The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Radical Rabbi Blames Gay People for Earthquake

By Evelyn Schlatter on August 24, 2011 - 3:09 pm, Posted in Anti-LGBT, Extremist Propaganda

It was only a matter of time before somebody blamed yesterday’s earthquake in Virginia on homosexuality. The man who has the distinction of being the first this time around is New York City-based Rabbi Yehuda Levin, who claimed yesterday in a YouTube video that because of homosexuality, “God brings earthquakes to the world.”

Levin is not the first religious figure to include LGBT people in the blame game for catastrophic events more typically described as “acts of God.” In 2001, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell blamed 9/11 on a variety of supposed evils, including feminists, pagans, abortion, the secularization of America, and “the gays and the lesbian who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle.” More recently, according to Robertson, the devastating earthquake in Haiti was the result of Haitians themselves, who “made a pact with the devil” in the 18th century in order to defeat their French colonizers and were now paying the price. And this January, Cindy Jacobs, a self-proclaimed “prophet” and apostolic Christian, declared that the repeal of the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT) military policy on gays and support for same-sex marriage were responsible for a rash of bird deaths in Arkansas.

As absurd as claims like this are, it’s not the first time that Levin, in particular, has unleashed his vitriolic anti-gay rhetoric on the public. Last month, he claimed that the horrific murder of an 8-year-old Jewish boy in Brooklyn was the result of same-sex marriage in New York and the Orthodox Jewish community’s refusal to do anything about it. Prior to that, he blamed the Haitian earthquake on the repeal of DADT. And before that, he blamed 9/11 on the fact that New York City had passed a domestic partnership law that included same-sex couples.

Levin is a spokesman for the Rabbinical Alliance of America, an organization founded in 1942 that claims over 800 members and is committed to traditional Orthodox Judaism, but involves itself in the public square. The group issued a statement during the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, claiming that “she will function as a flame-throwing radical, hastening society’s already steep decline into Sodom and Gomorrah.”

The alliance also engages in virulent gay-bashing — no surprise, since they maintain Levin as a spokesman. At the group’s 2010 annual dinner, Levin gave a speech in which he lauded the work of anti-gay groups Americans for the Truth about Homosexuality, the American Family Association, the Family Research Council and MassResistance — each of them virulent enough to be listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center — and said that gay people are “as evil as adulterers, pornographers, incest engagers, and the list goes on.”

Levin recently has cozied up to the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), one of the more visible and active anti-gay groups working against same-sex marriage, offering comments in July at a NOM press conference in Albany (Levin’s remarks start at 26:40). Earlier this month, NOM issued a pledge for presidential candidates to sign that obligated them, among other things, to “appoint a presidential commission to investigative harassment of traditional marriage supporters. Of course, the reality is that there is very little harassment of such groups and individuals, but extremely high levels of criminal violence directed at the LGBT community.

  • Reynardine

    No, Karen, if you want to prevent divorce, outlaw marriage – or at least make it a whole lot harder to get.

    A decade and a half ago, I asked several county and circuit judges when I ran into them: What do you think about making people wait six months between the marriage license application and its issuance? The invariable response was, “Yay!” Sometimes, they added, “No more ‘heat of the night’ weddings”, or, “I could take more vacations!” If these anti-immigrant jobs thought about it, it would even be a serious deterrent to “green card marriages”. Somehow, though, they all take the position that marriage is compulsory, except where it is forbidden, and all people should be rushed into it, except those who must be kept out.

  • druidlens

    If God didn’t want LGBT people She wouldn’t have created them.

  • Karen, a tired old lesbian

    If you want to protect marriage, outlaw divorce. If you aren’t willing to do that, mind your own business.

  • Lex

    Every religion has a version of Fred Phelps

  • skinnyminny

    I am agnostic, which means, I don’t deny or confirm there is a good, need more proof.

    I don’t blame or disown God because of these idiots. I blame the idiots for lying and controling people. They are quick to ask, “what would God Do?” Or quick to say, “God told me…,” I just find it odd that God would talk to these people. I find it odd that the Holy Bible talks about greed, and that’s all these people are about. I find it odd that the bible says to help the poor, and all they do is help themselves, in fact, it seems they pick and choose what part of the bible they want. And to wrap this one up, have they ever thought about blaming the porn they are looking at that caused this earthquake, or the lies they are telling their flock. If I wanted to look up to someone that’s not doing the right thing, there are criminals, bad boys, or straight up hustlers that I could look up to, at least you know where they are coming from. To me, these guys sit up and bash everyone for sin, and they all have a skeleton or two in the closet. Me, I’m heterosexual, but, I am tired of these guys that is suppose to lift the spirits of people knock people down, or should I say emotionally abuse people. Church used to be a place people could go when they were down on their luck, felt like life was getting the best of them, or couldn’t deal with life in general, and needed uplifting. I refuse to deal with people that say one thing in a church, then in public bash people that may already be at a low point in their life due to public discrimination/ridicule/harassment. I think it’s time we ask these so called people of God, “is this what God want to you do?”

  • Jason

    why is it always gays that God needs to punish with earthquakes etc? Why don’t the prachers ever jump up and down over all the believers who willingly and knowingly sin with smoking and fast food- ‘treat thy body as a temple unto the Lord’ and lets face it, a whole bunch of fat believers putting stress on the tectonic plates, and causing an earthquake, makes just as much sense as a few gays having sex.

  • Sam Molloy

    Actually I was expecting the so-called-christian right to say this, not a so-called-rabbi.

  • Madolynn Cronk

    I’m sure that it scared the shit out of everybody in the Quismo VA.

  • Robert McLernon

    Q. Why are these wingnut freaks given so much publicity?

    A. People need a good laugh.

  • krissy

    I’m sure he’s preparing a hurricane statement as we speak. His congregants must be really messed up because of him.

  • Difluoroethene

    This guy endorsed Randall Terry for president, too.

  • http://None Clay Williams

    My definition of decency does not extend to those who had a baby boy JUST 10 DAYS AFTER THEIR WEDDING VOWS! No, not a miracle…a bigot and liar who is now on TV every weekday and who claims to know the inner-most thoughts of every Deity since the dawn of time! Anybody know who this mystery person is?????? Condemn him not for his “sinful behaviour” but for his lying about them!

  • Emma Onawa

    Why are these wingnut freaks given so much publicity? The only attention they should get is condemnation

  • http://none Robert McLernon

    Where do people get such stupid, idiotic ideas? How do people get so far divorced from reality?

  • http://none Robert McLernon

    I’ve got news for you – We did not cause this earthquake!
    But it sounds like a great idea! Why don’t we pick a time and a place, and jump up and down!

  • Terry Washington

    Why not blame gays for the common cold and HIV viruses as well?


  • bsman
  • CM

    I’m sure the quake scared the heck out of the two gay people in Louisa County, Va.

  • John

    People, I am a Catholic christian. My God, the God who created all peoples and things can be a vengeful God and those hate mongers only know this god. But I know a merciful God a God of love. He gave us free will. What we do with that free will, well, is our choice. OUR choice. I refuse to blame or disown a God because of the sins and the hate of others.

  • John

    Yes Ruslan, I believe you’re right. Look at “Rev” Phelps family. All they talk about is God Hates Gays! Either they don’t know God that much or they made their own god for their own church.

  • Marisa

    Well, we all know how that CREEPY rabbis exist as well as CREEPY over-the-top Christians – including preachers, “believers,” and certain politicians.

  • Paen

    Maybe the good rabbi should have a debate with people who blame Jews for the earthquake just to see just who is the most idiotic.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    I notice, Matthew, that most homophobes devote a LOT of time to pondering gay sex.

  • Martha Wenstrand

    Talk about blinders on – traditional marriage supporters are the ones picking on LGBT folks and those who are pro-gay marriage proponents. I have been told that people like me are responsible for the demise of the ELCA. Yea right.

  • Matthew Bright

    It appears this guy thinks about gay sex more than gay people think about gay sex. His mind is a pornographic movie.

  • Todd

    It was only a matter of time? You were anticipating this?

  • ModerateMike

    No, no, he’s got it all wrong; there’s a scientific explanation for this: The influx of immigrants from Muslim and Hispanic countries combined with an increase in the population of homosexuals caused seismic instability in the Earth’s crust. I have proof!

  • Dale Morgan

    Who would want to worship such an arbitrary and apparently cruel God? Not Me, that’s for sure.

    You know, the New Testament was written for a reason. But everyone disregards the message of love and equality to embrace superstition and ignorance.

    Homosexuals cause earthquakes? Really? It’s not the tetonic plates shifting after all? What? You say there are no tetonic plates? Oh, I see….

  • Pickwick

    My question to this guy is “Why does your God keep making people he hates?” Who would worship a Supreme Sadist?

    No wonder I’m a non-affiliated philosophical Taoist!

  • Reynardine

    Well, Ruslan, I suppose those people would say that’s why they died out, yet they were clearly laying fertile eggs for millions of years.

  • MST

    Skinny, there are many people of faith like myself that do not hate gays or anyone else. This person does not speak for all of us.

  • Dr Tina


  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    The dinosaurs were gay, apparently.

  • John

    For an omnipotent being, God has terrible aim.

  • Reynardine

    How many life forms have there been, before we ever walked on Middle Earth? How many cataclysms have there been, how many extinctions? What did the trilobites do wrong? Did the sins of dinosaurs cause the Yucatan meteorite? The great lava floods of the Oligocene were provoked by just what creatures being bad just how? No wonder these people demand we believe the earth is six thousand years old, because they can’t make it up for six billion.

  • skinnyminny

    LOL! And these guys wonder why there are so many agnostics (like myself), and atheists in the U.S. Hot damn, I rest my case!