By Michelle Garcia
Originally published on Advocate.com October 31 2012 7:00 AM ET
When a major disaster happens, does every out-of-left-field crazy fringe preacher race to become the first to blame LGBT people?
This time, the "winner" was chaplain John McTernan (pictured above), the founder of Defend and Proclaim the Faith ministries. Hurricane Sandy has caused dozens of deaths and billions of dollars in damage, but McTernan used the then-pending hurricane to remind followers that the massive storm is just another bit of evidence that America is going to pot.
"God is systematically destroying America," McTernan wrote in a blog post on his website this week. "Just look at what has happened this year."
Then of course there was the ever-consistent folks at the Westboro Baptist Church, who praised God for the storm. Shirley Phelps-Roper, the daughter of the church's founder and leader Fred Phelps, tweeted Tuesday morning, "We bow in humble thanks 2 God 4 Sandy! Thank God for a plain message delivered to a puddle of states that proudly flip Him off! #FagMarriage"
As we know, blaming death, destruction, and mayhem on LGBT people simply isn't new. By now, we're used to it. But you still might be surprised just how often it happens.
On the following pages, see just a few examples of major disasters that sent blame-fingers pointed gayward.
Sodom and Gomorrah
Ah yes, where it all began. The Biblical tale of debauchery and mayhem in these two cities ends badly thanks to God's anger over all of that rape — in the form of, well, sodomy.
Northridge Earthquake, 1994
Pat Robertson said the 6.7 magnitude earthquake in Los Angeles County's San Fernando Valley, which caused about $25 billion in damage and 72 deaths, could be attributed to God's displeasure with gays and lesbians, pro-choice activists, and "perversity," he said according to a 1994 Advocate report.
Hurricane Bonnie, 1988
Pat Robertson tried to pre-emptively blame gay revelers at Disney World's Gay Days Weekend for being the cause of the pending storm. However, when the storm approached the U.S. mainland, it completely missed Florida but hit the rest of the east coast. One of the hardest-hit areas was Hampton Roads, Va., where Robertson's 700 Club is based.
Mass Animal Deaths, 2011
Remember last year when suddenly thousands of birds were falling dead from the sky, or tons of dead fish were just floating around belly up? Of course Cindy Jacobs of Generals International explained that the deaths stemmed from the military admitting openly gay and lesbian troops.
Just a couple of months later, Jacobs added that homosexuality caused the 9.0 magnitude earthquake, which prompted a destructive tsunami in eastern Japan, causing 15,870 deaths and $235 billion in damage.
"Everything that I said has happened," she said. "We have seen these disasters happen. We need to repent for turning away from God and saying that we can make any laws that we want, it doesn't matter... that God's laws don't count."
September 11, 2001
Following the life-changing terrorist attack, Jerry Falwell said, "I really believe that the pagans and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularized America. I point the finger in their face and say, 'you helped this happen.'"
Eastern U.S. Earthquake, 2011
A tremor up the east coast undoubtedly rocked the typically solid region, but that didn't stop antigay notables from shaking things up. Archconservative Orthodox rabbi Yehuda Levin, after blaming Haiti's destructive 2010 earthquake on the island nation's high HIV/AIDS rates, added that the earthquake originating in Virginia last year was caused by gay people.
Of course, Pat Robertson added that he believed that individuals "who act kind of gay" were behind the earthquke.
Hurricane Katrina, August 2005
Shortly following the massive destruction of hurricanes Katrina and Rita on the Gulf Coast, Repent America director Michael Marcavage issued a statement blaming the massive disaster on New Orleans's annual gay party, Southern Decadence.
"Although the loss of lives is deeply saddening, this act of God destroyed a wicked city," he wrote.
A year later, Megachurch Pastor John Haggee of San Antonio, Texas, said “God caused Hurricane Katrina to wipe out New Orleans because it had a gay pride parade the week before and was filled with sexual sin.”
Floods, Fires and Tornadoes Everywhere, 2012
Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who nearly beat former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for the Republican presidential nomination, is certainly a character. But it turns out there was a member on his campaign team who perhaps out-crazied him. Pam Olsen, the founder of the Florida Prayer Network, believed that marriage equality and ordination of gay priests could lead to floods, fires, and tornadoes.
"You know what, God is not one that is going to wink at sin," Olsen said in a video. "God is shaking. If anybody looks at the news and has just seen what's been happening recently with the floods, the fires, the tornadoes, God is shaking. Yeah I think you have God shaking, sure you have the enemy shaking, you have both and I don't want to say oh that's the judgment of God or that's the enemy. But the reality is God is judging us, and I think it's going to get worse."