A US megachurch pastor has come under fire for seeking to place "the curse of God" upon those who he believes "stole" last year's US presidential election from Donald Trump.
Rev. Bob Rodgers of Evangel World Prayer Center in Louisville, Kentucky cursed these perceived adversaries to Trump with "poverty" and weakness in their body", before praying that they would all have the worst year of their lives.
"Father, those that have lied, those that have stolen this election, those that have cheated, I place the curse of God upon them," he prayed. "I curse you with weakness in your body. I curse you with poverty. I curse you with the worst year you've ever had in the name of the Lord."
In a separate segment, the pastor said that an angel assured him that Trump would win re-election.
"I had an angel come to me and tell me that Trump was going to be the next president,” he said. “And to be honest, he probably had the biggest landslide victory in the history of America. But that doesn’t mean we are wrong. It means it isn’t over yet.”
A number of Louisville pastors have spoken out in response to his comments.
"Less than a week after we see the violent mob storm the Capitol, and riot and loot, where one police officer was beat to death, and less than a week after that, you're pushing that kind of rhetoric ..." the Rev. Tim Findley of the Kingdom Fellowship Christian Life Center said Wednesday. "I think now you're in an irresponsible, dangerous place."
"Confess that you have gone too far," added Frank Smith of Christ's Church For Our Community. "Lead your people to truly a sound theology not tainted with Democratic patriotism but rather based on the sacrificial blood from the cross."
Responding to the criticism, Pastor Rodgers insisted that his curses weren't anything personal, but were issued to combat "demonic forces" he believes are working within people opposed to Trump.
"This is a prayer not to curse people but to curse the demonic forces that people have allowed to rule them that would harm a nation," he said. "I do pray that trouble will come to them if they don't repent and that they will turn from their wicked ways."
Findley insisted that Christians need to stand up and "condemn this kind of language".
"Why is this so important right now?" he asked. "Because there are alerts going out to law enforcement as we speak alerting people to be on guard because on the day of the inauguration there are planned – not protests – but violent actions."