Evangelical pastor Rodney Howard-Browne, is an avid Trump supporter who recently prayed over President Donald Trump in the Oval Office and he believes Hurricane Irma was a big ol’ “nothingburger” because its ferocity was taken down a notch or two “by prayer,” Newsweek reports.
Prayers Sent – Destruction Received
Prayer stopped hurricane Irma? Tell that to the millions whose lives were destroyed.
Rodney Howard-Browne, who lives in Tampa, Florida, says the media made too big of a deal out of the hurricane. He added that the damage in Tampa was considerably less than expected.
Irma Update – the aftermath ? https://t.co/lpkJfj96ws
— Rodney Howard-Browne (@rhowardbrowne) September 11, 2017
On Periscope, he had this to say:
“By the time it hit Tampa, [Irma] was totally neutralized. It became a nothingburger, other than, you know, a big Florida storm which we normally have during the summer times.”
But according to initial estimates from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), 25 percent of the houses in this chain of islands were destroyed, CNN reports. An additional 65 percent of homes received major damage.
I’m sure those homeowners don’t think this hurricane was a “nothingburger.” I’m sure the 15 million people who still have no power in the sweltering Florida heat also don’t feel that way.
According to FEMA Administrator Brock Long:
“Basically, every house in the Keys was impacted in some way.”
Additionally, 1.3 million customers were left without power in Georgia, while in South Carolina, 161,000 customers lost power.
Perhaps Browne wasn’t aware of this, or perhaps he lives in his own fairy-tale world where he can believe whatever he wants, but the facts above belie his “nothingburger” remark.
But Irma was a Category 4 hurricane by the time it made landfall in Florida on Sunday. leaving massive devastation in its wake. At least 6.3 million people were ordered to evacuate the state prior to the storm hitting the U.S. mainland, and at least 12 deaths have been reported. But the Caribbean suffered greater devastation and at least 38 people were killed, with ten of those deaths occurring in Cuba.
Tampa mayor Bob Buckthorn warned that 90 years had passed since the city last suffered a direct hit from a hurricane, and he was worried it was about to happen again.
We are about to get punched in the face by this storm. We need to be prepared.
— Bob Buckhorn (@BobBuckhorn) September 10, 2017
Fortunately, Tampa missed the worst of the storm, and on Monday Buckthorn noted that “we were very, very lucky” to avoid the worst of the damage.
Howard-Browne said he realized other parts of the state, such as the Florida Keys, Marco Island and Naples, Florida suffered serious damage, but said Tampa was saved because of the power of prayer.
And furthermore, he added:
“Meteorologists are scratching their heads, not understanding what happened. How comes this thing didn’t do [what was expected], it was supposed to devastate, [it was] billed as the storm of the century. Basically, prayer knocked the teeth out of Irma, I mean that’s basically what happened.”
Howard-Browne gained notoriety in July after he shared a photo of several pastors praying over Trump in the Oval Office. Several in the group are members of Trump’s evangelical advisory board — a small group of pastors who advise him on a number of issues. Trump could just have someone read his palm — that would probably be just as effective.
But nevertheless, Howard-Browne gloated over the photo and shared it on Facebook:
“What a humbling moment standing in the Oval Office laying hands and praying for our president.”
The post has since been shared more than 15,000 times, Newsweek reports.
Howard-Browne came to the U.S. as a missionary from South Africa in the 1990s. Like many of the evangelicals who prayed over Trump, he’s an avid climate-change denier, posting things like this on Twitter:
REPORT: SHOCKING FIND AT ANTARCTICA SILENCES CLIMATE CHANGE ACTIVISTS https://t.co/QJ38Uoz5ab
— Rodney Howard-Browne (@rhowardbrowne) May 4, 2017
Trump Cancels Paris Accord Climate Change Scam – Full Speech https://t.co/hy6LPtpQec
— Rodney Howard-Browne (@rhowardbrowne) June 2, 2017
This is depressing, really. Because these people are promoting flights of fancy instead of the very real science that, according to NASA, shows man-made climate change is occurring. Many believe that the Earth is six thousand years young despite the overwhelming evidence that this isn’t possible. These are the people advising Trump on matters of national importance.
And that’s scary.
Featured image by Right Wing Watch via YouTube video.