The worst right-wing conservative Christian responses to the coronavirus pandemic

    23 March 2020

    Multi-millionaire televangelist Kenneth Copeland.

    As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, the response of right-wing conservative Christians is outrageously damaging. Either by using the crisis to earn money, spreading wild conspiracy theories or encouraging their church members to infect each other.

    1. Prosperity preacher commanding unemployed followers to keep giving

    Multi-millionaire televangelist Kenneth Copeland has warned followers that even if they lose their jobs because of the coronavirus outbreak, they must continue giving to the church: “Whatever you do right now, don’t you stop tithing!”

    Copeland, appearing on his Victory Live TV show, declared:

    Fear of this coronavirus is faith in its ability to hurt you or kill you. The fear of ‘What are we gonna do? I’m getting laid off at work!’

    Hey! Your job’s not your source. If it is, you’re in trouble. Jesus is your source! Whatever you do right now, don’t you stop tithing! Don’t you stop sowing offerings.

    ‘Well, they won’t let us go to church!’

    Well, email it in, then! Text together. Something. But you get your tithe in that church if you have to go take it down there and drop it off … stick it under the door or something. You get that tithe in that church, you get that offering in that church, and then you go home and do what you’re supposed to do.

    2. Televangelist Sells $125 ‘Silver Solution’ as Cure for Coronavirus

    Televangelist Jim Bakker’s show suggested that a Silver solution sold by their website can kill the coronavirus within 12 hours! The product is sold on Bakker’s website for US$125 but bundle packages sell for up to US$300.

    Jonathan Turley reports:

    Of course, Televangelist Jim Bakker has outdone his contemporaries during the crisis. At least Copeland would just take what little money followers may have in the crisis. Bakker could end up costing them their lives. Bakker is selling the $125 “Silver Solution” as a possible cure for coronavirus. New York Attorney General Letitia James, whose office sent him a cease and desist order telling him to quit “making misleading claims regarding the Silver Solution’s effectiveness.”

    We previously discussed how Bakker (who did time for fraud) has been hawking Trump coins as a “point of contact with God” as well as doomsday pancake mix.

    3. Catholic Archbishop: Taking Communion OK Because ‘Christ Does Not Spread Disease’

    Roman Catholic Archbishop Andrzej Dzięga of Poland is encouraging Catholics to keep going to church and keep taking communion despite the dangerous health risks.

    The Progressive Secular Humanist reports:

    In a letter responding to public warnings about the dangers of coronavirus, the archbishop contradicted all medical and scientific advice by encouraging Catholics to go to mass, take communion, and drink holy water.

    In the letter the archbishop said:

    The tempter knows perfectly well how to patiently weaken our closeness and unity with the Lord. He often starts with small matters. You have to tell him: go away, Satan. Satan is helpless against such expressive and explicit human testimony of faith. He’s terrified of it. It is not without reason that someone is afraid of something, like the devil of holy water. (…) Do not be afraid to reach for holy water with faith. Do not be afraid of the temple. Do not be afraid of the Church… Christ does not spread disease.

    4. Christian University President claiming that the Coronavirus is a North Korean bioweapon with the purpose of toppling Donald Trump

    Speaking on Fox & Friends, Jerry Falwell, Jr. suggested the North Koreans worked in concert with China to create the virus specifically to harm America.

    The Daily Beast reports:

    Seemingly parroting other Fox hosts who have called the outbreak a Democratic “impeachment scam,” Falwell claimed that since “impeachment didn’t work” that maybe this is “their next attempt to get Trump.”

    Apparently not satisfied with accusing Democrats of weaponizing the virus to take down Trump, Falwell took it several steps further.

    “The owner of a restaurant asked me last night, he said, ‘Do you remember the North Korean leader promised a Christmas present for America, back in December?’” Falwell exclaimed. “‘Could it be they got together with China, and this is that present?’ I don’t know. But it really is something strange going on.”

    According to Media Matters:

    Some right-wing conservative Christians have used major global crises, including pandemics, to fearmonger about the end of the world. This tactic is being used again:

    • On January 27, conspiracy theorist Bill Deagle said it was the “first day of the Apocalypse.”
    • During a January 29 sermon, megachurch pastor Perry Stone said, “When you see these types of tragedies, diseases, viruses and pestilences, the strange and unusual words in the Apocalypse become more clear.”
    • Right-wing pastor Hank Kunneman prophesied during a February 9 sermon that God will protect the United States from the novel coronavirus because Trump opposes abortion and defends Israel.
    • On February 13, Rick Wiles, an End Times pastor, said on his show that “plagues are one of the last steps of judgment” and coronavirus is God’s judgment. According to Wiles, China is a “godless communist government” and people in the United States are “transgendering little children, perverting them. Look at the rapes, and the sexual immorality, and the filth on our TVs and our movies.”

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