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Rather than wash their hands or stockpile toilet roll, some conservative religious figures have adopted a different strategy to deal with coronavirus: blame the LGBTQ community.
Last week, an Orthodox rabbi in Israel and an American pastor both claimed that coronavirus was divine punishment for allowing LGBTQ people to exist.
According to the Times of Israel, Rabbi Meir Mazuz claimed over the weekend that COVID-19 — which was recently declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization — was retribution for nations that allow LGBTQ Pride parades.
Mazuz said Pride is “a parade against nature, and when someone goes against nature, the one who created nature takes revenge on him.”
As evidence of his claims, Mazuz said that nations are being afflicted with coronavirus for supporting LGBTQ equality, “except for the Arab countries that don’t have this evil inclination.”
That statement is false — the WHO currently reports confirmed cases of coronavirus across the Middle East. Iran in particular has seen one of the worst outbreaks of the virus, though Mazuz claimed that is because of “their hatred of Israel.”
The Israeli branch of the Anti-Defamation League criticized Mazuz in a statement, calling it “regrettable that in times like these when the whole world comes together to eradicate coronavirus, Rabbi Mazuz finds it appropriate to blame the virus’s outbreak on the LGBTQ community.”
“We harshly condemn his statements and urge him to apologize,” ADL added.
Closer to home, a Christian pastor who declared March to be LGBT Sin Month has suggested that coronavirus is God trying to “[destroy] LGBT societies.”
Pastor Steven Andrew, who claims to have “shared the Gospel with over 80 million people,” made the comments in a press release last week, the Advocate reports.
“God’s love shows it is urgent to repent, because the Bible teaches homosexuals lose their souls and God destroys LGBT societies,” Andrew said. “Obeying God protects the USA from diseases, such as the coronavirus.”
He added: “Our safety is at stake, since national disobedience of God’s laws brings danger and diseases, such as coronavirus, but obeying God brings covenant protection. God protects the USA from danger as the country repents of LGBT, false gods, abortion and other sins.”
Andrew recommends that Americans “ask God’s ‘forgiveness’ and ‘confess homosexuality is sinful.'”
The CDC currently recommends: avoid close contact with people who are sick; cover your cough or sneeze with a fixed elbow or tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash; avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands; clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces; and wash your hands frequently with hot water and soap for 20 seconds.
Andrew is no stranger to anti-LGBTQ sentiment. His website features an entire section dedicated to “25 truths you must know God says about LGBT.”
Needless to say, they’re not flattering, and include additions from Andrew such as, “God blessed the USA when the founding fathers made laws forbidding homosexual sin.”
Mazuz and Anderson aren’t the first religious conservatives to try to connect LGBTQ people to coronavirus. In January, a right-wing pastor and broadcaster who was granted press credentials by the White House claimed that coronavirus was sent by God to “purge” LGBTQ people.
Rick Wiles, founder of Christian website TruNews, suggested that the spread of COVID-19 is a plague from God to “purge a lot of sin off this planet,” and called LGBTQ people “vile” and “disgusting.”
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