Gay Marriage Explains Unfortunate Events: Floods

This one’s all over the internet at the moment; from the BBC:

A UKIP councillor has blamed the recent storms and heavy floods across Britain on the Government’s decision to legalise gay marriage.

In the letter to the Henley Standard [David Silvester] he wrote: “The scriptures make it abundantly clear that a Christian nation that abandons its faith and acts contrary to the Gospel (and in naked breach of a coronation oath) will be beset by natural disasters such as storms, disease, pestilence and war.”

He added: “I wrote to David Cameron in April 2012 to warn him that disasters would accompany the passage of his same-sex marriage bill… It is his fault that large swathes of the nation have been afflicted by storms and floods.”

Silvester’s letter to Cameron, which he actually wrote in March 2012 rather than April, was noted at the time by the Pink News, and it marked Silvester’s defection from the Conservative Party to UKIP. He warned:

What will happen precisely, and whether this time it will be terminal, I cannot say. But surely the Conservative Party has had enough discouragement in the last year without you and your ministers courting more.

Silvester’s new letter was not published on-line, but a Twitter-user named Tamsin Borlase brought it to wider attention and the text was then posted at a site called slatpai. From there it spent the day trickling up into the wider media, provoking disgust, ridicule, and incomprehension.

However, Silvester is far from alone in arguing that apparently random misfortune can be explained in terms of supernatural causality relating to homosexuality. In the sixth century, the the emperor Justinian’s law code famously denounced blasphemy and homosexuality on the grounds that “because of such crimes there are famines, earthquakes, and pestilences”, but there are plenty of more recent examples: in 2012 Salon had some fun with a certain “John McTernan of Defend and Proclaim the Faith Ministries in Pennsylvania”, who linked homosexuality to Hurricanes Katrina and Isaac, as well as earthquakes in Haiti, Virigina and the Pacific; while in 2010 Rabbi Yehuda Levin of the Rabbinical Alliance of America explained that

Thirteen months before 9/11, on the day New York City passed homosexual domestic partnership regulations, I joined a group of Rabbis at a City Hall prayer service, pleading with G-d not to visit disaster on the city of N.Y. We have seen the underground earthquake, tsunami, Katrina, and now Haiti. All this is in sync with a two thousand year old teaching in the Talmud that the practice of homosexuality is a spiritual cause of earthquakes.

And just last September, a pastor and radio host named Kevin Swanson suggested that a kiss between Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives Mark Ferrandino and his partner had caused floods in Denver.

Back in the UK, Anglican Bishop Graham Dow said much the same thing as Silvester following floods in 2007; the Telegraph reported:

The bishop, who is a leading evangelical, said that people should heed the stories of the Bible…

“…The sexual orientation regulations are part of a general scene of permissiveness. We are in a situation where we are liable for God’s judgment, which is intended to call us to repentance.”

He expressed sympathy for those who have been hit by the weather, but said that the problem with “environmental judgment is that it is indiscriminate.”

Dow is a Charismatic, and he also associates homosexuality with the activity of demons.

It’s actually akin to a witchcraft accusation: bad things must happen for a reason; and that means someone, or some group of people, must be to blame. Note that Silvester’s list of woes does not include earthquakes: he interprets the floods we’ve had as due to legal recognition of gay marriage, but he hesitates to predict an occurrence that science and history demonstrate is very unlikely ever to happen in the UK.

Silvester attends Henley Baptist Church, and he told the Daily Mail (which described his letter as a “rant”) that

…he went to a Bible college in 2004 and studied the work of Jeffrey Satinover, a controversial American psychologist who describes homosexuality as a treatable disorder…

Satinover was profiled by the BBC in 2009, when he came to the UK to address ex-gay groups. He’s also the author of Cracking the Bible Code, taglined as “The Real Story of the Discovery of Hidden Knowledge in the First Five Books of the Bible”.