Colorado Pastor: Hurricane Harvey Devastated Houston Because Texas Didn’t Pass Bathroom Bill

“Jesus sends the message home."

Kevin Swanson, an evangelical pastor in Colorado, claims that Hurricane Harvey killed at least 45 people and caused billions in damage because Houston mayor Anisse Parker was an out lesbian.

On his podcast Friday, Swanson also cited Texas’ failure to pass a bathroom bill in the recent legislative session as a culprit in the devastating natural disaster.

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“Jesus sends the message home, unless Americans repent, unless Houston repents, unless New Orleans repents, they will all likewise perish,” Swanson declared on his radio show Friday. “That is the message that the Lord Jesus Christ is sending home right now to America.”

Swanson said the Texas Privacy Act “would have prevented cross-dressing men from using the women’s restrooms” but it failed because, in his view, lawmakers “wanted to encourage the abomination of men attempting to dress like women and women attempting to dress like men.”

The measure and several other anti-LGBT bills were favored by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, but even Republicans didn’t want to waste time on them. “I’m disgusted by all this,” said Republican Speaker Joe Straus. “Tell the lieutenant governor I don’t want the suicide of a single Texan on my hands.”

Such venom is nothing new for Swanson: He’s claimed that Frozen was a Satanic plot to turn kids gay, and that he’d rather smear himself in feces than go to a gay couple’s wedding. He’s also frequently reminded his flock that the Bible calls for homosexuals to be put to death.

Other right-wing Christians have linked Harvey to Houston’s record of LGBT acceptance: “Here’s a city that has boasted of its LGBT devotion, its affinity for the sexual perversion movement in America,” Christian radio host Rick Wiles. “They’re underwater.” And professional gadfly Ann Coulter declared she’d sooner believe gays caused the hurricane than climate change.

Of course, Swanson also claimed that Harvey’s next target would be New Orleans, because it was hosting Southern Decadence, but Louisiana avoided much of the hurricane’s brunt.

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.