Why did the heavens drown parts of Texas with their watery wrath? The Reverend Al Sharpton said some of his followers suggested it’s a punishment from God—that “we’ve done it to ourselves.”
On his syndicated radio show “Keepin’ It Real,” Sharpton said Tuesday that many of his callers interpreted the Texas downpours that swamped cities across the state this week, flooding homes and killing at least 13, as divine rebuke.
“Some people said that they felt that the world had lost its morals, that homosexuality and same-sex marriage, which I support, caused it,” Sharpton said in an interview. “Many called and said they thought that was absurd, that it was science. My position is that science is right.”
Of course, devastating floods have a sure Biblical ring. But for many it also fits the picture of Climate Change. While scientists remain unsure of the precise consequences of humanity’s past centuries putting greenhouse gasses in the air, almost all of them agree it will lead to change.
Were the Texas storms a manifestation of that change? Texas’ state climatologist told the Texas Tribune it seemed likely. Others call it standard severe weather in long term cycles, strengthened by an exceptional El Niño (then again, published research predicts a changing climate will bring stronger El Niños more frequently).
Sharpton said that after callers made the suggestion, his producer posted a tweet encouraging others to weight in Tuesday during the show:
#KeepingItReal QOTD: Do you think the #TexasFlooding is related to climate control or God’s rebuke?Call 8775325797 or tweet me your thoughts
— Reverend Al Sharpton (@TheRevAl) May 27, 2015
That tweet prompted a lengthy list of angry replies.
Sharpton said he believes the storms are prompted by climate change, which he considers different from divine rebuke.
“I think that God created nature and nature cannot be offset by human behavior,” he said. “I do believe that we live with the results of some bad decisions we make in terms of how we treat the earth, but I don’t believe that’s God’s rebuke.”