For the better part of the last four decades, certain elements of the religious right have tried to convince us that voting Democratic isn’t just wrong, but could put your salvation at risk. This trend has ramped up exponentially in the Donald Trump era. From the time Trump locked up the Republican nomination in 2016, the nation’s so-called moral guardians have warned us against even thinking about voting blue. Their explanation? God put Trump in office, and the opposition to him is demonically driven.
Well, earlier this week, one rabidly pro-Trump pastor took this bullying campaign to a new and obscene level. He suggested–with a straight face–that God punished blue states for their insolence by infecting people with coronavirus.
Lately, Pentecostal televangelist and pastor Perry Stone has taken his rabid loyalty to Trump to the same level as the likes of Jim Bakker, Lance Wallnau, Steve Strang, and Rick Joyner. Even as evidence mounted of Trump’s abuse of power in the Ukraine scandal, he insisted that his pursuers were possessed by demons. He also warned that if the Democrats didn’t leave Trump alone, he and other Christians covering Trump in prayer might have to tell God, “Sic ’em!”
So it’s been amply established that Stone has thrown himself headlong into the religious right’s effort to make us bow and pray to the orange god they made. But even allowing for that, a message Stone delivered on Tuesday night is shocking even by his standards.
While speaking that night during a prayer gathering at his church, Omega Center International in Cleveland, Tennessee; Stone claimed that coronavirus was a divine punishment for taking God out of our public life. Right Wing Watch got a clip.
Earlier that morning, Stone said, he’d been waked up to hear a voice saying that this country was facing a moment of reckoning. He believed the bill was coming due for years of telling God, “In public places, you’re not welcome.” For instance, he claimed that the shutdown of dozens of school systems across the country was directly tied to not forcing kids to pray.
Just in case there was any doubt where this was going, he then suggested abortion was a factor, arguing that many pro-choice women “have a spirit about them where there is no love.” He argued that abortion runs counter to Romans 1’s command against “going after ‘strange flesh'”–and that LGBT rights were a violation of this passage as well. He claimed that while God was “long-suffering,” there will eventually be a time where God says, “Enough is enough.”
When I heard this, I immediately recalled how Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson blamed the September 11 attacks on abortion and gay rights. They were deservedly slammed up and down for such a callous response to a national tragedy. Stone deserves the same treatment for his outrageous take on the greatest national tragedy we have faced since September 11.
If possible, it went downhill from there. Later that night, Stone argued that God was sending a message to the blue states with the COVID-19 outbreak. People for the American Way’s Right Wing Watch got a clip.
Stone told his audience that San Francisco, along with almost all of the core of the Bay Area, had imposed a “shelter-in-place” order, with all non-essential travel banned for at least three weeks. Stone noted that one of the cities affected by this order was the San Francisco-based congressional district of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
To Stone’s mind, it was “either the weirdest coincidence that has existed in many years, just totally by chance, or it’s a message of some kind” that Pelosi’s district is covered by this order. Stone also noted that New York City, hometown of House Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, was mulling a similar order.
Stone added that just before he went to air, his longtime friend, fellow pastor and evangelist Jenetzen Franklin had told him Los Angeles, part of which is represented by House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff, was also considering a shelter-in-place order. He openly admitted that he may have been “weird in how I see things,” but it was because he operated in the prophetic, “and prophetic people are strange.”
The message was obvious–coronavirus is hitting the hometowns of three of Trump’s most intractable foes. If there was any doubt where he was going, he erased it when he noted that West Virginia, which gave Trump a punishing 68-26 victory over Hillary Clinton, didn’t have any coronavirus cases at all.
Not long after Stone signed off, West Virginia reported its first coronavirus case. But Senator Joe Manchin noted that it’s probably taken longer for a diagnosis to come to light because of the lack of testing.
Has it occurred to Stone that maybe, just maybe, California, New York and other blue states have the resources to be able to test people more often? And has Stone considered that a large number of people traveling from the most affected areas of Europe and Asia were likely to have brought the virus to the two states that see the most international travel in the country? But then again, such little things as facts never get in the way of a campaign of hate tinged with fire and brimstone.
Imagine if someone like William Barber or Al Sharpton suggested that Ebola or H1N1 had been a plague on the red states for the ceaseless hate and bigotry directed at Barack Obama. It would have been rightly called out for the hateful, callous pigweed that it was. Stone deserves the same treatment for even suggesting that coronavirus is a plague on the blue states.
- Eric Trump: Wahhhh, ‘Awful People’ Want Accounting From My Dad - April 6, 2020
- GA Beach Town Wants To Keep Curve Flat–Even If Governor Doesn’t - April 5, 2020
- FL Insurer Takes Pandemics More Seriously Than Pastor And Governor - April 4, 2020
- Colorado Springs GOP Boss: Condemning My COVID-19 Lies Is Racist - April 3, 2020
- Kellyanne: Biden Needs To ‘Offer Some Support’ To Trump Over COVID-19 - April 1, 2020
- Trump Tries To Tout New COVID-19 Test Kit–And Fails - March 31, 2020
- Pastor Faces Arrest For Endangering Tampa Bay With Coronavirus - March 30, 2020
- Right-Wing Editor: Virginia Can’t Tell Us Not To Gather In Church - March 29, 2020
- Lara Trump Tries To Convince Us Her Father-In-Law Can Lead - March 28, 2020
- Jim Bakker: Waahhhh, Telling Me I Can’t Sell My Silver Goo Is Demonic - March 24, 2020