"New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast have always been known for gambling, sin and wickedness. It is the kind of behavior that ultimately brings the judgment of God."
The Birmingham News reported a negative reaction to Erwin's column from Christian leaders:
William Willimon, bishop of the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church, suggested another response from Christians to the disaster.
"I have no idea what sort of senator or politician Mr. Erwin is, but he's sure no theologian," Willimon said. "I'm certainly against gambling and its hold on state government in Mississippi, but I expect there is as much sin, of possibly a different order, in Montevallo as on the Gulf Coast. If God punished all of us for our sin, who could stand?
"Next week, 300 United Methodist clergy from north Alabama are spending a week working together to help folks in trouble on the Gulf Coast," he added. "That seems to me a much more appropriate Christian response than that of the senator."