Robertson Strikes Again :: ’Gayness’ Provoked East Coast Tremor
Disclaimer: The Borwitz Report article this story reports on turned out to be a satirical fake news item. This article has been taken down and is no longer directly accessible at EDGE. That’s not to say Robertson didn’t offer an interpretation of the quake that suggests God’s wrath at work: To see what he actually did say, click here.
Televangelist Pat Robertson pinned blame once more on gays, this time for the 5.8 earthquake that struck Virginia and was felt all along the Eastern seaboard, reported blog The Borowitz Report on Aug. 24.
In the case of the East Coast quake, it wasn’t even gays per se, but rather behavior that Robertson labeled "gay-like" that purportedly prompted the Almighty to smote Americans.
"All across the Eastern seaboard, there are men who get manicures, wear designer eyewear and know about thread counts," Robertson told viewers of his program The 700 Club on Aug. 24. "God finds this somewhat gay-like behavior confusing, and He responded by getting mildly peeved."
And that, Robertson warned, could be only the beginning, unless American men start wearing plaid and jeans and stop it already with the Days of Beauty.
"If you keep getting pedicures and facials, you can expect two to three inches of rain and some really hot humid days in your future," the televangelist predicted.
That line of magical thinking -- that "immoral" human conduct such as men using eyeliner and choosing high-quality linens angers God and triggers earthquakes -- has been a staple of religious leaders, with Robertson at the forefront of the pack. Early in 2010, the televangelist claimed that a devastating earthquake in Haiti was the result of the Haitians having made a deal with the Devil.
The message is clear: Unless they want to court further God-sent natural disasters, people should live more "moral" lives.
On the other hand, getting too upset about the quake could also set God off again -- at least, if the tears and lamentation should arise from New York City, the blog said.
"God looks at people who get their panties in a twist after a little shaking, and He says to Himself, ’Wow, that’s really kind of gay,’ " Robertson cautioned.
New Yorkers might be less than inclined to react with bedlam to the trembler, and even less inclined to pay much mind to the man who, ten years ago, agreed with fellow televangelist Jerry Falwell, who hastened to pin the blame for the terrorist attacks of 9/11 on gays and feminists, rather than the terrorists who actually hijacked and crashed four passenger planes.
"The ACLU’s got to take a lot of blame for this," Falwell said during the Sept. 13, 2001, broadcast of The 700 Club." Falwell went on to say, "I really believe that 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.’ "
Responded Robertson, "Well, I totally concur, and the problem is we have adopted that agenda at the highest levels of our government. And so we’re responsible as a free society for what the top people do. And, the top people, of course, are the court system."
Religious voices belonging to the fringe anti-gay right were not the only ones seeking to blame gays for the earthquake. Rabbi Yehuda Levin quickly posted a YouTube Video to claim that the quake was the work of gays, and that the quake was only the latest in a string of natural disasters that were, in actuality, punishments from God. Levin also cited the quake in Haiti, along with the tsunamis in Thailand and Japan.
"An email went out in my community just a few hours ago," Levin said. " ’How long will it take Rabbi Yehuda Levin to tie this earthquake in with homosexual marriage?’ I’d like to answer that tonight: Not very long at all."
But not all figures on the religious right agree that human conduct leads directly to natural disasters. Texas Gov. and presidential candidate Rick Perry, who recently helped organize a prayer rally to appeal to God in a time of national economic crisis, said recently that he does not believe in global warming.