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Today Alabama, tomorrow Ballymena
It’s official: the more gays a place has, the less likely it is to be battered by tornados. However, if an area has a lot of protestants…
Eamonn McCann, 05 Feb 2003
Go tell it on the mountain: sussed dykes could be our salvation.
This precious truth I place before you in hope of discouraging business corruption, terrorist attack and natural disaster.
I have been persuaded to preach the message by news that Warren Smith, editor of The Charlotte World (“For Jesus and the USA”) has told a prayer breakfast in Virginia that it was God shuddering at gay sex which caused the collapse of Enron. “A near majority of Fortune 500 companies now offer same-sex domestic partner benefits to employees. All of the ‘Big Five’ accounting firms (including Arthur Andersen) offer same-sex benefits. In other words, these companies have corporate policies that condone – if not outright encourage – immoral behavior... Is it any wonder that executives of such organizations have few qualms about breaking other laws?”
I note also that fiery fundamentalist Jerry Falwell believes that the American Civil Liberties Union was to blame for the September 11 attacks.
“The anti-Christian agenda of the ACLU has made God mad. I really believe that the pagans and the abortionists and the feminists and the gays and the lesbians, all of them who have tried to secularise America, I point the finger in their face and say, ‘You helped this happen’.”
Then there’s celebrity Christian and former presidential hopeful Pat Robertson, who warned Orlando, Florida, that it was courting natural disaster by allowing gay pride flags to be flown along its streets. “A condition like this will bring about... earthquakes, tornados, and possibly a meteor.”
It was Robertson’s rodomontade which prompted my new best friend Janis Walworth to carry out one of the most important pieces of scientific research in recent history. The results can be found on the net’s most savvy dyke-site, technodyke.com.
Walworth realised that there was no way a researcher could prove or disprove a significant correlation between the incidence of gay sex and business failure or terrorist assault. Enron and similar scandals have been characterised by secrecy and lies. Nobody knows how many remain to be revealed. It’s impossible to say how levels of business corruption vary from place to place.
As for terrorist atrocity – the law on gay sex in the country which supplied 80 percent of the September 11 terrorists, Saudi Arabia, is such as Jerry Falwell fervently prays for. Then again, the city where the atrocity happened takes a liberal view. So, no clear conclusion can be drawn there either.
But tornados. That’s different. The incidence of tornados is meticulously recorded by the meterological agencies from year to year and place to place.
It ought to be possible, mused the wise Walworth, to match this data with information on the numbers of gay rights organisations, support groups etc.
And it would certainly be possible to compare the frequency of tornados with the religious composition of particular areas.
Equipped with copies of such racy publications as Tornado Occurrence By State, 1962-1991; Churches And Church Membership; Population By State, 1990 US Census and Gay & Lesbian Political Organizations and Support Groups In The US, Walworth set to work. Her results should be read by all with an interest in truth, justice and public safety.
According to the Christians, States with regular tornados ought to have a high incidence of gays. But they do not. In fact, insofar as there’s a relationship, it’s negative – r = .28, for the statisticians out there.
What this means is that the more gays an area has, the less likely it is to be battered by tornados. Walworth has calculated that Alabama could avert two tornados a year by doubling its number of gay organizations—an advance which, it seems to me, might most obviously be achieved by doubling the number of gays and the incidence of gay sex.
Moving on, Walworth sought to work out how different religious groups are ranked on god’s hit-list. She could find no correlation between Jews or Catholics and the frequency of tornados. But Protestants told a different tale: a correlation of .71, which statisticians place in the “highly significant” range. (The chance of the correlation happening by random variation is one in 10,000-plus.)
Fully half the State-to-State variation in tornado frequency over a 30-year period could be put down to the presence of Protestants, Walworth found. But, she realised, that cannot be the whole story. Protestants are sub-divided into Lutherans, Methodists, Baptists, etc. Are all the sects equally offensive in the eyes of the Lord?
Apparently not. Lutherans, for example, show no correlation at all with tornados. Methodists score a modest correlation (r = .52, p =.0001). But Baptists...well, Baptists are buggered.
Baptists show a very clear correlation with tornado frequency (r=.68, p=.0001). Which means that Texas could half its average 139 tornados a year by sending around 300,000 of its Baptists to Alaska.
What, I hear thousands of readers in swelling chorus, about gay Protestants?
Insofar as it’s possible to establish the religious affiliation of gays or the sexual orientation of Protestants – a stab can be made by reference to the membership of Protestant church gay groups – it seems that gay Prods make no difference to tornado frequency. It’s as if the gayness and the Protestantism cancel one another out.
Does it not follow that the way to make the world a safer place is not to encourage gays to be Protestant but to encourage Protestants to be gay?
Personally, I’m not going to dally in Ballymena any more. Not until the local council has taken whatever measures are necessary to cut the number of Protestants and raise the number of gays.
Wouldn’t it be a grand gesture if Paisley Junior were to turn?
No chance for peace
I hear some who have always seemed half-sensible earnestly discussing whether the latest find by the weapons inspectors makes the case for war against Iraq, whether a second UN resolution is called for, and so forth.
The US drive to war was well under way long before the first UN resolution and before inspectors had re-entered the country. I recently came across a New York Times editorial from December 12th, 1999, headed “Rhetoric and Reality on Iraq.” The writer assumed – no evidence was offered – that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.
“Gov. George W. Bush of Texas talks about contingencies in which he would use American military power to ‘take out’ Iraq’s illegal weapons,” said the editorial. “More than eight years after American-led military forces triumphed in the Persian Gulf war, Saddam Hussein still rules Iraq and continues to cheat on the surrender terms that require him to eliminate all biological, chemical and nuclear weapons and missiles capable of delivering them. His galling defiance and America’s frustrations in dealing with him have again made Iraq an issue in a United States presidential campaign.”
At the time, Bush hadn’t yet been selected as Republican candidate for President. He couldn’t possibly have had any intelligence information which wasn’t available to the Clinton administration. But already he knew what he wanted to do first if he made it as Clinton’s successor – bomb Iraq.
Urging Bush now to consider the case against war would be like asking him in 1999 to put a moratorium on the death penalty in Texas. He is not available for rational consideration of the issue. The facts of the matter mean nothing to him. The British and Irish governments are joining in and/or facilitating a war launched by an administration headed by a man wholly uninterested in whether a case for war can be made.