The COVID-19 outbreak is definitely scary. There are no two ways about the situation. There are sensible people out there who are telling people to wash their hands. Doctors out there have also risked their lives while some have even died trying to help patients suffering from COVID-19 infection! Then there are a few religious conservatives with certain beliefs and they intend to only use this outbreak for their own means and propaganda.
Religious conservatives’ blame game
A few days ago, an Orthodox rabbi in Israel blamed the LGBTQ+ community for the coronavirus spread. The rabbi also claimed that it was divine punishment from God and stated that nations that allow LGBTQ+ Pride parades are the ones suffering the most. Rabbi Meir Mazuz announced that Pride is “a parade against nature, and when someone goes against nature, the one who created nature takes revenge on him.” He also stated, “except for the Arab countries that don’t have this evil inclination” and criticised other countries for being so open about LGBTQ+ parades.
Mazuz’s statement, though, is as false as it can get. The WHO has reported confirmed coronavirus cases across the Middle East. Iran has also seen one of the worst outbreaks but Mazuz claimed that this is because of “their hatred of Israel.”
The Anti-Defamation League of Isreal criticised Mazuz and gave out a statement stating that it is “regrettable that in times like these when the whole world comes together to eradicate coronavirus, Rabbi Mazuz finds it appropriate to blame the virus’s outbreak on the LGBTQ community. We harshly condemn his statements and urge him to apologize.”
Christian Evangelists have their own say
Religious conservatives from Christianity have already blamed the LGBTQ+ community in the past for several things. They seem focused on doing the same again with the COVID-19 outbreak.
Pastor Steven Andrew has renamed March “Repent of LGBT Sin Month” to protect “the USA from diseases, such as the Coronavirus.” He also claimed that he has shared his Gospel with over 80 million people. In a press release last week, the pastor stated, “God’s love shows it is urgent to repent, because the Bible teaches homosexuals lose their souls and God destroys LGBT societies. Obeying God protects the USA from diseases, such as the coronavirus.”
He also stated that, “Our safety is at stake, since national disobedience of God’s laws brings danger and diseases, such as coronavirus, but obeying God brings covenant protection. God protects the USA from danger as the country repents of LGBT, false gods, abortion and other sins.”
The LGBTQ+ hate that the pastor displayed wasn’t something new either. His website features an entire section dedicated to “25 truths you must know God says about LGBT.”
E.W. Jackson, another right-wing pastor, on his radio show, called it the ‘homovirus’. He informed his listeners that they need to be wary of the LGBTQ+ community. Jackson said, “The last thing in the world the black community needs is more destruction of the family, more attacks on the family, and that’s all this whole homosexual movement amounts to. It is a virulent, violent attack. You know what? I’m going to get in trouble for this one, but this is right off the presses: It is the homovirus for the family.”
He also added, “Of course, I am speaking from a spiritual and a psychological perspective. I hope that no one misunderstands my little putting together of two things, because you know we’re talking about this coronavirus. I’m not talking about physical illness. I’m not talking about pronouncing any physical curses on people.”
Jackson was the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor of Virginia in 2013. He also ran in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in 2012 and 2018. Fortunately, he lost all three races by a huge margin.
A Televangelist and his product
Televangelists are quite possibly worse than religious conservatives when it comes to spreading hate. Religious conservatives stop at spreading hate. Televangelists spread hate and also take people’s money through shady means. They also sell potentially harmful products and advertise that they are ‘life-saving’. One such televangelist, Jim Bakker, came up with a product just last month. The product is called ‘Silver Solution’ and Bakker claims that this solution cures the coronavirus in 12 hours. The product apparently costs $115 on his website. The website is also required by California state law to tell people that ‘Silver Solution’ contains chemicals that “cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.”
The Jim Bakker Show is suggesting that the silver solution it sells can kill the coronavirus within 12 hours. pic.twitter.com/kbUGnUp69m
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) February 12, 2020
The New York Attorney General’s office has even ordered Jim Bakker to stop “making misleading claims regarding the Silver Solution’s effectiveness”. The Attorney General’s office sent out a letter that demanded that a representative from the show contact the office within 10 days to confirm compliance. The letter also stated that the office would “bring suit to enjoin any deceptive acts and practices, and to seek restitution, damages, and penalties of up to $5,000 per violation” if Bakker did not comply.
It is important;
It is important that people realize when they are being fooled. Human beings are diverse and vivid. It is important that hate is stifled. It is important that we do not let such fear-mongering authorities get the best of our humanity. In trying times, the division of our worth and seceding to such authorities is not an option. Keeping our heads up and standing beside our fellow humans is what’s most important.