Extremist anti-LGBTQ pastor Kevin Swanson is joining other radical Religious Right activists in declaring that Hurricane Harvey is God’s judgment on Houston and other cities that refuse to repent for their embrace of “sexual perversion.”
“Jesus sends the message home, unless Americans repent, unless Houston repents, unless New Orleans repents, they will all likewise perish,” Swanson said on his radio program today. “That is the message that the Lord Jesus Christ is sending home right now to America.” Swanson said that it is no coincidence that Houston was hit by this storm because “it was persecuting pastors and churches” and recently had “a very, very aggressively pro-homosexual mayor.” On top of that, he said, the Texas legislature recently failed to pass a bill “that would have prevented cross-dressing men from using the women’s restrooms” because “they wanted to encourage the abomination of men attempting to dress like women and women attempting to dress like men.” Swanson went on to note that the remnants of Hurricane Harvey are heading toward New Orleans just as the city prepares for its annual “Southern Decadence” festival, saying that God is giving the city a “head’s up” before it hosts “the largest sexual perversion event in the country.”
Conservative Christian pastors have been blaming LGBT people for natural disasters since basically forever. But I don't think they've ever taken a moment to think through this line of argument. Because if you believe that Jesus hates LGBT people so much he can't stop Himself from drowning a straight mom holding her child and straight great-grandparents and their great-grandchildren because a lesbian got elected mayor once and the gays are having a street party the next state over, you're essentially arguing—no, you're actually arguing—that Jesus Christ has the morals of Adolf Hitler. Re-up a post I wrote on Slog in 2008 after Rev. John Hagee, a supporter of John McCain, claimed Jesus sent Hurricane Katrina to destroy New Orleans because he was so dang mad about, you guessed it, Southern Decadence:
The same folks argue that Jesus sent Katrina to punish New Orleans for tolerating gays in general and welcoming Southern Decadence, an admittedly sleazy gay street party. (Straight visitors to New Orleans, of course, are always very well behaved, completely sober, fully clothed, etc.) God, according to Hagee, is all-knowing and all-powerful… but incapable, it seems, of a surgical strike. Annoyed by the gay decadence in the French Quarter, God sent a hurricane that drowned little old ladies in their attics in the Ninth Ward, sick people in their beds in hospitals, and old folks in retirement homes. The French Quarter’s gay bars—site of all that decadence—survived Katrina unscathed. As I wrote in The Commitment…
God may be all-knowing and all-powerful, but He is, it seems, a lousy shot, the Mr. Magoo of higher powers.
God also, according to Hagee, has the morals of a Nazi. We executed Nazis that ordered reprisal killings and collective punishment, i.e., rounding up and shooting innocent villagers for after local resistance forces staged attacks. But Hagee blithely argues that Jesus—the Prince of Peace, the Friend of the Poor, the Lamb of God, etc.—will drown scores of little old ladies in nursing homes when He’s angry at gay people cavorting in bars ten miles away. Reprisal killings and collective punishment—how do Hagee, Robertson, Dobson, et al, get away with ascribing the morals of Adolf Hitler (or Saddam Hussein) to Jesus Christ?
Actually… Hagee would have us believe that Jesus is worse than Hitler. The Nazis executed innocent villagers in part because they couldn’t lay their hands on the resistance fighters in Norway, France, Italy, the Netherlands, etc. The Nazis, you see, weren’t omniscient. Jesus Christ, however, is. So He doesn’t have to kill little old ladies in nursing homes when the gays piss him off. He has the power to send hurricanes just to the French Quarter, and then only to the gay end of the street, to punish those wicked and decadent homosexuals (while sparing those wicked and decadent heterosexuals). But Jesus, according to Hagee, chooses not to do that. Instead He engages in reprisal killings and collective punishment, just like Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot, Joseph Stalin, and Saddam Hussein.