Well, now we know who's responsible.

The people to blame for the horrifying scenes of death and destruction in the United States this week, according to Reverend Jerry Falwell, are the members of the American Civil Liberties Union, abortion rights activists, pagans, gays and lesbians, and the U.S. federal courts. The efforts of secularists to "get God out of the public square, out of the schools" so angered Rev. Falwell's boss that He "lifted the curtain of protection" and permitted last Tuesday's horrifying events to teach Americans a lesson.

Rev. Falwell made these observations on The 700 Club, a Christian television program, while Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Coalition and host of The 700 Club, sat nodding at his side.

Perhaps God will sue Rev. Falwell for libel. Even if God were mad at the ACLU or the pagans or the gays, well, surely God knows that the ACLU's offices aren't located in the World Trade Center. God is omniscient, after all. And God must also be aware that there are no gay bars on the ground floor of the Pentagon. And if there were any pagans on the four airplanes hijacked on Tuesday, well, killing everyone hardly seems the work of a "just" God.

In the run-up to last fall's presidential election, John McCain called Rev. Falwell and Pat Robertson "agents of intolerance," and they certainly lived up to their billing this week. It wasn't an angry God, or Godless secularists, who brought down the World Trade Center on Tuesday. It was religious fanaticism and intolerance inflamed by hate-mongering clerics. I guess it's a blessing that Rev. Falwell and Pat Robertson have exposed themselves for what they are at this moment. Americans needed to be reminded that the Islamic world does not have a monopoly on hatred and fanaticism, nor do they have a monopoly on clerics who do evil in the name of God. We've got fanatics right here in the United States, and their presence may one day prove as destructive to our society as Osama bin Laden's will soon be to Afghanistan's.