By Trudy Ring
Originally published on Advocate.com May 24 2014 1:45 PM ET
LGBT people are being blamed for yet another natural disaster: The leaders of the Orthodox Church in Serbia and Montenegro this week said flooding in their region is a punishment for the victory of gay drag performer Conchita Wurst in the Eurovision song contest.
After floods left more than 50 people dead in the Balkan region of Eastern Europe, Patriarch Amfilohije, who heads the Orthodox Church of Montenegro, commented, “This is not a coincidence, but a warning,” according to the London Telegraph’s translation of a Serbian website. “God sent the rains as a reminder that people should not join the wild side.” The bearded drag queen, he said, appears as a “Jesus-like figure” but should be rejected, notes another U.K. source, Pink News.
Patriarch Irinej, who leads the church in Serbia, reportedly said the floods were “divine punishment for [LGBT people’s] vices” and that “God is thus washing Serbia of its sins,” reports the Telegraph.
The Orthodox Church, also known as Eastern Orthodox, is a Christian denomination with millions of members worldwide, primarily in Central and Eastern Europe.
Wurst, an Austrian whose real name is Tom Neuwirth, received praise from a leader of another Christian church this week, with the Roman Catholic archbishop of Vienna, Christoph Schönborn, congratulating Wurst on the win and calling the performer an example of the “multicoloured variety in God’s garden.” Wurst won the Eurovision contest early this month.