Jeff Sharlett of the Revealer says the disaster in New Orleans is a story about sin. Not the Repent America kind but about the way "developers and politicians and patricians" left the city vulnerable for disaster.

Here's the meat of his story:

if this is a religion story, it's not about an act of God or the banal use and abuse of the Bible as substitute aid for people dying of literal thirst; it's about sin. And no vague, blustery "pride of man" stories about ill-preparedness or mistakes by the Army Corps of Engineers will address the original sin of this event.

We need theologically-charged, morally outraged, investigative historical reporting to tell us why and how the dead of New Orleans died, and when their killers -- not Katrina, but the developers and politicians and patricians who are now far from the city -- began the killing. It wasn't Monday, and it wasn't last week. We need journalists, not just historians, to look deeper into the American mythologies of race and money, "personal responsibility" and real responsibility.

This isn't a religion story because God acted, but because people acted. It's not about what they didn't do, it's about what they did do, under the cover of civic development and urban renewal and faith-based initiatives that systematically eradicate the possibility of real, systemic response to a crisis that is more than a matter of individual souls.

Someone else pointed out a more mundane reason for the human disaster--why people stayed behind and didn't evacuate the city. The hurricane hit on (the 29th) and people hadn't received their ends of the month paychecks. So they didn't have money to leave.


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