In a time when social distancing is one of the key protections against community spread of COVID-19, far-right wingnut "preachers" are telling their gullible followers to ignore warnings by public health officials and gather en masse in churches across the country. We noted earlier that one Bible thumping loon in Florida who was arrested last Monday for violating social distancing orders from his local jurisdiction by holding in-person services (a restriction later overruled by the state's dangerously delusional hack of a governor, Ron "DeDope" DeSantis). Then there was this cretin preacher in Louisiana who pulled the same stunt of recklessly filling his church and violating his state's social distancing rules.
If you want to get a sense of how widespread this criminal delusion goes among the Elmer Gantrys of today, here are just a few examples, via The Guardian:
"(Kenneth Copeland) told viewers of his Victory Channel in early March that coronavirus was a 'weak' strain of the flu, and that fearing the pandemic was a sin.
'Fear is a spiritual force. Fear is not OK. It is sin. It is a magnet for sickness and disease … You are giving the devil a pathway to your body,' Copeland said.
He also criticized pastors who had suspended in-person services and moved to online streaming. [snip]
Roy Moore, a pastor, former Alabama supreme court judge and failed Trump-backed Alabama Senate candidate who lost amid allegations of sexual misconduct with underage girls, told Facebook followers he would write a letter to his fellow pastors on what he called their 'duty to continue church assemblies, even in the midst of these trying times'. [snip]
Self-described prophet Lance Walnau wrote in a blogpost that 'this virus will touch just a fraction of the population', adding that it was less dangerous than seasonal flu.Let's be clear that the prime motivation isn't their church members' souls, it's their wallets. Megachurches rake in huge sums from their flocks, allowing the avaricious preachers to live a lavish lifestyle off the sweat of their conned followers. If these organizations cease to attract people to their pews, their corrupt livelihood is threatened. The reality now, however, is that these people are involved in community spread of the virus on steroids, as they leave their megachurches and circulate in their communities.
He turned to conspiracy theory for an explanation of the public health response and associated media coverage. 'The left wants the economy distressed because crisis improves their chances of taking office,' Walnau wrote.
He then counseled readers to ignore the information being published by media outlets."
(photo: "Prosperity gospel" charlatan Kenneth Copeland spots a demon in the mirror)