Anti-gay Christian pastor Steven Anderson has said that the bushfires currently ravaging Australia are the “judgment of God” for “banning and deporting preachers of the Gospel.”
Australia previously banned Anderson from entering its borders in July, becoming the 33rd country to do so, largely because of Anderson’s controversial statements, including his rhetoric calling for LGBTQ people to be put to death by the government because of the Bible’s condemnation of homosexuality.
Other countries that banned him include Europe’s 26 “Schengen states” — those that have abolished a passport and other border control measures among them — the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, South Africa, Botswana, and, perhaps most surprisingly, given its anti-gay laws criminalizing same-sex relations between men, Jamaica.
Recently, Australia has experienced severe droughts which, coupled with record-breaking temperatures, has led to a series of uncontrollable bushfires that have ravaged the country, resulting in the destruction of thousands of homes, and the deaths of an estimated half a billion animals and at least two dozen people.
Taking to Facebook, Anderson, of the Arizona-based Faithful Word Baptist Church, posted images of the bushfires, writing: “Maybe if Australia weren’t banning and deporting preachers of the Gospel, they wouldn’t be under the judgment of God.”
His comments were largely not well received, with many people posting negative reactions and comments criticizing him for his spiteful and what many people would call “un-Christian” response to the tragedy.
Of course, Anderson is no stranger to controversy, having praised the Pulse nightclub shooter and called the victims “a bunch of disgusting perverts and pedophiles” and “disgusting homosexuals who the Bible says were worthy of death.”
He has also claimed that the only way to stop the spread of HIV is by killing all gay people, which he claims will “cure” AIDS.
And he has praised countries with laws that carry the death penalty for those found to be LGBTQ or involved in same-sex relationships.
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