Televangelist Pat Robertson: COVID-19 is punishment for marriage equality

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Robertson said the pandemic is the result of people 'not turning when we have done terrible things.'

Televangelist Pat Robertson associated COVID-19 with marriage equality and abortion on Monday on Christian Broadcast Network's "The 700 Club."

His co-host Terry Meeuwsen read a comment from a viewer who asked about Robertson's reference to COVID-19 last week and whether "God heal our land and forgive the sins" when people can legally access abortion and marriage equality.

"Doesn't this prevent his healing and forgiveness?" the viewer asked.

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Robertson said, "You know, I think you put your finger on something very important. You know, the Bible says, they turn from their wicked ways. They didn't get forgiven. They will turn from their wicked ways. ... We are not turning when we have done terrible things."

He added, "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."

Robertson has railed against LGBTQ equality many times during his career. In May of last year, he said the Equality Act, a nondiscrimination bill that would clarify and expand protections for LGBTQ people in housing, employment, and more would "bring the judgment of God on this nation."

"I was reading in Leviticus where it says because of these things the land 'will vomit you out.' Vomit you out. I think God will say, 'I've had it with America if you do this kind of stuff. I'm going to get rid of you as a nation.'"

Robertson has mentioned the pandemic often on his show. In March, he claimed that having a healthy gut would protect people from getting ill.

"If your gut is healthy, you don't have to worry about corona," he said.

During that same show, he falsely said that, "people who have died so far are those who are already sick with something else," despite evidence at the time showing the virus was affecting the healthy as well as those with pre-existing conditions.

Robertson has long expressed homophobic views and opposition to LGBTQ equality. In 2016, he responded to a shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando that left 49 people dead by saying, "The left is having a dilemma of major proportions, and I think for those of us who disagree with some of their policies, the best thing to do is to sit on the sidelines and let them kill themselves."

He said in 1998, referring to an LGBTQ celebration at Walt Disney World, "I would warn Orlando that you're right in the way of some serious hurricanes, and I don't think I'd be waving those flags in God's face if I were you ... It'll bring about terrorist bombs; it'll bring earthquakes, tornadoes, and possibly a meteor."

Other far-right Christians have joined Robertson in his assessment of the pandemic.

Franklin Graham, the son of the late evangelist Billy Graham and an unofficial spiritual adviser to Donald Trump, said that COVID-19 is the result of sin.

In an interview with Jeanine Pirro, Graham, who once said marriage equality "detestable before almighty God" recently said of COVID-19, "It's because of the sin that's in the world. Man has turned his back on God, we have sinned against him, and we need to ask for God’s forgiveness."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.