Ugly Americans, Stay Home
European countries ravaged by Covid are not here for anti-vax nonsense
I had a visit with my aunt earlier this week. She attends a large evangelical/fundamentalist anti-vax church in the San Joaquin Valley, but she has been attending virtually since the pandemic started. She has still not gone back to church, though she has been vaccinated, because most of the people she knows at the church are anti-vax or unvaxed, including the ministers.
People have died at her church because they refused the vaccine — people her age, people younger than her, who got sick with Covid and were put on ventilators and never came home. “I don’t understand it,” she says. “Lots of people died, and it was so needless.”
If it were me, I’d be shopping for a different church. But I get it: you have relationships with people that go back decades, never imagining that a fair percentage of them are going to embrace performative anti-science politics even at the expense of their own health and lives or the lives of their children, and you are still trying to come to grips with this astonishing fact.
For my part, I think anti-vax pastors and anti-mask pastors, those braggadocious preachers who have blathered on through this whole pandemic about “faith over fear” while their congregants drop like flies, don’t deserve the name of shepherd. Their cavalier disregard for the health of their congregations, especially for the elderly and the very young and the immunocompromised or high-risk parishioners, is disqualifying in my view. Pastors are to tend the flock. That means more than preaching the Bible, or their version of it. If you are willingly and stubbornly leading your flock to their deaths in the middle of a pandemic, you should quit in abject shame. You’re a hireling, and no shepherd.
And I told my aunt as much. These pastors should be ashamed of themselves and repent in sackcloth and ashes for not only setting a poor example for the people in their congregations, but for willingly encouraging dangeroous behavior. I told her that this anti-vaccine contagion sweeping through conservative America is the Trump death cult in action: it’s the needless self-sacrifice of Herman Cain on the altar of Trump’s ego, multiplied by millions. It’s demonic, if anything is. The…