Who Would Jesus Infect?

Posted on December 6, 2020


Science-denial and refusal to follow pandemic protocols has caused American houses of worship to become known as “super spreaders” of coronavirus–and, judging from recent reports, they intend to change nothing. By mid-November, “According to data from the state’s Department of Health and Human Services, statewide 60 COVID-19 outbreaks have been linked to religious services. An outbreak is defined as two or more cases of the virus linked by time and space.”

In fact, as more people die, some believers are doubling down on their reckless behaviors. From March to October, survey results show that “far more Americans want their churches to defy lockdown orders than they did earlier in the year. And more than twice as many Americans than before now say they don’t want the government telling houses of worship to stop meeting in person.”

God’s war against public health was supported by the highest court in the land, too, when SCOTUS  “granted requests from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and two Orthodox Jewish synagogues to lift New York’s coronavirus-related attendance limits on worship services.”

Religious belief does not confer immunity from disease, and religious leaders who continue with in-person, un-masked, indoor services endanger their congregations and the larger community. It is unethical and anti-social behavior, and certainly not something to be held up as admirable leadership in the time of COVID.

As hospitals are overwhelmed with patients and the number of deaths nears 300,000, I am appalled at religious leaders who show such callous disregard for human life as to refuse to follow life-saving practices. Those who follow them are heading for the valley of possible illness, suffering, disability, and/or death, and they’re taking vulnerable community members with them.

I beg you, reader, if you or anyone you know is a member of a church congregation, do not follow a leader who doesn’t respect human life enough to take simple precautions to save as many lives as possible. The way to survive a pandemic is through good policies and excellent practices (masks; distance; hand-washing); prayer has no power here. And anyone who claims otherwise is a danger to society. See what happened to some who claimed otherwise: Google “pastor dies of COVID” or “pastor who denied COVID dies.” The list is growing. While it may be a popular fantasy among Christians to want to “die for Jesus,” I don’t think dying of a preventable virus counts as martyrdom.

If a pastor prioritizes human life, we can tell: they broadcast their services online, where their congregants can #StaySafe at home, and if they interact with others, they maintain a safe distance and always wear a mask. If church leaders don’t prioritize human life, DON’T FOLLOW THEM. They are a danger to the community.

lisa eddy is a writer-for-hire, researcher, educator-for-hire, youth advocate,  musician, and gardener.

On Twitter: @lisa_eddy

On email: lisagay.eddy1@gmail.com