When finger-pointing goes wrong

The Israeli Health Minister, who recently said that coronavirus is “divine punishment against homosexuality,” has been diagnosed with coronavirus.

Last month, Yaakov Litzman, while talking about the origin of coronavirus, said: “It’s a divine punishment against homosexuality”. The health minister is also a head Agudat Yisrael — an Orthodox Israeli political party.

Israel has gone into partial-lockdown to counter the coronavirus outbreak. The country has reported more than 8,430 confirmed cases and 49 people have died from COVID-19 to date. Israel’s large, insular ultra-Orthodox community, of which Litzman is a member, has been particularly hit hard by infections. In the early phases of the outbreak, some radicals had pushed back and ignored the government-mandated movement restrictions.

What do you know? Irony is not dead. I always wonder when I encounter stories like this: How does he know? That is, how does one know that it’s divine punishment for homosexuality and not divine punishment for endless reruns of The Andy Griffith Show?

Like the previous post, this post draws attention to the role of religious ignorance in frustrating progress and making matters worse. How else could it be? The “eternal truths” of the Torah, the Bible, and the Quran were finalized long ago, long before anybody suspected the existence of viruses. The authors of those texts probably had no evil intent — but they were wrong.

Ironically, there is at least a smidgen of truth in this type of thinking. The resolute ignorance that the Abrahamic faiths demand does conduce toward a costly character failure and, in the case of coronavirus, ignorance can be deadly.

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