Monday, March 30, 2020

Evangelicals undermining fight against coronvarius via similar tactics used against LGBTQ people

Anti-LGBTQ evangelical Todd Starnes is now undermining the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

LGBTQ people have told folks.

Hell, even I've told folks how conservative evangelicals either go overboard or use their religious beliefs as a way to absolve from following rules. Usually though, their actions have to do with cases of LGBTQ rights, so they tend to get away with successfully pulling the "it's a deeply held personal belief of my faith" card. But recent incidents involving the coronavirus pandemic should give pause to anyone wanting to believe that narrative. Utilizing tactics which they've worked against LGBTQ people, certain anti-LGBTQ figures are undermining the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

The hashtag #FilmYourHospital trended on Twitter Sunday, encouraging people to travel to ​nearby hospitals and record video of the exterior to supposedly show that media coverage of chaotic and overcrowded hospitals ​is untrue. 
 It appears that right-wing radio host Todd Starnes may have inspired the trend, although Starnes has not used the specific hashtag in any post. Starnes uploaded a video Saturday afternoon that he filmed wandering around outside of the Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York City. Starnes is heard off-camera telling viewers that he wanted to expose the “war zone” that an emergency room doctor at Brooklyn’s Brookdale Hospital described to CNN last week.

For those not familiar with him, Starnes is a homophobic conservative talking head who, when he is not targeting LGBTQ people, freely makes up stories of anti-Christian persecution. At this particular time, he is attempting to blunt the fact that the coronavirus is causing chaos in New York by creating a ridiculous narrative. Not only is the narrative a sick lie but, as People for the American Way points out, Starnes's "investigation" is being copied by other right-wing activists dumbasses. This could serve to create more disbelief in the seriousness of this pandemic, thereby causing more people to foolishly expose themselves to danger.

And Starnes isn't the only anti-LGBTQ figure interfering in the fight against the pandemic:

A group of pastors and an outspoken conservative activist filed a petition with the Texas Supreme Court on Monday arguing that Harris County’s stay-at-home order, which closed churches and limited worship services to video or teleconference calls, violates the First Amendment, according to a Houston Chronicle report. 
 The petition was filed by Steven Hotze, a Republican activist known for his backing of anti-LGBT causes, and pastors Juan Bustamante, George Garcia and David Valdez, according to the Chronicle. The group also argues that Judge Lina Hidalgo’s order violates the Second Amendment by not listing gun shops among “essential” businesses. The March 24 order requires residents to stay home and closed most businesses except those deemed essential, such as grocery stores and hospitals. On Friday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said gun stores are essential business and should be allowed to remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic.

When it comes to homophobic rhetoric, Starnes - as vile as he is - doesn't even begin to match the level of venom spewed by Hotze. According to Media Matters:

Steven Hotze said that “‘Satanic cults’ were driving the ‘homosexual movement,’” compared LGBTQ people to “Nazis,” and said Houston residents should "drive them out of our city.”

Hotze claimed that a “key point of the homosexual agenda” is “overturning the laws prohibiting pedophilia.”

Hotze prayed that lawmakers who “support, promote and practice sodomy and other perverted, sexually deviant lifestyles” would “receive just retribution from God for their evil actions.” 
 Hotze said LGBTQ equality gives gay people “a free hand to come and have relations with a minor, molest a child.”

And now, Hotze is claiming that a "stay at home" order is violating his religious beliefs, much like others like him have claimed the same about LGBTQ rights in the past.

 In this particular case, however, we aren't talking about a gay vs. Christian false narrative. Now, it's a matter of people's lives being at stake. And that is not a euphemism as these two examples from The Christian Post points out:

1. At least three separate pastors have died in recent days after testing positive for the new coronavirus, including two who raised concern that the virus was being used as a tool of the devil to manipulate the masses or silence Christians. One thought God would use His infection to spread the Gospel or give him “a little rest.”

2. Several members of an Illinois Pentecostal church are either at the hospital or in home quarantine after at least 43 congregants fell ill following a revival service two Sundays ago, and at least 10 of them have tested positive for the new coronavirus.

I hate to say "I told you so" to those who have bought conservative evangelical narratives in the past when it came to LGBTQ rights but . . .well you know.