Michael Brown on Are (White) Evangelicals Responsible for the Spread of Coronavirus in America?


This is not the first time something like this has happened. A national tragedy occurs, and Christians get scapegoated and blamed. Remember Nero blaming the Christians for the burning of Rome? Today, it is an op-ed writer for the New York Times who blames evangelicals for the spread of the coronavirus in America—and that would mean white evangelicals, to be sure.

The Times’ original headline was bold and provocative: “The Road to Coronavirus Hell Was Paved by Evangelicals” (yet they’ve since changed the headline to “The Religious Right’s Hostility to Science Is Crippling Our Coronavirus Response”).

Yes, “Trump’s response to the pandemic has been haunted by the science denialism of his ultraconservative religious allies.”

According to Katherine Stewart, the author of the article, “Donald Trump rose to power with the determined assistance of a movement that denies science, bashes government and prioritized loyalty over professional expertise. In the current crisis, we are all reaping what that movement has sown.”

Is there any substance to her claims?

Stewart quotes prominent evangelical leaders (one of whom is Hispanic, for the record) who downplayed the danger of holding public gatherings to the point of ridiculing pastors who chose to follow the government’s guidelines. (My own stance has been quite the opposite, encouraging pastors to comply out of love for their neighbors as well as out of wisdom; see here and here.)

Stewart also notes that some evangelical leaders in high places in the government have scorned the danger of the virus, outside of church settings.

But where is her evidence that these pastors and leaders influenced Trump’s policy decisions? What proof does she have?

To be generous, we could call it specious. To be precise, we could say she has none. A court of law would not even find her reasoning worthy of being called circumstantial.

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SOURCE: Charisma News