Women’s promiscuity causes earthquakes, says Iranian cleric

The president of Iran recently announced, based on seismic studies, that a big earthquake was bound to devastate Tehran in the near future, and its citizens should relocate. A cleric who’s been referred to as Iran’s answer to Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson, explained why this was happening:

“Many women who do not dress modestly … lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which increases earthquakes,” Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi was quoted as saying by Iranian media.

Not only are they blaming women’s sexuality for natural disasters (when we say “the earth moved”, we’re speaking metaphorically, honey-chops), they’re suggesting to 12 million people that if women would just be more prudish the earthquake wouldn’t happen. Wonder if they’re willing to bet 6 million men’s lives on that theory, and just evacuate the filthy ol’ women from Tehran? Surely if there were no women at all in Tehran, everything in that city would be glorious and perfect and noble and full of morality, and no earthquake could possibly occur. Right?

And don’t anybody get smug about Islam since it’s hardly the only one blaming various groups of people for natural disasters and other people’s actions:

Sedighi joins a chorus of global religious folks who are all too quick to blame the world’s woes on homosexuality and/or feminism. There was Rev. Jerry Falwell’s and Pat Robertson’s claim that gays and abortionists caused September 11. And then John McCain’s best buddy John Hagee, who blamed gays and lesbians for Hurricane Katrina. And who can forget Rabbi Yehuda Levin’s call that gay people caused the earthquake in Haiti, the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl, and the 2004 Asian tsunami? (Rabbi Levin did not blame gays and lesbians for causing the Chicago Cubs’ World Series drought, for impacting this year’s poor tomato crop, or forcing Circuit City into bankruptcy, so at least we aren’t all bad.)

It started with Eve.


  1. dredsina says

    I think it’s actually funny that he’s unknowingly insulting men. He says that the reason men are immoral is that women aren’t dressing modestly. That’s telling me that he means that men have absolutely no presence of mind and no willpower — the moment a man sees a woman’s forearm, he has no choice but to have sex with her. I don’t believe that for one second.

  2. Robin says

    I… uh… bwuh?!

    Even if all 6 million women in Tehran took to the streets completely naked it would have no impact on plate tectonics. We’re having a bunch of natural upheavals – earthquakes, volcanoes, what have you – because the planet does that from time to time. Belief in a deity does not negate the reality of scientific processes. Does Sedighi think that all of the extra sex being had because of these “immodest women” is happening in precise unison and in a rhythm to match the natural harmonics of the bedrock under Iran? ::headdesk::

  3. sbg says

    Honestly, I just do not get this at all. The amount of illogic being employed in these kinds of claims is pretty staggering. I mean, what? How could anyone possibly believe something like that? It’s pretty scary.

  4. Scarlett says

    Good Lord. You know, it’s not so much scary that ONE person believes this – you’re always going to get conspiracy theorist nutters out there – but that ENOUGH people believe it to make it news.

  5. lilacsigil says

    170 people died in bushfires in Victoria, Australia in February 2009. It didn’t take long for a fundamentalist Christian (Danny Nalliah) to pop up and claim it was because the state had legalised abortions a few months prior. Assholes like that will use absolutely anything to try to reassert their control over society.

  6. Patrick says

    Let’s not forget Pate Robertson claiming that the recent earthquake in Haiti was due to the Haitian slave revolt that established the nation, where he claims they (the whole country?) made a literal “deal with the devil.”

  7. Charles RB says

    In the case of Iran, I’m wondering if he actually believes the Iranians will believe this. Theocratic regime or none, they’re not thick and they also know lots of other countries are more ‘decadent’ than theirs – I wouldn’t be surprised if most people go “that’s a load of cobblers” (in private).

    See also Hurricane Katrina and Rita, where every reaction I saw to that claim was “why is God punishing the Deep South then?”.

    I don’t know who truly believes this, rather than just saying “yes that’s true!” because they know it’s not but want it to be.

  8. says

    Ohhhh, my science professors would have a field day. I… can’t even follow the train of logic from “women are evil sexy corruptors!” to “witches be causin’ these natural disasters!” What, does the promiscuity build up, and meteorologists just lick a finger and stick it in the wind, and say, “Yup. Too sexy. Earthquake’s a-comin’.”

    All madness aside, wouldn’t it be amazing if women’s sexuality actually did have power over plate tectonics and climate? It would be like X-Men, only sexier.

  9. Elee says

    Damn, why isn’t anyone blaming gays and feminists for good things? I am going to blame them for wine, refrigerators and Harry Potter. :-) All things that will make me enjoy my evening.

  10. Mana G says

    ChralesRB didn’t you hear, when Hurricane Katrina first happened? I’m even pretty sure it was Pat Robertson who said that it was “God’s punishment” for things like the Southern Decadence Festival, and Bourbon Street.

    Except, you know, for the fact that the French Quarter was completely untouched.

  11. Maria says

    I blame gays and feminists for complicated, delicious cookie recipes and quirky smoothies.

    I LIKE this blaming gays and feminists for good things game!

  12. wondering says

    Except – as someone pointed out in my FB feed – there WAS an earthquake yesterday. 6.5 in Taiwan. The haters will just point at that. It’s not like they’re going to be swayed by logic or scientific reasoning, after all. They want to hate and control, so they will just look for a useful excuse.

  13. Pipenta says

    Oh for pity’s sake, there’s almost always an earthquake somewhere. The Earth moves, she does, she twitches and flexes her skin. Every once in a while, she gets a real bad charlie horse and all hell breaks loose.

    Here, look, this is one of many such sites that let you keep a finger on the pulse of this big ol’ planet of ours: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/

    Could we just pay attention in Earth science class kiddos? In biology class and math class and, yes, in civics class? How much of the fuckery that goes on in the world is just because people didn’t do their homework, don’t value education and are too lazy to fucking THINK?

  14. says

    There are daily earthquakes just in Southern California. Every time there’s a shaker I can feel, I have to log onto the site Pipenta linked and start a guessing game to figure out which one it was. (I was stunned how strongly we felt the recent one in Baja all the way up here, when there was a 4 pointer much closer by that we didn’t feel at all a few days earlier. Earthquakes are strange.)

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