So how are you doing? Like me, I’m sure you’re going through a range of feelings. Sorrow, anger, loneliness from missing family and friends and also, for many, the stress over how I’m going to pay my bills.

What I can offer is a universal truth: we are all in this together, and this will come to an end. While we don’t know when that will be, and we don’t know exactly what life will be like, we do know one thing to be true. The religious extremists are blaming the virus, as they do with all the ills of the world, on the LGBTQ community.

So, I’ve considered this, and I realized something. If you take their own hateful rhetoric the facts actually show the reverse. Here’s the way it almost always goes. Blame it on the San Francisco liberals. All sins start in that bastion of homosexuals. The point is that fundamentalists consider San Francisco the capital of the LGBTQ world. This all started with the AIDS crisis when Evangelicals said that God proved his anger at homosexuals by putting this plague (AIDS) on their capital city. Now those Evangelicals, are saying that COVID-19 is God’s revenge on a world that accepts gays.

So, according to their logic, if God is showing his anger on the issue of LGBTQ equality by striking San Francisco with AIDS, then God must now be siding with the LGBTQ community by striking the headquarters of the world’s religions with COVID-19. Rome, headquarters of Catholics, Athens, the headquarters of Greek Orthodoxy, Moscow, the headquarters of Russian orthodoxy, London, home of Anglicans, Mecca, home of Muslims, Jerusalem, home of the Jewish faith and Salt Lake City, home of the Mormons. Now, let’s compare and see what’s Gods wrath is. San Francisco has had under 1,000 cases and only 12 deaths. All of the headquarters of the world’s major religions, religions that at one point or another have discriminated against the LGBTQ community, have more cases and more deaths than San Francisco. San Francisco is the least affected of all the cities.

As the extremists always say: God’s plagues are aimed at those who utter hate speech against his/her chosen followers. Turns out, in this case, the chosen people is the LGBTQ community.

I don’t take any of this lightly. We’re going through a tough time unlike any other. Times like this are times to band together. So, to those preachers still spreading hate, I say: stop blaming people and start helping people. Your homophobic sermons only harm your followers by spreading misinformation. The truth is, we’re all here to help one another. That’s how you get through a moment like this. We in the gay community have understood that since day one. We know the value of working together, and we’ve seen that it works.

Mark Segal, Philadelphia Gay News publisher, is one of the nation’s most-award-winning commentators in LGBTQ media. His memoir, “And Then I Danced, Traveling The Road To LGBT Equality,” was named National Lesbian Gay Journalist Book of the Year.