I try not to dwell on things I’ve seen the faithful do that I find abhorrent. I do believe this is a great example that is worth sharing. I don’t present this story as a means of saying that all religious people would act the same way. My faith in humanity runs deep…and I believe that most people would do the right thing despite their religious views. So, without further ado…here goes.
In August of 2003 along the turnpike in Kansas, a minivan carrying a family of six was caught in a horrible (dare I say, biblical?) flash flood near the town of Emporia. The minivan was swept away in a torrent of rain. The father, Robert Rogers, kicked through a window in their submerged vehicle. According to HIS account, the rushing water flushed him, his wife and one of the children out of van. He was able to make it to the surface and get to safety but he did absolutely nothing to save the rest of his family, including a new child who they had just adopted from China earlier that year.
Robert Rogers says he “felt the presence of God” and knew that his family was going to heaven and that things were going to be okay. All four of his children (all under age 10) and his wife of eleven years died. Also killed in the flood was another man, Albert Larson. Eyewitnesses say Larson was outside of his vehicle trying to help others to safety when he was swept away by the flood.
These days, Rogers tours the country spreading his story as an inspirational message about the loving word of God. He profits off of this through CD sales, books and other inspirational bric-a-brac sold on his website. While they are no longer offered there, at one point you could buy water bottles emblazoned with his ministry’s logo. Forgive me if the wording is not exact, but his website referred to the bottles as symbols of the waters God used to bring his family to Him.
While I don’t assume I know how I would react in a situation like this – I like to think I would have done at least something to help my wife and children, or died trying (If you read MY PREVIOUS BLOG POST – you will see that I do have some perspective here). You see, the difference between me and Robert Rogers is that he sees this ordeal as a success in his life. He sees it as a test God threw at him and that he passed with flying colors because he’s managed to find peace in his life. I don’t understand how anyone could consider allowing your own family to drown as anything other than abject failure. Failure of the worst possible kind. Five people are dead, three of them still strapped into their carseats, and he did nothing to try and save them. Then, to top it all off – he used it to make money.
The saddest part of this story is that no one ever publicly called Robert Rogers out on his actions (or, more appropriately, inactions) that night. He said it was God’s will and he was allowed to continue on with his life unchecked. He was able to profit from this…and the faithful let him. He was able to brush off his responsibility to his family and he could do so without any regrets.
I am here to say that Robert Rogers is pure evil and the type of person who makes me wish there was a hell. He put his faith in God above the lives of his family. He gets to keep on breathing and living and loving, but the five people he should hold most dear are dead because he trusted in the Lord enough to do nothing.
Robert Rogers has used his fame and profit to grow his ministry. According to his website (www.intothedeep.org – I highly recommend going to this site), he’s opened an orphanage in Russia and plans others in other parts of the world. This seems noble, but remember – this orphanage was built with profits made off of his failure as a parent, husband and human being. Also, orphanages set up by ministries are not there with the child’s best interest in mind. They are there to spread the word of Christ first, helping children is ancillary, a side-effect. Rest assured, if a Jewish kid sought refuge in a Christian-based orphanage – he or she would not be free to be themselves.
You may have noticed, I am using Robert Rogers’ name a lot. I want you to remember it and I want you to remember his story. If you ever see a man named Robert Rogers with slicked back hair talking about how the love of God and Christ helped him find peace with the deaths of his wife and children - call him out on it. Let him know that he may be a hero in the eyes of the imaginary being he calls God, but to the rest of us…he’s a coward.
Five more names we should all remember; Melissa, Makenah, Zachary, Nicholas and Alenah. These five people are dead. They are not in heaven, they are not in hell. They were robbed of a chance to live out their lives because of an unreasonable faith in an imaginary friend.