Many Evangelicals, to be honest, seem to be welcoming the effects of the virus. Rick Wiles — as seen at White House press briefings — notes that many of the people who’ve died must surely have done something wrong.
“There is a judgment, I’m telling you, a plague is underway,” he says. “Get under the blood of Jesus Christ. Do not be in opposition to the Lord Jesus Christ and his church!”
So all that is good, right? Ralph Drollinger, the key Evangelical cleric for Republican politicians trying to get Evangelical votes, publishes a manifesto on how homosexuals, environmentalists, etc., are being “judged.”
It’s a stirring reminder, in that case, of how God deals with “evil.”
Lori Alexander, the great Evangelical commentator on women’s issues, is just glad that mothers are back home where they belong. “The coronavirus is pushing a lot of women back into their homes with their children, which is a good thing in my opinion,” she says.
A number of public gestures by prominent Evangelicals seem puzzling, until you reflect on the theology at work. When we read about Liberty University trying to re-open, or Hobby Lobby, the store, staying open because of “God’s request” this is because they believe Christians won’t get sick.
A key tenant of Evangelical theology, of course, is that if you follow “God’s laws,” He will keep you healthy.
It’s a little more complicated than that, of course. I wouldn’t use the Bible as a guide here, since these concepts are running completely independently of any actual text of the Jewish scriptures. It’s a crazy that’s being invented, I suspect, on the spot.
I sit studying a memo that Hobby Lobby owner David Green wrote explaining why his company isn’t closing. His wife got a message from God, is part of it. But a subtext intrudes in the long-winded, evasive commentary.
He has been financially successful, so feels “blessed.” That seems to telegraph to him that they won’t get sick.
In the Bible, of course, ordinary infirmity is never associated with “evil,” much less sexual behavior. The sexual terms used in Jewish theology are not at all relevant. “Adultery,” for example, is always a reference to idolatry. (Since the covenant community is seen as “married” to God, to go off with another deity is spiritual cheating.)
But the link between illness and evil in the Evangelical mind is concrete. They don’t need to think about sanitation from illness. Since they are “good,” viruses, or the select “bad” viruses (not the cold or flu, polo, etc.,) are expected to happens to other people, people who are bad—like those having unmarried sex, or watching porn.
When it became clear that Evangelicals could get the Coronavirus, there was a momentary pause in messaging. Then there seemed to be an outbreak of magical, faith-healing thinking, with Evangelical churches defying the “social distancing” to hold church services. There’s been reports in Alabama, Louisiana, Indiana and other places — of churches intent on remaining open, and holding “laying on of hands” services.
The idea here would be that, if somehow some sin got on Christian people who are mostly good, then healing magic will flow from the fingers of other Christians, and bring them back to health. (Just like Jesus did.)
The coronavirus is truly invisible. We fear what we cannot see. Doesn’t this remind us of one Bible verse in particular that God has given us? 2 Corinthians 5:7 states, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”
To “walk by faith” is therefore not to get infected. God will keep you safe and healthy because He loves you—not the other people, the bad people.
But as closures became required, the new message began to surface: God had served up a steaming hot pile of planetary judgement—for sexual misbehavior, mostly.
Religious outlets are now pumping that out.
It’s a way God prophesied would actually end with our annihilating ourselves from off the planet — if He didn’t intervene! . . . That means turning away from all forms of sex outside of marriage, including fornication, pornography and all lust and perversion (as God defines it, not as society does).
By a series of associations, and leaping from one Bible verse to another with the giddy freedom of gazelles, Coronavirus therefore becomes a matter of people touching, or looking at images of other people.
These do tend to be Evangelical thought processes to be an Evangelical idea, many branches of Christendom are thinking it’s probably right. Though the Pope has said the virus is God’s payback for sin against the environment, other Catholics weren’t so sure the Sodom and Gomorrah stuff wasn’t happening.