Anti-Gay Attacks in Liberia After Church Blames Them for Ebola

From Liberia comes the utterly unsurprising news that when you blame an already marginalized and despised group of people for an epidemic of disease, other people will try to attack and kill them. In that country, Christian leaders have blamed gay people for God punishing the nation with Ebola.

Leroy Ponpon doesn’t know whether to lock himself in his flat in Monrovia because of the deadly Ebola virus, or because he is gay. Christian churches’ recent linking of the two have made life hell for him and hundreds of other gays.

Ponpon, an LGBT campaigner in the Liberian capital, says gays have been harassed, physically attacked and a few have had their cars smashed by people blaming them for the hemorrhagic fever, after religious leaders in Liberia said Ebola was a punishment from God for homosexuality.

“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,” Ponpon told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by telephone from Monrovia…

Earlier this year, the Liberian Council of Churches said in a statement that God was angry with Liberians “over corruption and immoral acts” such as homosexuality, and that Ebola was a punishment.

In May, Archbishop Lewis Zeigler of the Catholic Church of Liberia said that “one of the major transgressions against God for which He may be punishing Liberia is the act of homosexuality,” local media reported.

Francois Patuel, Amnesty International’s representative in West Africa, said there had been reports of threats and violence against the LGBTI community in Monrovia since the incendiary remarks made by the local Christian leaders.

“Amnesty has received pictures of cars that reportedly belong to gays with their windows smashed as well as reports that gays have been forced from their homes and had to go into hiding,” Patuel told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

At the risk of offending poor Godwin, this is a lesson we should have learned from Nazi Germany.

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  • D. C. Sessions

    What’s really interesting is that God preferentially punishes the countries that are the least intolerant of LGBT folk, such as Liberia and the USA. The places where Those God Hates are accepted never seem to get any of that smiting. Or at least, none of the clergy seem to have detected it if He has.

    I’d love to have the Liberian, US, etc. exponents of the “punishment for the gays” lesson explain that. However it works it would seem that if acceptance of the LGBT folk is related to, for instance, ebola the smart thing to do is get to be more accepting fast. Even in the USA, it’s hitting Texas instead of California.

  • D. C. Sessions

    s/least intolerant/least tolerant/

    Sheesh.

  • John Pieret

    ***SPIT***

  • eric

    At the risk of offending poor Godwin, this is a lesson we should have learned from Nazi Germany.

    No, it’s a lesson we did learn long before the 1930s. Like, in the 1230s. From that point forward, the Church has intentionally used his effect to kill and stifle heretics and nonbelievers. You seem to think the effect is inadvertant, not intended by the bishop. I am a bit more pessimitic.

  • raven

    In that country, Christian leaders have blamed gay people for God punishing the nation with Ebola.

    Scapegoating.

    All too common. During the middle ages, the Black Death was blamed on the Jews. Several Jewish communities were massacred. It didn’t stop the bubonic plague though, so they went on to other equally fallacious ideas.

    People in West Africa have also blamed whites, the Red Cross, western medicine, and witches for Ebola. In the US it seems to be Obama, the Democrats, the gays, and…Africans.

    Despite our much larger GDP and iphones, there are a lot of Americans who aren’t much different from them.

  • cuervocuero

    The psychology of the ‘children’ of god needing to vixiously turn on people ‘dad’ doesn’t like so he doesn’t punish them too (or more), says something very sad about our species.

  • moarscienceplz

    Most of the Ebola victims I have heard about have been married heterosexuals and their children. If Yahweh is really so angry at gay people, he sure has lousy aim. I think those Christians should stop worshiping such an incompetent god.

  • raven

    In that country, Christian leaders have blamed gay people for God punishing the nation with Ebola.

    Which they got from the US fundie xians.

    It’s eerie how religions steal from each other. As long as it is the worst that humans can come up with. Hate and fear are all time best sellers, especially among..the religions.

    During the Black Death bubonic plague, the RCC tried to do something and failed. A lot of historians date this as the beginning of the end for Catholic power. Ironically, what did defeat bubonic plague was science. We now know what it is, how it is spread, how to treat it with antibiotics, and there is a vaccine. No one worries about it any more.

    It will be the same with Ebola. The xian churches will scapegoat irrelevant groups, pray a lot from a distance, and the faith healers are MIA. What will end this outbreak like the last 20, will be public health measures, epidemiology, and eventually if it keeps going, antivirals and vaccines. In other words…science. Again.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/TabbyLavalamp Tabby Lavalamp

    You know what? Fuck Godwin. Sometimes comparisons to Nazi Germany are entirely appropriate.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    … a lesson we should have learned from Nazi Germany.

    Depends on whom you mean by “we”.

    Certain persons have learned quite well: scapegoating works.

  • Kevin Kehres

    What’s that phrase?

    By your love they shall know you? Something like that.

  • grumpyoldfart

    At least the wise Americans would never blame the gays for introducing a disease into their country.

    (OK, there was that business about AIDS in the 1980s, but apart from that…)

  • lpetrich

    Why don’t they try whipping themselves? We all know how well that worked to fight the Black Death in late-medieval Europe.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=153100784 Michael Brew

    moarscienceplz @7

    Or he’s a Drill Sergeant. If someone screws up in BCT badly enough, they punish everybody but them in the hopes that it will motivate them to “correct” their battle buddy later that night.

  • http://www.gregory-gadow.net Gregory in Seattle

    I am strongly reminded of Europe during the medieval period, when outbreaks of disease would be blamed on Jews poisoning the wells. These allegations always ended up with the city’s Jewish population being vandalized, robbed and run out of town.

  • dingojack

    Gregory – and murdered, don’t forget murdered.

    :( Dingo

  • cptdoom

    “Archbishop Lewis Ziegler…” And this is where we realize the nice words coming from the Vatican are just words. Perhaps Mr. Bergoglio could back them up with a bit of discipline for Mr. Ziegler’s participation in this travesty.

  • sugarfrosted

    So uh, I take it the catholic church isn’t trying to strip “Archbishop” (Ed style scare quotes) Lewis Ziegler of his position. I’m not surprised. If they are, kudos I guess.

  • cactuswren

    @ Kevin Kehres: And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love/And they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

  • anubisprime

    Never trust a Christian, they are far to flaky, besides they are extremely cowardly as well so bad combination!

    They are simply not nice people, simple like so!