Many conservatives refuse to believe climate change is real, so when natural disasters strike, who do they blame? Gay people, of course.
With the devastating hurricanes currently ravaging the country, the “blame the gays” trope is back and stronger than ever. Below, we highlight seven natural disasters that evangelicals declared were God’s wrath against gays.
Hurricane SandyDebbie Egan-Chin/NY Daily News via Getty Images
When Sandy ravaged the Eastern seaboard in 2012, British preacher John McTernan said we had Barack Obama’s endorsement of same-sex marriage to blame. He also claimed both Obama and opponent Mitt Romney “are pro-homosexual and are behind the homosexual agenda” and that “America is under political judgment and the church does not know it!”
2011 Earthquake And Tsunami in JapanAthit Perawongmetha/Getty Images
Cindy Jacobs, co-founder of the Generals International ministry, declared that the devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami that killed more than 16,000 people in Japan was due to the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
How a government action in the U.S. is tied to seismic activity in Japan, we don’t know. But Jacobs also said allowing gays in the military caused mass bird deaths.
Hurricane JoaquinRichard Ellis/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Family Research Council honcho Tony Perkins has often called natural disasters a sign of God’s wrath against homosexuals. He pinpointed the devastation that occurred in Haiwaii after Hurricane Joaquin in 2015 as an example, saying it was punishment for marriage equality and abortion.
Ironically, Perkins’ Louisiana home was destroyed by a flood in 2016. Draw your own conclusions.
South African WildfiresRODGER BOSCH/AFP/Getty Images
South African paramedic Bossie Boshoff was suspended earlier this year after saying the wildfires that devastated large parts of South Africa—and forced 10,000 people out of their homes—were God’s punishment for same-sex marriage.
“Can you remember last year when [the town of] Knysna was made up in pink and 12 homosexual marriages took place on one day?” he wrote on Facebook. “It was only after the election of the Dutch Reformed Church when they approved gay homosexual marriage. It was all over the newspapers. It dared God. They mustn’t cry now about the fire. God doesn’t let himself be mocked.”
2016 Italian EarthquakeTIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images
Last year, a priest blamed a deadly earthquake in central Italy on the government passing civil unions.
Father Giovanni Cavalcoli said it was “offense to the family and the dignity of marriage” and that the 6.6-magnitude tremors were “divine punishment.”
New Zealand EarthquakeMARTY MELVILLE/AFP/Getty Images
Brian Tamaki of Auckland’s Destiny Church blamed gay people for natural disasters of every kind in a 2016 Facebook post. When New Zealand was hit with a 7.8 quake the next day, he doubled-down on his words: “As predicted during yesterday morning’s service, the recent natural disasters are a sign that ’nature was never created to carry the bondage of our iniquity.'”
Hurricane HarveyMARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
Pastor Kevin Swanson wasted no time declaring that the devastation Harvey wreaked in Texas was due to Houston electing an out lesbian, Annise Parker, as mayor. (The fact that Parker had already left office last year didn’t seem to matter.)
He also blamed Harvey on Texas’ failure to pass a bathroom bill, saying “Jesus sends the message home, unless Americans repent, unless Houston repents…they will all likewise perish.”