US preacher says 'pagan shrines' destroyed in Nepali earthquake should not be rebuilt

(Photo: Reuters)A man runs through ruins as aftershocks hit Kathmandu.

A controversial preacher in California offered a prayer on Saturday regarding the devastating earthquake in Nepal that many have found offensive.  

Tony Miano, a street evangelist, tweeted: "@CNN Praying 4 the lost souls in Nepal. Praying not a single destroyed pagan temple will b rebuilt & the people will repent/receive Christ."

A 7.8-magnitude earthquake shook the South Asian country on Saturday, with an enormous aftershock following on Sunday. More than 4,200 people are confirmed dead, and an unknown number of people remain trapped under rubble. Other casualties occurred on Mount Everest after an avalanche was triggered by the quake. 

According to The Independent, around 85 per cent of Nepal's 28 million strong population are Hindu. The country also has a large Buddhist population, and both Christian and Muslim religious minorities. Miano's tweet was seemingly in reference to the country's levelled Hindu and Buddhist temples.

"I believe what the Bible says," Miano wrote in a conversation with another twitter user. "Most people HATE Jesus. That's why they build temples 2 false gods."

The reaction on social media to the preacher's words was swift. 

"It is arrogant and callous to pray that the Nepalese would give up their faith and sources of comfort in a time of tragedy #nepal," a Chicago woman wrote. 

"@TonyMiano you are what is wrong with the christian religion and you are in or a rude awakening come judgement day," a woman in Santa Fe added. 

Others compared Miano to Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist Church, the fundamentalist group hated across America for protesting military funerals and its "God Hates Fags" campaign. 

The preacher bristled at the comparison and said he is merely witnessing to others, not spreading hate. 

Lifestyle