Charita Goshay: Earthquake theory shaky at best, loony at worst

Charita Goshay

This being baseball season, it’s nice when someone throws a pitch over the middle of the plate that’s so big, fat and slow, you can go make a sandwich and be back in plenty of time to swing.

Last week, Imam Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi, a senior Muslim cleric in Iran, declared the reason Iran suffers from earthquakes is that women there dress too provocatively, getting the men, you know, all shook up.

Well, that certainly would help explain why the Midwest doesn’t get clobbered more often. We’re not exactly bringing sexy back in our regional uniform of T-shirts, ball caps, baggy shorts and flip-flops. And those are our women.

But we have our moments.

Weird over good

Unfortunately, the rantings of a man who clearly has never kissed a girl or taken a geology class is the kind of wacky stuff about Islam — really, all religions — that gets attention, not stories in which people pray for peace, the poor are being fed, or kids are being tutored, all of which are done daily by Muslims around the world.

Those aren’t the kinds of stories you like to read; not really, as evidenced by the responses media outlets receive.

Some of the kindest, most gracious people I’ve ever met are Muslims, who probably are cringing at the cleric’s rantings in much the same way as Christians blanch whenever the Rev. Fred Phelps pops off.

Before Americans tsk-tsk too loudly at the Iranians, let’s not forget that back-talking females in New England once were tagged as witches and burned at the stake. The imam’s loopiness says something about the power of women and some people’s refusal to acknowledge it. No society can run on only half its cylinders. To ignore half your population is to doom yourself to the Dark Ages.

More religion

Seismologists have been warning for years that Tehran, Iran’s capital city, was built on a danger zone. In 2003, an earthquake hit Bam, Iran, killing more than 31,000 people. But Sedighi says the answer to fewer earthquakes is more religion, asking: “What can we do to avoid being buried under the rubble? There is no other solution but to take refuge in religion and to adapt our lives to Islam’s moral codes.”

Perhaps build stronger buildings? Consult with scientists? Acknowledge that science and God are not mutually exclusive?

The preoccupation some religious fanatics have with women brings to mind the Joni Mitchell lyric: “His left hand holds his right. What does that hand desire, that he grips it so tight?”

Charita Goshay writes for The Repository in Canton, Ohio. Contact her at