A reader cites Albert Mohler as an example of a religious right leader who doesn’t think that God intervenes directly to punish sin – via hurricane, for instance – and Andrew replies:

Mohler differs from Robertson in not seeing a specific weather event as God-induced. But he shares with him the notion that all bad things in the universe stem in part from human sin.

Well, of course he does – because that’s one of the basic tenets of Christianity, no? Not that your sin or mine causes Hurricane Katrina, but that death and suffering are a result, ultimately, of the Fall of Man, and that this primordial catastrophe is responsible for the wounded quality of the world. It would be pretty odd if Mohler, or any Christian leader – Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, whatever – didn’t think that human sin, understood generally, has a strong relationship to human suffering and death.

Also, I think that Andrew’s last Malkin Award nominee – a pastor named Herbert Lusk who said, “my friends, don’t fool with the church because the church has buried a million critics” – probably wasn’t threatening to actually kill or do violence to his critics. It’s a pretty commonplace piece of Christian rhetoric to point out that the faith has outlasted most of its critics over the last two thousand years, and that this is perhaps a sign of God’s favor and ought to give would-be opponents pause. (Here’s how Chesterton put this line of argument, rather more eloquently.) But I admit Lusk’s comments are open to Andrew’s interpretation as well.

– posted by Ross