Random Evangelical Thoughts on the Coronavirus

The President of a large Christian nationalist university wondered on national television if the Coronavirus was a Chinese and North Korean conspiracy, premeditated to make President Trump look bad. He echoed his political hero, who himself repeatedly pointed the finger at China for spreading the virus, referring to it as the “Chinese Virus”. By that logic, history books should be obliged to teach that the smallpox epidemic that decimated American Indian tribes be called the “White Man’s Pestilence”.

At that same large Christian nationalist university, its President reportedly remarked that students aren’t treated like family but rather “like customers”.[1] Suggesting that Coronavirus was a hoax perpetrated to undermine President Trump, he kept in-person classes open, just as students were returning from Spring break. The decision contradicted the advice of health experts on safeguarding students and staff. But the university was a business, and the students were not family – just customers. Your family is precious and you protect them, but you can always get new customers.

A well-known televangelist/telemarketer reportedly went on-air to say his silver concoction could kill pathogens like SARS, HIV, and some strains of coronavirus. The miracle elixirs disappeared from his television show after several states filed lawsuits alleging false advertising. Hawking a fake cure was only a sideline, and he fell back on his survivalist food buckets. It’s a win-win deal. He finally got the great disaster to move his Armageddon rations, and his prayer partner-customers could sit back and gloat, “the world is dying and we’re having a breakfast for kings!”[2] It pays to stick with what you know.

Despite the country teetering towards financial meltdown, the White House refused to postpone its rule change imposing strict work requirements onto SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance. The White House projected that 700,000 would be kicked off the food stamp program even before thousands lost their jobs when Coronavirus measures took effect. Magnanimous display of empathy when unemployment could rise to 20%.

Wheat stockpiles are at an all-time high. The Government is sitting on a 1.39 billion-pound stockpile of cheese. Producers are sitting on 2.5 billion pounds of frozen meats. We’re running out of warehouse space to store it all. How is it then, that anybody in this country can go to bed hungry?

The average Fox News viewer is 67 years old. The average evangelical church-goer is 50. These are not normal times for the 55-to-dead demographic. It would make sense that pastors would be concerned that encouraging old folks to attend church invites them to get the virus and die. Not all of them get it. A pastor in Louisiana is not unusual in claiming the blood of Jesus would protect his church. He got the great idea of passing out “anointed handkerchiefs”. People could sneeze and cough their lungs out with no risk to the congregation.

In the midst of the pandemic, Florida tele-preacher and Presidential horse-whisperer Paula White made a pitch for $91 donations from her contributors. As she explained, she was in charge of a hospital – a spiritual one.  Meanwhile, sick people in Florida were headed into real hospitals. Many were losing their sources of income. Here’s a thought – why not dip into your millions and pay each of your congregants $91 instead. “If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, keep warm and eat well,’ but you do not give them what the body needs, what good is it?” James 2:15-16 (NET Bible).

Here’s another thought: If prosperity gospel is based on faith, it should work both ways. Tele-preachers call upon their audience to give in faith. The prosperity gospel should work both ways. The preacher should take a real step out in faith to accept only $1 lottery tickets. If he has the faith of a mustard seed, God’s blessings should flow over each prayed-over and mailed in ticket; same as cash! Such an anointing could rake in millions!


[1] Zachary Petrizzo, “Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr.: ‘We Treat Students Like Customers’”, Mediate, February 12, 2020.

https://www.mediaite.com/tv/liberty-university-president-jerry-falwell-jr-we-treat-students-like-customers/ (accessed March 21, 2020)

[2] Kylie Mohr, “Apocalypse Chow: We Tried Televangelist Jim Bakker’s ‘Survival Food’”, National Public Radio, December 5, 2015. http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/12/03/456677535/apocalypse-chow-we-tried-televangelist-jim-bakkers-survival-food (accessed February 2, 2019).

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