Why do some Christians blame natural weather disasters on gay people?
This article gives a history of this 1500 year old habit, intended to amuse as much as horrify.
I then demonstrate why they are actually correct in their assumption that we affect the weather, but not in their interpretation of how. Yes you just read that.
THE BLAME-THE-GAYS GAME
The first recorded laws regarding same-sex liaisons that made the association between gay sex and natural disasters were enacted by the Roman Christian Emperor of Byzantian Rome Justinian in 534 CE. This law claimed that Jewish people and people who had sex with others of the same gender were undermining the very foundations of Roman society. This view was to darken European minds for one and a half millennia – and the great irony is that in fact it was a long series of same sex loving emperors who had brought the Empire to the point of its greatest expansion and established the ‘Pax Romana’ across the Meditteranean world and as far north as Britain, which enabled the Empire to thrive for centuries.
Justinian’s law code blamed same sex relations for ‘famines, earthquakes and pestilence.’ The punishment for the crime was death. But Justinian was Emperor of the eastern half of the Empire, the Roman civilisation in the west had already collapsed. Yet it was in the west that the law would reappear with a vengeance nearly a millennium later, and in the east it had little effect on the commonality of same sex activities. During the first millennium the Church authorities focussed their efforts on prohibiting homosexuality among their own clergy and monastics. It was from the 14th century that efforts to control the sex life of the general population were undertaken, via the Inquisition and laws enacted by states. (The Council of London in 1102 wanted to issue an edict against sodomy but Archbishop Anselm halted it. He stated that “This sin has hitherto been so public that hardly anyone is embarrassed by it.”)
The reference to bad weather appears again in law codes issued in the region of Castile, Spain, in 1265 (the Siete Partidas) and by the kings of Medina del Campo in 1497. The latter rails against this ‘nefarious crime against the natural order‘, which it also calls ‘unworthy of naming, destroyer of the natural order, punished by divine justice; through which nobility is lost and the heart becomes cowardly… abhorrence in the eyes of God‘, who is angered so much ‘as to deliver unto humankind pestilence and other torments on earth.’ They just cannot help themselves: ‘from this sin is born shame and insult toward the people and lands that consent to it; and it is deserving of greater punishments that can be given…’
From ancient times and throughout the medieval and early modern the phenomenon of gay sex causing natural disasters was considered to have begun with the Great Flood. This association was written down in the Holy Roman Empire during the reign of Charlemagne at the Council of Paris in 829, at which a Canon was published that declared:
‘Among all the other sins which the human race fatally committed at the beginning of creation, it is believed that, provoked to wrath especially by this sin (as certain teachers have maintained), [God] said: “I repent making man on the earth”. Therefore on this account, he utterly destroyed by a cataclysm [the Flood] the whole human race except for eight souls.‘
This belief fuelled various periods of persecution such as in the Netherlands in the 1730s when the country was threatened by rising sea levels. Sodom’s Sin and Punishment by Leonard Beel ascribed divine wrath at sodomy as the cause of an earthquake in 1692, and the loss of the town of Stavoren to the sea in 1657. In Portugal in 1446 during the reign of Afonso V an ordinance prescribed burning for sodomy with the justification that because of it “God set the Flood upon the earth.”
Let’s jump to the late 20th/early 21st centuries. We all know that hysterical accusations about gay people’s very existence setting off natural weather disasters still carries right on, even today in our apparently rational, educated, science based civilisation.
In May 1978 anti-gay campaigner Anita Bryant blamed gay behaviour for a drought affecting California. Despite her calling us ‘human garbage’ the weather gods clearly saw it differently, because one day after Harvey Milk became the first openly gay man elected to the San Franscisco City Supervisor office, abundant rains arrived.
In 1998 televangelist Pat Robertson warned that flying rainbow flags on city lampposts during Disney Gay Day events would ‘bring about terrorist bombs… earthquakes, tornadoes, and possibly a meteor.’ He was already blaming-the-gays for the East African famines in the 1970s.
Hurricane Katrina, which killed 1300 people in 2005, was declared by religious leader Maurice Mills to be God’s revenge for Gay Pride. “The media failed to report that the hurricane occurred just two days prior to the annual homosexual event called the Southern Decadence festival, which the previous year had attracted an estimated 125,000 people,” said Mr Mills… “Surely this is a warning to nations where such wickedness is increasingly promoted and practised.” Reported in the Belfast Telegraph.
Other hurricane disasters also bearing our stamp apparently included Andrew in 1992, Bonnie 1998, Isaac and Sandy in 2012. Of course we got blamed for the Japanese tsunami of 2011 too. (‘Jacobs: Blame Gays for Tsunami’ The Advocate.)
‘Kill the Gays’ pastor Kevin Swanson said in 2017 that the natural disasters hitting the USA were God’s judgements for turning ‘homosexuals into heroes.’
Judaism is not immune to this tendency…
Right-wing rabbi Noson Leiter of Torah Jews for Decency described Hurricane Sandy as ‘divine justice’ for the 2011 legalization of marriage for same-sex couples in the state of New York. He also claimed that ‘the Great Flood in the time of Noah was … triggered by the recognition of same-gender marriages.’
This kind of thing does not affect only the American mind:
Church ministers at a Climate Change conference at the University of the South Pacific in 2010 argued that climate chaos was attributable to homosexuals, giving the academics something to ponder.
In the UK a town councillor of the UKIP party blamed 2013-14’s storms and floods on the legalisation of gay marriage, blaming David Cameron: ‘It is his fault that large swathes of the nation have been afflicted by storms and floods.’ An Australian Christian group at the same time was blaming gay marriage for bushfires.
In India, 2018, just days after the Supreme Court decriminalised homosexuality, a Tamil Nadu-based pastor in a court complex raised slogans against the landmark judgment, claiming that same-sex marriage would lead to natural calamities
THE ROLE OF GAY PEOPLE IN TRADITIONAL TRIBAL CULTURES
The first book published about the ritual roles undertaken by same sex loving and genderfluid people in ancient and modern cultures which kept a connection to the past was by English philosopher Edward Carpenter. ‘Intermediate Types Among Primitive Peoples’ in 1914.
He identifies a historical channelling of masculine homosexual energies into the military, giving examples of the Dorian Greeks and Japanese Samurai, and of feminine gay people ‘into the precincts of the Temples and the services (often sexual) of Religion – which, of course in primitive days, meant not only the religious life in our sense, but the dedication to such things as Magic, learning, poetry, music, prophecy, and other occupations not generally favoured by the normal man, the hunter and the warrior. There are also some considerations which go to show that this class of Intermediate did actually tend to develop faculties like divination, clairvoyance, ecstasy, and so forth, which are generally and quite naturally associated with religion.’
Carpenter remarked how ‘widespread the connection has been among the primitive peoples and civilisations’ of homosexuality and religion. In his book he writes about the Inuit shamans, the Native American berdache, the same phenomenon in the Pacific Islands, and links them to the priests of Apollo in ancient Greece and the moon goddesses of the Middle East and Europe, the Qedesha holy priests of the Old Testament (called sodomites or, nowadays, male shrine prostitutes in English Bible translations), and the Buddhist Bonzes monks of China and Japan. He quotes 19th century explorer Richard Burton who reported that same sex erotic practices had ‘been adopted by the priestly castes from Mesopotamia to Peru.’
It took a while before more gay writing on this subject appeared, and it’s taking even longer for queer people to have much awareness of this huge part of our collective history. ‘Witchcraft and the Gay Counter Culture’ Arthur Evans is a historic and inspired paean to our past in which he aspires to ‘…to regaining our ancient historical roles as medicine people, healers, prophets, shamans and sorcerers. We look forward to an endless and fathomless process of coming out – as gay people, as animals, as humans, as mysterious and powerful spirits that move through the life cycle of the cosmos….. Like butterflies we are emerging from the shells of our past restricted existence. We are re-discovering the ancient magic that was once the birth right of all human beings.’
Judith Grahn in Another Mother Tongue (1984) wrote that ‘The tribal attitude said, and continues to say, that Gay people are especially empowered because we are able to identify with both sexes and can see into more than one world at once, having the capacity to see from more than one point of view at a time.’
Blossom of Bone by Randy P Connor (1993) is the most thorough study of this subject. The book sets out to reclaim ‘the ancient link between homoeroticism, gender-variance and the sacred’. In Hermaphrodeities (2002) Raven Kaldera plainly states ‘Transgendered people have long been robbed of their own spiritual history, not knowing that there were once times and places where ours was considered a spiritual path in and of itself… We are all sacred and it is time that the world knew it.‘ Thomas Prower more recently took a world tour of this priestcraft aspect of queer history in 2018.
THAT’S ENOUGH HISTORIANS NOW!
HERE’S THE JEWEL IN THIS MYSTERIOUS CROWN
A MODERN DAY SHAMANIC VOICE SPEAKS:
‘The words gay and lesbian do not exist in the village, but there is the word gatekeeper. Gatekeepers are people who live a life at the edge between the worlds – the world of the village and the world of spirit.
‘Most people in the West define themselves and others by sexual orientation. This way of looking at gatekeepers will kill the spirit of the gatekeeper. Gatekeepers in the village are able to do their job simply because of strong spiritual connection, and also their ability to direct their sexual energy not to other people but to spirit.
‘…there are two different kinds of gatekeeper.
‘The first group has the ability to guard a limited number of gates to the other world, specifically,those that correspond to the Dagara cosmology – water, earth, fire, minerals, and nature – because they vibrate the energies of those gates.
‘The second group of gatekeepers… has the responsibility of overseeing all the gates. They are in contact not only with the elemental gates but also with many others.’
These are the words of Sobonfu Some of the Dagara Tribe of west Africa, who have never lost their memory of the original, sacred roles of genderfluid people and homo-erotic love, recorded in her book The Spirit of Intimacy (2000).
Sobonfu tells us:
‘Gatekeepers hold keys to other dimensions. They maintain a certain alignment between the spirit world and the world of the village. Without them, the gates to the other world would be shut.
‘On the other side of these gates lies the spirit world or other dimensions. Gatekeepers are in constant communication with beings who live there, who have the ability to teach us how to deal with ritual’.
Turning back 3000 years to an early Zoroastrian text we perhaps find a turning point recorded at which same-sex love started to be viewed as suspicious because of its magical associations with nature’s spirits, and thus the beginning of the loss of this wisdom in the western world.
The Vendidad is an early Zoroastrian text, dating back to around 800 BCE, that records conversations between the prophet and God, Ahura Mazda. It compares queer people with faery beings – Daeva is also often translated as demons, but note that, unlike in the dualistic minded west, in India devas were never split into good and evil categories. The text goes….
“Ahura Mazda answered: ‘The man that lies with mankind as man lies with womankind, or as woman lies with mankind, is the man that is a Daeva; this one is the man that is a worshipper of the Daevas, that is a male paramour of the Daevas, that is a female paramour of the Daevas, that is a wife to the Daeva; this is the man that is as bad as a Daeva, that is in his whole being a Daeva; this is the man that is a Daeva before he dies, and becomes one of the unseen Daevas after death: so is he, whether he has lain with mankind as mankind, or as womankind.”— Avesta, Vendidad, Fargard 8. Funerals and purification, unlawful sex, Section V (32) Unlawful lusts.
MYTHOLOGICAL DEPICTIONS OF THE ELEMENTAL FORCES
When we look at the mythologies of the world there are of course many deities associated and involved with natural forces, and they are often queer. There are gods of thunder and rain, goddesses of the sun as well as gods, goddesses of the earth. Here i focus on just one past culture.
In ancient Greece the Sun’s fire was associated with the handsome Apollo, the most popular god of the culture. He was well known for his erotic dalliances with men, including the Macedonian Prince Hyakinthos. His relationship with Thracian singer Thamyris was said to be the first man on man relationship in history. Apollo also had a thing going with Hymen, the God of Marriage. Gay marriage is totally not a new thing.
The beautiful Hyakinthos met his death through a discus blown by an air god – Zephyrus of the west, one of the four seasonal Wind Gods. Zephyrus was depicted as a handsome, winged youth, and often appears in Greco-Roman mosaics carrying a basket of unripe fruit.
Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, was born from the Ocean. She emerged from the sea-foam after the genitals of Uranus were castrated and thrown into the water. She became the Goddess of all things loving and sensual and appears in hermaphrodite version and as patron of same sex love (Aphrodite Urania) as well as procreative love (Dionea).
Poseidon, the God of the sea, was said in Greek poet Pindar’s First Olympian Ode to have shared ‘Aphrodite’s sweet gifts’ with Pelops, the king of Pisa. The king also got to visit Olympus and train to drive the divine chariot.
The Earth Goddess was known as Gaia. She was worshipped as part of the cult of Demeter and associated with Rhea, the Greek name for the oldest Mother Goddess who was known as Cybele in her most ancient shrines in Anatolia, and who became in 200 BC the Magna Mater of the Roman Empire. Cybele’s priests were the queer, loud and flamboyant Gallae, hated by Christians, but loved by the people because of the wild, frenzied celebratory rituals they brought to the whole Empire as they travelled around with the armies.
Some religious folk have been blaming-the-gays for natural weather disasters for 1500 years. They can not get over their obsession that we have something to do with balance and nature.
Before those accusations started, the cultures that they sprang from once associated same sex relationship with the gods, with nature, with the elemental forces of the climate, as have other traditional people around the planet.
Today some shamanic peoples remember things the west has long forgotten.
Sobonfu tells us gay people can talk to the spirit worlds, that some of us control the elemental gates.
The Greek myths tell us the elemental spirits were once considered themselves to be very queer indeed.
Sobonfu, and a global history most queer people have not paid attention to yet, tell us that what we limit to a sexual or gender ‘identity’ is in fact a spiritual force, a soul energy in the matrix of life, that is needed to bring balance in society and the world.
Perhaps queer people are response-able to create balance in the world. Souls that contain a balance of masculine and feminine spirit which opens up life experiences that are unavailable to those stuck in binary extremes. Those who have studied us with their rational, scientific minds, or judged us with their religious prejudice, have never been able to see this aspect of what we are in the world, because they do not have it in themselves.
Perhaps we are the ones who keep insular human minds connected to the Whole, through providing experiences that remind people of the mystery game of life and the magical reality we are deeply involved in. With our natural, ecstatic, spirit-lifting, life-balancing presence suppressed, life on earth has spun out of control.
It is absolutely not gay marriage or gay pride that creates climate chaos.
IT IS THE REJECTION AND SUPPRESSION OF GAY LOVE,
AND OF GENDER-FLUID PEOPLE.
HUMANS ARE NOT SEPARATE FROM NATURE
BUT CLOSED HEARTS ARE.
LOVE CONNECTS HUMANITY TO THE INTERCONNECTED WEB OF LIFE. IT IS THROUGH LOVE THAT WE KNOW, THROUGH FEELING, WHERE WE BELONG.
BUT ALL KINDS OF LOVE ARE NEEDED IN THE GRAND SCHEME OF LIFE.
ALL KINDS OF LOVE MUST BE ALLOWED, RESPECTED AND REJOICED IN FOR LOVE TO BRING OUR COLLECTIVE HUMAN CONSCIOUSNESS BACK INTO BALANCE WITH THE NATURAL WORLD.
People believe their thoughts exist only inside their heads. They don’t – they transmit their chaos, their doubt, fear and negativity into nature’s energy fields. Energy follows thought. Empowered heart centred people emit strong good thoughts. The world needs a lot of them.
THERE IS NOTHING NATURAL ABOUT HOMOPHOBIA AND TRANSPHOBIA.
THE MOST UNNATURAL THING HUMANITY CAN DO
IS TO STOP EACH OTHER LOVING WHOM WE LOVE
TO STOP LOVE FLOWING WHERE IT WANTS TO FLOW.
THE CLIMATE IS IN CHAOS BECAUSE THE CHAOTIC HUMAN MIND IS RUNNING THE SHOW
ONLY HUMAN HEARTS FILLED WITH LOVE AND COMPASSION FOR ALL BEINGS
CAN RESTORE THE DIVINE PLAN FOR OUR SPECIES AND THE EARTH.
THE CLIMATE WILL FIND A NEW BALANCE
ONLY WHEN HUMANITY REACHES THE PLACE OF LOVE.
“Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.” Teilhard de Chardin.