A former congressional candidate in Virginia has claimed that COVID-19 is God’s punishment for homosexuality, which he maintains must be criminalized in the United States.
Heerak Christian Kim, who sought the Republican Party nomination for Virginia’s 8th Congressional District, made the outlandish claim in a video posted to Twitter on August 29.
“Many Christians believe that COVID-19 is punishment by God against #America because of legal protection of homosexuality which the Holy Bible requires that nations illegalize (sic) by national, state, local laws,” Kim wrote on Twitter.
In the attached video — filmed from the Las Vegas Strip — Kim talked about enjoying Las Vegas before abruptly pivoting to discuss how COVID-19 continues to hospitalize and kill people.
“COVID hasn’t gone away,” he said. “I assure you, there are people dying from COVID every day, right now, even people who are fully COVID vaccinated, even for people who are double boosted. Your magical kingdom can just evaporate overnight. So if you think COVID-19 has gone away, you’re just fooling yourself.”
Kim claimed the reason for the pandemic is a divine punishment for homosexuality. He then compared the current pandemic to the 10 plagues in the Book of Exodus. In the Biblical story, God sends 10 successive plagues to Egypt to penalize the Pharaoh for refusing to let Jewish slaves go free.
“Christians are saying until homosexuality is illegalized (sic) in the United States of America, Americans can expect God to punish America, send plague after plague,” Kim ranted. “COVID-19 is only the first plague. And there are more plagues coming.”
To end COVID-19, Kim called for federal and state governments to criminalize homosexuality, saying gay people should be tried, convicted and executed.
Historically, homosexuality was criminalized in early colonial America and could be punished by death until the 19th century. South Carolina was the last state to repeal the death penalty in 1873. Homosexuality could still be punished at the state level with imprisonment or other penalties for the first half of the 20th century, although those laws began to be repealed in more recent decades, with all remaining state anti-sodomy laws being declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003.
However, Kim’s interpretation of religion — and his prescription for same-sex relations — is far from a universal stance among Christians.
The Human Rights Campaign, for one, published an article by the Christian educator Myles Markham at Columbia Theological Seminary pointing out some of the alternate Biblical interpretations surrounding homosexuality.
Because the Biblical context of same-sex relationships was so different from today’s, Markham argues that “Christians have a moral imperative to reconsider their interpretation of what the Bible says about LGBTQ+ identities.”
Kim’s homophobic views failed to win him much support in his Virginia primary. He won only 17 votes in the Republican primary. Karina Lipsman, who won the Republican nomination, will now face Democratic incumbent Congressman Don Beyer Jr., as well as Teddy Fikre, an independent candidate, in the general election.
Kim’s Twitter bio has already adjusted to his loss, now declaring that he will run as a “MAGA America First candidate” in 2024.
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