American military and others in the
area are, needless to say, on guard.
The lack of real
spiritual grounding in Indonesia has led much of its
citizenry into the realm of moral lawlessness. Their
once-innocent children have been abused with impunity, and
without apparent lament. Surrounding areas have been
complicit. Morally bankrupt Westerners, much like
many of the Dutch traders centuries before them—have come
to Indonesia and sexually pillaged the landscape.
And the false saving grace of radical Islam—instead of
bringing real love, sanity, and much-needed reform—will
only serve as a spiritual and physical butcher shop for
the lost and any holdouts to their grand solution, a
phenomenon not unlike the Nazi's reaction to 1930's
permissive Weimar Republic-led Germany.
Since the disaster,
political leaders have attempted to demonstrate their
overflowing goodness, led by the Queen of Compassion, Bill
Clinton. And President Bush commanded that our
American flag be flown at half-staff to "honor the dead." I hate to quibble with these words at the risk of sounding
cold, but isn't "honoring the dead" a phrase reserved for
soldiers and other heroes who risk their lives for others?
If indeed the great
tsunami of 2004 was God-directed, then this could be an
example of a case where politicians are hell-bent on
demonstrating how much they can out-love God. Their
"compassion" is only one side to the love equation.
But where is the correcting side of love? As an
example, politicians always clamor for the people's money
to solve primarily behavior-induced tragedies such as
AIDS. But I've very rarely heard a politician
suggest behavior changes in order to avoid plagues such as
All loving parents know
they must correct their children, but politicians know
that if they correct their "children", in other words,
point out where they've gone wrong for their betterment,
their children will rebel and throw them out of office.
One of the questions
"experts" have thrown out since the tsunami is, "Could it
happen here?" Good question actually, though I don't
believe the "experts" have any real clue as to what would
actually cause IT to happen here. Could the cause be
our failure to learn the moral lesson of Indonesia?
And could a precursor be
the unprecedented, pounding, deadly storms we've seen
raging across America? Could it be that God is
talking to us right now, and getting louder? Perhaps
because we have not yet reached the depths of depravity of
Indonesia, we haven't yet earned our right to a huge
earthquake and tsunami. There are those who, I'm
sure, think that this statement sounds cold, but is it not
the height of compassion to prevent disaster? And is
not this discussion of the great tsunami's possible origin
of potential enormous benefit to America and the world?
I understand there are
those who will say that speaking or writing about the
possibility of God as author of this disaster could
potentially dampen help for the surviving victims of this
disaster, and it is always possible that this could be the
case among those who do not care for their fellow human
beings. I'm not in that camp, and don't subscribe to
that way of thinking at all. And I believe far
greater damage is done by suppressing questions of great
potential benefit, than by asking them.
I believe that it is
natural and right for all of us to do what we can to help
alleviate the suffering of the survivors of the tsunami,
no matter what we may consider to be its origin. And
I also believe that God expects the same from us.
Consider the wild young
man who foolishly brings on a situation that leads to his
being shot. Would we say that the young man should
be left to bleed to death, untreated? Or perhaps
more appropriate to the tsunami situation, what about the
drunk driver who totals his car and severely injures
himself and his wife and children? Should he be left
untreated? Should they? Of course not.
We can agree or disagree
as to what caused the great tsunami of 2004. But one
thing I know it will do is cause some soul searching among
surviving victims, and among many of us, who are much
further away, at least in miles. This disaster had
worldwide impact, and its "aftershocks" will be far
I read about a man who
survived the tsunami, and said he'd cut back the sh-- in
his life. That man apparently received his personal
wakeup call. So perhaps the most important question
is not, "Did God do it?", but, "Is there a message in it
for us, and if so, will we heed it?"