Trump Insider, Preacher: Gays, Environmentalists Provoked God's Coronavirus Wrath!

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Thursday March 26, 2020

What do atheists, people who recycle, and men who have sex with men have in common?

God's wrath, according to a recent blog post by a preacher who's so cozily nestled inside the president's inner circle that he teaches a weekly Bible study lesson to cabinet members and has been dubbed a "shadow diplomat" for the current administration by the New York Times.

In his blog, Ralph Drollinger floated the idea that America has come in for one of several different kinds of divine wrath, with the almighty being displeased that environmentalists put "the creature before the creator," and suggesting that gays exist in America only because the Christian God has pulled away from the country (as opposed to, for instance, the biological fact that homosexuality is present in more than 7,000 species of birds, mammals, and even insects).

The New York Daily News reports that Drollinger attempted to put a "biblical" lens over what, to others, might seem like simple cause and effect.

Wrote Drollinger:

A biblically astute evaluation of the situation strongly suggests that America and other countries of the world are reaping what China has sown due to their leaders' recklessness and lack of candor and transparency."

Unclear was whether the Bible also tells us that America will see more coronavirus-related deaths than would otherwise have been the case had the federal government not ignored intelligence reports as long ago as the start of the year that warned of a possible impending pandemic. Also unclear is whether America will suffer more thanks to its president having shrugged off early concerns around the disease as a "hoax."

Drollinger's suggestion that gays have had a hand in bringing divine wrath onto the country in the form of disease has echoes of anti-LGBTQ religious conservatives in the 1980s who claimed that AIDS was a form of divine punishment - despite the prevalence of the disease among heterosexuals in other parts of the world, such as Africa.

Drollinger's musings were so broadly offensive that even the White House denounced them, reported NBC News.

Calling Drollinger's suggestion "disgusting," a spokesperson for the White House, Judd Deere, said that Drollinger's theory was "certainly not something the President believes."

The head of the Human Rights Campaign, Alphonso David, issued a statement to NBC News in which he said:

"LGBTQ people around the country and around the world are struggling to cope with this global pandemic. They are worried about their health, their livelihoods, and their families.

"At a moment where we need to pull together by recognizing our shared humanity and mutual dependence, there are some of low moral character who see it as an opportunity to continue to try to divide us."

Ironically, for someone who slams environmentalists as being in some was contrary to God, Drollinger slammed the Supreme Court's 2015 finding that same-sex couples have a Constitutional right to participate in full legal marriage with a comparison between marriage equality and "a path toward extinction."

Unclear from Drollinger's latest screed is whether the Bible studies teacher for the president's cabinet also believes that ignoring the mounting climate crisis, along with the effects that it generates - such as mass migration, sea rise, and coastal flooding, and more frequent and destructive storms - is somehow a path toward salvation.

In his post, Drollinger made a distinction between various flavors of godly wrath, identifying the coronavirus outbreak as a matter of "consequential" wrath. Or, as Drollinger also put it:

"Relative to the coronavirus pandemic crisis, this is not God's abandonment wrath nor His cataclysmic wrath, rather it is sowing and reaping wrath."

Unclear was whether other nations around the world were being served up some different flavor from the divine wrath menu, or if they were simply suffering the results of a viral contagion spreading in a mathematically predictable manner through epidemiologically well-defined vectors, without any particular involvement by supernatural agencies.

In any case, Drollinger left himself — and the president — a rhetorical out, claiming that because America is not an utterly lost cause — perhaps because it is currently led by someone whom at least some Evangelicals believe to be God's "chosen" one - "we'll soon see a human cure for the coronavirus."

If not, it's a scientific near-certainty that LGBTQ people, environmentalists, and theological skeptics will still be here to take the blame, given that episodes of divine wrath that are putatively sparked by extremely specific groups and causes tend to be extremely broad, erratic, and insufficiently thorough in their application.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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