updated 9/27/2005 11:06:56 AM ET 2005-09-27T15:06:56


Rita and Katrina have both raised serious questions about our preparedness for disaster--be it natural or man made.

In New Orleans we saw the results of poor planning on several levels.  Citizens were evacuated to a "safe" location--the Superdome--only to find that there would be no food, no water, and no information waiting for them when they arrived.  Those who didn't leave their homes--a chance they took and a choice they made--would have probably been alright if it hadn't been for the flooding.  Let's not forget that those century-old levees were in desperate need of fortification.

In Texas, where thankfully the damage from the Rita was not as bad as expected, we saw lines of cars stretched out for miles.  Many ran out of gas and had to simply sit and wait, hoping a good Samaritan or gas truck driver would pass by.

These cases illuminate not the awesome power of nature, which so many have asserted proves our humility.  Aren't we all just dust in the wind?  No.  We are people who are repeatedly being let down by the very same government that takes 40% of our earnings each year.

I don't buy that power of nature, crap.  Amsterdam hasn't flooded yet.

Today we'll take a look at the political fallout from the storms, but we'll also examine the military's role in the recovery.  How involved should they be?

Later--a look at faith and disaster.  Katrina, 9/11, airline disasters--for some these events strengthen faith and for others they test it.  I'll chat with an editor from Beliefnet about the response of the religious communities to these storms.  Are we be punished by God, or is this just all a part of the plan?

We've all heard the phrase "cafeteria Catholic" which refers to a Catholic who picks and chooses her beliefs--for example believing in the Holy Eucharist but thinking premarital sex is OK, etc.  Well, I suggest that our nation is filled with cafeteria Christians.  Don't we all just pick and choose--even the Evangelicals?

For example, if you strictly believe in the Bible as the word of God and not just an interesting historical work of fiction or proverb, you should be pretty freaked out right now.  After all, floods are a sign of the Apocalypse.  They are also a plague that God sent down to punish humans.

Yet, when Jerry Falwell said that 9/11 was punishment for Americans being morally bankrupt, he was loudly dissed even by his peers.  Can we have it both ways?  As President Bush reminds us in every speech, God can bless America.  Can He also bash us?

Just food for thought, kids.  And a preview of the chat I'll have with Deborah Caldwell of Beliefnet.

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