Floods 'sign' for anti-gay preacher
Published 19/08/2016 | 02:30
A pastor who believes natural disasters are sent by God to punish gay people has been driven out of his home in Louisiana by severe flooding.
The death toll from the historic floods sweeping the southern US state rose to 13 yesterday, as receding waters exposed the extent of devastation.
The highest number of confirmed fatalities was in East Baton Rouge parish - the site of last month's riots in response to a police shooting and then the murder of three police.
Five people died in the parish from the floods.
The Red Cross has described the floods as the worst natural disaster since Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
But Tony Perkins, a 53-year-old pastor, said he was instead musing what God's message was through the floods.
"We're gonna look for what God's gonna do in this," he said. "I'm asking those questions and I'm going to see."
Earlier this week, Mr Perkins joined the ranks of 11,000 people who had to abandon their homes.
Mr Perkins, who once blamed the Boston marathon bombing on "sexual liberalism" in Massachusetts, described paddling away from his home in a canoe.
"This is a flood of near-biblical proportions," he said in an interview with the Family Research Council (FRC) - a conservative Christian group which bills itself as "the leading voice for the family in our nation's halls of power" - which he founded.
After being turned away from one shelter, his family of seven were taken in for the night by a former member of their church "in God's provision".
Mr Perkins has also asserted that natural disasters are acts of God, not consequences of climate change.
In 2015 he interviewed Jonathan Cahn, an extreme Messianic Jewish pastor, who told him that Hurricane Joaquin, which devastated Hawaii last year, was a "sign of God's wrath" against gay marriage and abortion.
Mr Perkins agreed, adding: "God is trying to send us a message."