A Republican congressman has claimed that God is a polluter. Pennsylvania representative Scott Perry made the bizarre assertion at a town hall meeting in his home state.
In light of President Donald Trump's proposed cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Perry was asked by an audience member if Pennsylvania needed "a stronger EPA to protect the environment".
The congressman did not commit to an answer but said that Pennsylvania needed "an appropriate level" of environmental regulation.
By way of example he invoked the Chesapeake Bay strategy, an historic piece of legislation that was inadequate because it "left some violators out".
Then he said: "And by the way – if you believe in, if you're spiritual and you believe in God – one of the violators was God, because the forests were providing a certain amount of nitrates and phosphates to the Chesapeake Bay."
For the most part the crowd reacted in disbelief although tremors of support for Perry could be heard in the audience. One woman echoed his claim, saying: "It's God that is polluting!"
Pennsylvanian clergyman Mitch Hescox said he disagreed with Perry's contention. He told Pennsylvania website Penn Live: "God does command us to care for the earth. God is not a polluter.
"God created the world in a sustainable fashion. Human beings have destroyed the earth because they don't follow God's commandments."
The evangelical added: "In Pennsylvania we haven't had funding from the state EPA or the federal government to have adequate amounts of inspectors to do the job in policing our environment."