God, you see, sent Hurricane Katrina in 2005 to punish the people of New Orleans for their decadent ways in allowing homosexuals to be in their midst, and to cavort in the streets, threatening the end of the world as we know it.
"Repent America, an organisation that claims to 'go out into the streets and communities of America declaring the word of God and proclaiming the Good News', has said that an upcoming [gay] event in the city caused God to act," said an Ekklesia article at the time.
Repent America's director, Michael Marcavage, suggested that "this act of God destroyed a wicked city. New Orleans was a city that opened its doors wide open to the public celebration of sin. May it never be the same."
Interesting theory. But now we get this news in today's Tablet, the Catholic weekly, on the intended closure of 27 Catholic churches, that the "lasting damage inflicted by Hurricane Katrina to New Orleans' churches was this week highlighted by a reorganisation plan intended to help the archdiocese finally recover from the wreckage unleashed by the hurricane".
Oh, so the churches that were hit will now have to be closed. What was God playing at? How could he have got it so wrong?
The Tablet story goes on:
The Archbishop of New Orleans told parishioners last week that he plans to close 27 churches. In a letter read at Masses throughout the city, Archbishop Alfred Hughes said that the plan "will involve the loss of some sacred places with a rich religious history. Such loss, understandably, will cause great pain and may also lead to anger. The cross is never easy." Seventeen of the churches due to be closed have not reopened since the hurricane, which killed 1,836 people and displaced more than a million. The storm cost the 215-year-old archdiocese, the nation's second oldest, US$120 million (£61m) in damage.
Now, no one, atheist, agnostic or religionist, wants to see beautiful buildings razed to the ground or otherwise damaged, but one wonders what Mr Michael Marcavage would say to this. No, he's not a Catholic, as far as we know, but a born-again Christian (the type that makes you wish they had never been born at all) and these churches are Catholic, but he is equally scathing of homosexuality, and does not, presumably, wish to see God destroy Christian churches, of whatever stripe.
Anyway, this article on the Urban Legends website puts the story straight. Enjoy.