Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Irrational Ebola Theories

The Liberian Council of Churches has blamed Ebola on homosexuality. It’s tragic enough that 10,000 people have contracted Ebola in the region, and that half of them have died. Now, according to a report in Reuters, gay people are literally afraid to walk the streets after religious leaders have blamed the plague on them and newspapers have splashed their photos on the front page.

"Since church ministers declared Ebola was a plague sent by God to punish sodomy in Liberia, the violence toward gays has escalated. They're even asking for the death penalty. We're living in fear," LGBT activist Leroy Ponpon told Reuters over the phone from Monrovia. 

The Liberian Council of Churches released a statement saying "God is angry with Liberia, and that Ebola is a plague."  It went on:
 “Liberians have to pray and seek God's forgiveness over the corruption and immoral acts (such as homosexualism, etc.) that continue to penetrate our society. As Christians, we must repent and seek God's forgiveness.”

"Voluntary sodomy" is a crime in Liberia and can lead to a year in jail.

President Ellen Sirleaf called for a three-day period of fasting and prayer back in August, “to seek God’s face to have mercy on us and forgive our sins and heal our land.” Notably, Sirleaf’s call blamed witchcraft, rather than homosexuality, for the spread of the disease.

Oh, those backward Liberians. Oh, those backward Christians. Oh, those backward homophobes. But didn’t Ronald Reagan say that the AIDS epidemic took place because “illicit sex is against the Ten Commandments”?

In early August, Oklahoma conservative Christian radio host Rick Miles appeared to echo the anti-gay Liberian clergymen, pinning the advent of the epidemic on things loathed by American right-wing.
 "This Ebola epidemic can become a global pandemic, and that’s another name for plague," he said. "It may be the great attitude adjustment that I believe is coming. Ebola could solve America’s problems with atheism, homosexuality, sexual promiscuity, pornography and abortion."

Rational explanations for epidemics such as poor basic health-care and lack of medical dethrones their God from the position of Controller-in-Chief. And if God isn’t the one calling the shots in the universe, why bother with religion? So, better a vengeful God, who punishes a nation because some in it are having sex, than no God at all.

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