Fundamentalists claim God set fire to Primark because of Pride window display
Fundamentlists are claiming the destruction of a flagship Primark store was divine retribution – after a row over its Pride selection.
The large Primark store in Belfast, Northern Ireland, was destroyed on Tuesday in a massive blaze that tore through much of the 233-year-old listed building.
The fire came just weeks after the store was publicly criticised by politicians in the region for installing an LGBT-inclusive window display to mark Belfast Pride.
The Primark store had been criticised by Jim Wells MLA, an outspoken member of the Democratic Unionist Party who previously described Belfast Pride as “repugnant”.
Wells claimed that the display was disrespectful to people who “have strong Christian convictions and feel extremely uneasy about the whole ethos of the Gay Pride week.”
The cause of the fire is not yet known and there is no suggestion that the two incidents are linked – but that hasn’t stopped some from declaring it an act of God following the Pride controversy.
Firefighters are battling flames at one of Belfast’s most famous buildings, Primark on Royal Avenue. City Centre is now closed and public are advised to avoid the area. pic.twitter.com/zaNqvkuv5C
— Cool FM (@coolfm) August 28, 2018
Irish outlet GCN noted that many who criticised the store have flocked to social media to claim the incident as an act of divine justice.
One Twitter user wrote: “The Almighty God has showed his wrath on Primark store in Belfast which was found ablaze this morning for supporting Gay Pride. Be not deceived, God is not mocked. FOR GOD AND ULSTER.”
Another shared a picture of the LGBT+ window display and added: “Primark in Belfast up in flames. Galatians 6:7 comes to mind… ‘Be not deceived: God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.'”
The Northern Ireland Humanists called out the string of comments.
The group said: “We have already noticed comments like, ‘you reap what you sow’ in response to the Primark Belfast building having an extremely destructive fire today.
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“This is because Primark had created a rainbow window presentation in support of Pride Belfast this year.
“We know this is not the feelings of most Christians, but we would ask you, religious or not, to call out this homophobic rhetoric where you find it.
“We hope those employed by Primark are being helped while out of work. And we also hope the building will be rebuilt as it is one of Belfast’s most beautiful.”
Primark has since confirmed employees at the store will still be paid in the wake of the fire.
Wells, who had vowed to boycott Primark, has not publicly commented on the fire.