An Orthodox rabbi in Israel is blaming the outbreak of coronavirus strain COVID-19 on Pride.
Rabbi Meir Mazuz delivered a screed against the celebration of LGBTQ identity Saturday at Kiseh Rahamim yeshiva in Bnei Brak, which he helms.
In the remarks, the prominent Sephardic religious leader called Pride "a parade against nature, and when someone goes against nature, the one who created nature takes revenge on him," reported the Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom and The Times of Israel.
As "proof" of this divine vengeance, Mazuz falsely claimed that only "Arab countries that don’t have this evil inclination” to host Pride events have been spared from COVID-19, which was declared a global pandemic Wednesday by the World Health Organization. Iran is among the worst-hit countries by the outbreak, but Mazuz said its "hatred of Israel" is to blame for this.
Mazuz's remarks were condemned by several human rights organizations, including the Israeli arm of the Anti-Defamation League.
“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," ADL said in a statement. "We harshly condemn his statements and urge him to apologize."
In recent years, Mazuz has blamed Pride for various acts of terrorism and violence. Tel Aviv and Jerusalem both host major parades annually in Israel, which is considered the most LGBTQ-friendly nation in the Middle East.
But unfortunately, Mazuz is far from alone in "blaming the gays" for the COVID-19 pandemic. Steven Andrew, pastor of the USA Christian Church, said last week in a press release that "LGBT sin" is responsible for the pandemic.
As of Wednesday, more 120,000 people have tested positive for the virus, which has impacted over 100 nations and taken the lives of more than 4,300 worldwide. Misinformation, not "LGBT sin," is aiding in its spread. To fight this, international health officials are encouraging hand-washing, limited social contact, and — for those experiencing symptoms — self-quarantine.