In the meantime, here are some things we’ve been blamed for that, oddly enough, have not repeated themselves in the wake of this morning’s Supreme Court ruling for marriage equality — and some longer-term predictions that are likewise unlikely to come true.
Hurricanes and other storms: In 1988, televangelist Pat Robertson tried to preemptively blame gay revelers at Walt Disney World’s Gay Days for attracting Hurricane Bonnie. However, when the storm reached the U.S. mainland, it completely missed Florida, the home of Disney World, but hit the rest of the East Coast. One of the hardest-hit areas was the Hampton Roads section of Virginia, where Robertson’s operations are based.
When Hurricane Katrina caused a levee breach and subsequent flooding in New Orleans in 2005, megachurch minister John Hagee 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.” Repent America director Michael Marcavage added, “Although the loss of lives is deeply saddening, this act of God destroyed a wicked city.” Note: New Orleans, although damaged, survived to host future Prides.
And in 2012, when Hurricane (or “Superstorm”) Sandy was approaching the Northeast, John McTernan, the founder of Defend and Proclaim the Faith ministries, wrote that “God is systematically destroying America.” After Sandy hit, Shirley Phelps-Roper of the infamous Westboro Baptist Church tweeted, “Thank God for a plain message delivered to a puddle of states that proudly flip Him off!”
Earthquakes and tsunamis: In 1994, Pat Robertson said the 6.7 magnitude earthquake in the Northridge section of Los Angeles, 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.”
Then in 2011, when a 9.0 magnitude earthquake prompted a destructive tsunami in eastern Japan, causing 15,870 deaths and $235 billion in damage, Cindy Jacobs of Generals International blamed it on homosexuality, especially the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” which she had earlier blamed for mass bird deaths: “Everything that I said has happened. 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.”
Terrorist attacks: Yes, in the wake of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson went there. “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 secularize America, I point the finger in their face and say ‘You helped this happen,’” Falwell said on Robertson’s 700 Club TV program. “Well, I totally concur,” responded Robertson.
More recently, rabidly homophobic commentator Bryan Fischer has predicted that God will use ISIS and other terrorist groups to unleash his wrath on America over acceptance of LGBT people. “God will use the pagan armies of Allah to discipline the United States for our debauchery,” he said last year.
Civil war — and the end of the world as we know it: Televangelist Rick Joyner recently warned that a Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality will “start an unraveling where our country fractures like it hasn’t since the Civil War.” Failed presidential candidate Alan Keyes and others are willing to start that war; leading up to the ruling, Keyes said that a pro–marriage equality decision would be “a just cause for war” as it would represent “a high crime and misdemeanor that effectively dissolves the just bonds of government between and among the states, and among the individuals who compose the people of the United States.”
What’s more, according to Joyner, legalizing same-sex marriage is a trial-run for receiving the Mark of the Beast, which will brand nonbelievers and condemn them to hell at the end of the world. Legalizing same-sex marriage “is a remarkable parallel and does everything that [the Bible] says the Mark of the Beast will do. … People are being put out of business because they would not violate their conscience, based on their belief in what God has said in his word about this issue, about homosexuality,” Joyner said. “And because they would not violate that, which was a religious conviction, they’ve been put out of business. They can no longer buy, sell, or trade and that’s what happens if you refuse to take the Mark of the Beast.” Meanwhile, conservative radio host Rick Wiles has predicted that America will be hit with a nuclear strike, or perhaps a “fireball from space.”
Jailing of ministers and banning the Bible: Rick Scarborough, of the self-immolation threat, has claimed that legalization of same-sex marriage will lead to noncompliant clergy being hauled off to jail (it won’t; no church or clergy member will have to perform any marriage they oppose). “If the court declares same-sex ‘marriage’ to be on the same par as a civil right, that’s a bridge too far,” Scarborough said this year. “We won’t obey. We’ll go to jail.” Then this week Glenn Beck said the Bible will be outlawed as a “hate book ... maybe right away, maybe not right away, but definitely it will happen.”
Or worse, concentration camps: Regarding a discrimination case against a baker who declined to serve a same-sex wedding, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council mused, “I’m beginning to think, are reeducation camps next? When are they going to start rolling out the boxcars to start hauling off Christians?” Alan Keyes, not to be outdone, has said same-sex marriage is part of a plot to create a communist regime that will authorize “the expropriation of all property” and “the murder of the masses.”
Just “some kind of calamity”: “When the United States, in its official policy, establishes homosexual sodomy as a basis for marriage under the Constitution,” antigay minister Scott Lively warned in March, “that’s a whole new ballgame and I’m predicting that we’re going to see some kind of calamity and judgment is going to occur ... We’re going to suffer the consequences of this and we’re going to see a rapid meltdown of the infrastructure of the country, especially anything related to the Christian infrastructure of America.”