According to some evangelical religious leaders, God is merciful — but only if you worship Him the way they want you to.
That appears to be the case with pastor Jonathan Shuttlesworth, who said on his webcast last week that God would forgive the United States and not cause harm to its citizens with the impending coronavirus pandemic because President Donald Trump has the right political views when it comes to Israel.
In making his odd justification for why coronavirus wouldn’t come to the U.S., Shuttlesworth also explained that God doesn’t need a perfect leader to be forgiving.
“Read the Bible. A nation doesn’t have to be run by a perfect man for God to give goodness to a nation…Even Trump’s critics would have to say that he honors Israel,” the pastor said, per reporting from Right Wing Watch.
There were, however, some terms and conditions to this prediction: so-called “blue” states that stood against Trump’s agenda were still at risk.
“I exclude from my prediction the Pacific Northwest, California, and New York, because in a God-honoring nation, those are four places that have chosen to give God the middle finger in the shape of an Empire State Building lit up in pink to celebrate the passage of the [legislation] that you can kill a baby,” Shuttlesworth said.
(The Empire State Building was lit up pink, in fact, in honor of International Women’s Day.)
“Let me tell you: your government matters. If it hits New York, you will not see me surprised,” Shuttlesworth added.
Right-wing pastor Jonathan Shuttlesworth predicts that if America is hit by the coronavirus, it will mainly impact liberal states that “have chosen to give God the middle finger.” https://t.co/ZYiNx0I59B pic.twitter.com/R0Yxa3hzlM
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) March 2, 2020
Shuttlesworth isn’t the only right-wing pastor to suggest that Trump being president would gain favor with God, resulting in a staving-off of coronavirus infections.
In early February, pastor Hank Kunneman made similar claims, saying that God would give “mercy” to America “because of the administration that stands in this land, who honors me.”
Kunneman made those claims when there were just 13 cases of coronavirus discovered in the country. Presently, there are more than 100 cases in the country, with more expected to be found out. Six have died so far in the U.S. from the disease.
Three of the 10 states that have announced at least one case of coronavirus are states that voted for Trump in the 2016 presidential election, per a map outlining the number of cases currently being monitored by the CDC.
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