Some extremist members of the religious right have already blamed the current health crisis on LGBTQ people, and now the always reliable Pat Robertson has added his two cents.
Monday on The 700 Club, Robertson linked the COVID-19 pandemic to marriage equality and abortion.
In a clip captured by Media Matters for America, cohost Terry Meeuwsen read a viewer's question to Robertson: "This is John, Pat, who says, "'Pat, last week you were talking about COVID-19. You quoted Chronicles 7:14 [a Bible verse that calls on God for healing]. How can God heal our land and forgive the sins when abortion and same-sex marriage are laws and many people are anti-Israel. Doesn't this prevent his healing and forgiveness?'"
"You know, I think you put your finger on something very important," Robertson replied, noting that the verse says healing and forgiveness are contingent on turning from "wicked ways." "We are not turning when we have done terrible things," he continued. "We have broken the covenant that God made with the mankind. We have violated his covenant. We have taken the life of the innocent, slaughtered them by the tens of millions. Children made in the image of God. And we have abused the poor. I mean, we've allowed this terrible plague to spread throughout our society. And it's a small wonder God would hold us guilty. But the answer is, you know, you confess your sins and forsake them. Then he heals the land. It's not before. You are right."
In the episode referenced by the viewer, Robertson had rebuked the virus "in the name of Jesus" and called for it to be gone by Easter. In response to his latest comment, LGBTQ activists are rebuking him.
"Pat Robertson is once again using tragedy to advance anti-LGBTQ rhetoric that will continue to isolate and harm the LGBTQ community," Michael Vazquez, director of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's religion and faith program, said in a press release. "Jesus never said that being LGBTQ is a sin, and in no way does the Bible correlate the LGBTQ community to natural disasters or other global events and pandemics, including COVID-19. The Bible does, however, give clear instruction to those who adhere to it to 'do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God.' At the core of the Christian faith is an ethic of love and justice, and what Robertson is advocating for is an ethic of hate and violence. Christians who continue to use the LGBTQ community, and other marginalized populations, as scapegoats for tragedy betray their God-given duty to be people of love and inclusion, and doers of mercy and justice."
Other Christian right extremists who have linked the pandemic to LGBTQ people include Rick Wiles, whose TruNews program holds White House press credentials, and Ralph Drollinger, who conducts Bible study for members of Congress and Donald Trump's Cabinet.