Recently, I’ve seen quite a few news stories about religious leaders who claim the Ebola outbreak is God’s punishment for immoral activity here on our little blue marble.
For example, yesterday we had this from Pastor Ron Baity:
A Baptist preacher says the biblical “End Times” are upon us thanks to a federal judge striking down a ban on gay marriage in North Carolina.
According to Ron Baity of the Berean Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, N.C., God is so angry over the decision that He’s about to send something even worse than Ebola.
“You think Ebola is bad now, just wait,” Baity warned during his sermon on Sunday.
And if that wasn’t stomach churning enough for you, here’s a quote taken directly from his sermon:
“My friend, we are meriting, we are bringing the judgement of God on this nation as sure as Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed, don’t be surprised at the plagues. Don’t be surprised at the judgement of God,” Baity said. “You think Ebola is bad now, just wait. If it’s not that, it’s going to be something else. My friends, I want you to understand, you can’t thumb your nose at God, and God turn his head away without God getting your attention.”
But hey, no one ever takes the bible literally or seriously. We ALL know that Sodom and Gomorrah was simply a metaphor used to illustrate…err…violent acts carried out by a supernatural bully?
I don’t know. I’m lost. I guess you have to twist the story around quite a bit to try and take anything positive away from a biblical massacre.
And turning Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt for simply looking back is a symbol or metaphor for…
Screw it. I don’t know. I think it’s just another horrible story featuring unnecessary violence in a book full of such stories. Thankfully, no one takes these stories seriously.
And before anyone says that this is just one guy shouting crazy all by himself, keep in mind the Family Research Council awarded him the Watchman Award (top “pro-family” award) in 2012, even though he was on the record calling gay people:
“worse than maggots”, compared them to murderers, wants to ‘save’ them, claims gay people make society more filthy, says gays are “not normal” and embrace a “learned lifestyle”, says gays promote “perversion” in schools and are signing “America’s death warrant”
He sounds like a great guy. I’m sure he deserved the award.
Also recently, John Hagee had this to say on his show:
On yesterday’s broadcast of the “Hagee Hotline,” televangelist and Christians United For Israel founder John Hagee issued a stark warning to America that the Ebola crisis is God’s judgment on America for President Obama’s failure to adequately support Israel.
“I want every American to hear this very clearly,” Hagee said, citing Joel 3 to warn that God will judge any nation that seeks to divide up Israel and declaring that “our president is dead set on dividing Jerusalem. God is watching and he will bring America into judgment.”
You know…the John Hagee that has a church of over 20,000 members and who is worth about 5 million bucks?
Meanwhile, in Liberia:
Religious leaders in Liberia are claiming God has unleashed the deadly Ebola virus as a plague upon the country to punish “immoral acts” taking place there, such as homosexuality.
Various church leaders from the Liberia Council of Churches (LCC) reportedly attended a meeting to discuss “an spiritual response” to the outbreak of Ebola, which has claimed 932 lives across West Africa.
It comes as the Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf announced a 90-day state of emergency in the country as she warned “ignorance and poverty, as well as entrenched religious and cultural practices”, are continuing to exacerbate the spread of the disease.
And according to a Chief Imam in Liberia:
A Muslim cleric has opined that the deadly outbreak of the Ebola virus in the country is destined by Allah due to persistent violation of mankind’s covenant to be one another’s keepers in the society.
The Chief Imam of the Salafia Mosque, Sheikh Salah Sheriff, said not only is the Ebola outbreak in the country is the result of Liberia’s broken covenant made to God, he sees the disease, according to the Holy Quran, as what he referred to as “Azabolah”, meaning punishment of God.
When something bad happens, I guess we can usually count on religion to capitalize on it. Nothing like a good dose of fear to bring people into the flock, no matter how despicable the methods used to do so.
If I’m a moderate in any of these religions, I’d be wondering why these people think my God is so into slaughter and mayhem that it would visit a deadly disease on people. I thought these Gods were supposed to be loving and peaceful?