The coronavirus is God’s punishment for the Gay Pride. That’s what the Israeli Rabbi Meir Mazuz claims anyway. His American colleague Reverend Steven Andrews goes a little further: with the corona pandemic, God is trying to purify the world of LGBTI+ communities.

This is not the first time that LGBTI+ people have been blamed for natural disasters. Last year Israel Folau, a former rugby player and pastor in the Australia-based ‘The Truth of Jesus Christ Church’, had linked the huge forest fires in his country to the introduction of same-sex marriage.

In 2018, the Indonesian opposition leader Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had said that Allah had caused the massive earthquake earlier that year because the country had not done enough to stop lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activities.

According to American radical Christians, pastors and rabbis such as Rick Wiles, Jonathan Cahn and Noson Leiter, some of the major hurricanes in the United States were also a way for God to express His anger at that movement of sexual perverts (LGBTI+ people) and opening up of marriage to people of the same sex.

Closer to home, in 2014 there was UKIP councillor David Silvester who tried to shift the blame for the severe storms and floods in the UK to the government. In Silvester’s opinion, the prime minister had sinned heavily against the Bible by making same-sex marriage possible in the country. And God didn’t just let something like that pass.

And the Italian priest Giovanni Cavalcoli had said in 2016 that the powerful earthquake in central Italy, in which hundreds of people died, was a divine punishment for the introduction of the Civil Union Law for LGBTI people.

If you Google a little more, you can certainly make this list a lot longer. There have been statements like these in practically every time period.

Dr. Jonas Roelens, who co-authored the book Verzwegen verlangen, een geschiedenis van homosexualiteit in België (‘Silent desire, a history of homosexuality in Belgium’), made a Facebook post quoting a certain Joos de Damhouder from 1555: “Ende om dese horrible en afgriselicke sins worden de mens gheonden hogerhere pestilencien, orloghen, eertbevyng, inondacien en diere ghelycke meer andere plaeghen.” (“Because of these terrible sins, man is punished by God with the plague, wars, earthquakes, floods and other disasters.”)

Thankfully, things aren’t as bad today as they were in the 16th century, when Joos de Damhouder may have actually believed that God would get so directly involved in the lives of his followers. Today, fortunately, people with such beliefs are exceptions to the rule. It still doesn’t make any sense, of course.

Because if corona is a punishment for the Pride, why would countries like Iran or Saudi Arabia be affected as well? If God wanted to purify the world of homosexuality, why would He let so many others get sick and perish? As far as I know there are no signs that only LGBTI+ people are dying. 

Two hundred years after Joos de Damhouder, Voltaire wrote a poem about this. Lisbon was hit by an earthquake and a tsunami in 1755. An estimated 40,000 people died. And once again, some saw the hand of God in it. However, Voltaire’s poem Poème sur le Désastre de Lisbonne went as follows:

(…) Direz-vous, en voyant cet amas de victime:
Dieu s’est vengé, leur mort est le prix de leurs crimes?
Quel crime, quelle faute ont commis ces enfants 
Sur le sein maternel écrasés et sanglants? 
Lisbonne, qui n’est plus, eut-elle plus de vices 
Que Londres, que Paris, plongés dans les délices: 
Lisbonne est abîmée, et l’on danse à Paris. (…)

(…) Seeing the mass of victims, will you say,
“God is avenged. Their death is the price of their crimes”?
What crime, what fault had the young committed,
Who lie bleeding at their mother’s breast?
Did fallen Lisbon indulge in more vices
Than London or Paris, which live in pleasure?
Lisbon is no more, but they dance in Paris. (…)

If God is acting like some kind of avenger, why would His actions be so arbitrary? It doesn’t really fit His image of an all-knowing and honest judge, does it?

Besides, there is the ironic case of Tony Perkins’ house getting flooded in Louisiana. Tony Perkins is the chairman of an anti-LGBTI+ organisation and has previously claimed that God causes natural disasters to punish gays. 

And in 2016 there was a study by two U.S. scientists investigating the link between the appearance of hurricanes and the opening up of marriage to same-sex couples. It turned out that there was no such link. The only connection they found was that there were significantly more hurricanes in states that tend to vote conservatively Republican (but of course the hurricanes weren’t caused by the Republican vote).

Or would these be Our Lord’s jokes? Just to let us know that people shouldn’t proclaim the Flood in His place?

Moreover, the question is – why did homosexuality suddenly end up at the top of the list of ‘punishable sins’? If we look at the Bible, it doesn’t say much about homosexuality. The 35,000+ verses don’t even mention it 10 times. Even the 10 commandments don’t explicitly mention it. They do state that you may not murder, commit adultery, or steal. Those problems have certainly not been eradicated from the world yet. And yet, there is no virus, flood or earthquake to punish only murderers or thieves.

To me, the abovementioned statements seem in line with the personal agenda of the people who’ve made them. They worry about those Prides, about the opening up of marriage and the increasing respect for LGBTI+ persons. They have the feeling that their power and influence is decreasing and so they try to put God at their service. The ultimate power argument. Fortunately, we no longer live in 1555. If God, Yahweh or Allah cares, He will wait until He draws up the final bill.

But what do we do with these kinds of messages? Do we oppose them, or would it be better to ignore them? Quite a few people tend to do the latter. The statements seem so grotesque that most people can’t imagine anyone taking them seriously. And yet, the Facebook page of Rick Wiles is followed by more than 100,000 people, Tony Perkins has just been appointed as chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom by Trump, Israel Folau has almost 160,000 followers on Facebook, and Zamid Hadiri has no less than 1.7 million. Those people therefore have influence. Real influence.

When we don’t give them resistance, when we let them commit, we increase the risk of people accepting their words as the truth. Silence is consent, you know. Maybe we won’t convince their followers. But maybe we’ll make sure some of the doubters don’t run into their trap. Because once they realise that they can attack LGBTI+ people without drawing any reaction, who will guarantee that they won’t take action, bring so-called sinners on the ‘right path’, and put their ideas for an LGBTI+ free world into practice? 

This text is a translation of a text originally written in Dutch. The original can be found here: