Did somebody actually claim “The Bible is my Vaccine” or is that just a bit of satire?
You can probably guess, but yes, it is quite real.
Here via Hemant Mehta is religious fraudster Kenneth Copeland making this claim a couple of days ago…
I do rather like Hemant’s term for him – “scamvangelist”. That one word beautifully describes this guy.
Let’s take a closer look at what he claimed
Here is exactly what he said …
Our first experience with a flu shot? John was a little guy. I said, “Come on in, kids. We’re going to take our flu shot.”
His eyes got big.
Deuteronomy 28:22: “The lord shall smite thee with a consumption with a fever and inflammation, extreme burning…” And we just went back and forth like that. Back and forth and back and forth. Back and forth. And we had our flu shot. It still works today!
Now, I’m not gonna tell you one way or another what to do about that [COVID] shot. But — now this is just me, you understand? — I’m not making suggestions to you. That’s between you and God. But…
I will not allow an experimental drug to be put into my body. I’m not going there. No. I’m not doing that.
Particularly when I don’t need it!
First week of next month, I’ll be 85. I’ve had a sick free life!
I don’t need to unpack the disinformation, the word “experimental” announces that for you.
Interestingly enough, what we do have here is a very testable hypothesis. If we have a large enough group of people, we could randomly pick half for a flu vaccine and for the others we simply read random bible texts. We then expose them all. Well yes, not exactly an ethical test.
Interestingly enough, we do actually appear to have been running this precise test in the bible belt. Given the observation that the unvaccinated are generally the deeply religious, what results do we have?
We have a report via the the Texas Department of State Health Services. They examined data from Jan. 15 to Oct. 1 and found that unvaccinated people were much more likely to get infected and die of the coronavirus than those who got their shots.
We have some numbers …
- Unvaccinated people were 13 times more likely to become infected with COVID-19 than fully vaccinated people.
- Unvaccinated people were 20 times more likely to experience COVID-19-associated death than fully vaccinated people.
The age adjusted death rate per 100,000 is 40 times higher for the unvaccinated.
Is anybody actually shocked to discover that just reading bible verses simply does not work?
OK, back to Copeland.
What I did want to do was to highlight this. If you watch the above clip then you will notice how he is skilfully walking a line here. He very carefully says “I’m not gonna tell you one way or another what to do about that [COVID] shot“, and then proceeds to do exactly that. If challenged legally, his defence is that he told nobody what to do, he simply explained what he personally did.
Like all successful fraudsters he knows how to stay just under a line that triggers a response.
He knows exactly which emotional hot buttons to press. We can also see him playing his audience like a violin.
He knows that you can make all sorts of outrageous and utterly ridiculous claims under the banner of religion and face no consequences. He also knows that by flying a religious banner he pays no taxes. He is not even obliged to file accounts for his ministry.
Copeland’s scam is what is known as the Prosperity Gospel. This is a belief that claims that if you give your money to God, then God will reward you by giving you lots of money in return.
What he actually means by “giving your money to God” is to simply send it to him. This giving is claimed to be an “investment”. He has a book that he wrote titled “Laws of Prosperity” and within it he makes this claim …
Do you want a hundredfold return on your money? Give and let God multiply it back to you. No bank in the world offers this kind of return! Praise the Lord!
Let’s be blunt. It does not work, it never has, it is just a scam.
COVID has been an opportunity to exploit
When COVID struck and many of the people who donated to him found themselves without a job, he implored his followers to keep donating even if they had no job. Well hey, those corporate jets and skiing trips don’t pay for themselves.
Back in 2020 as COVID was beginning, he asked viewers to touch their TV so that he could pray for them and cure them. Here are some statistics for you:
- Number of people actually cured after that? – exactly zero
- For completeness, number of people cured by him of anything ever at any time? – exactly zero
- OK, let’s go all in on this. Number of supernatural manifestations via him of any kind? – yep, you nailed it, exactly zero.
Back in 2020 he also rather famously claimed that COVID was simply a “weak strain of the flu and that fear of it was sin and putting faith in the devil”. The fact that over 760,000 are now dead does not in any way dent his image in the eyes of his devoted money pumps.
When the lockdowns happened this was his stance, “I want you in my church. If we have to pass out thermometers. If we find one with a fever, let’s get him healed right there. What if you do get it? Big deal!“.
As the pandemic proceeded, he would also pop up on a very very regular basis to claim that it would soon end. He even did this back in April 2020 …
Yes indeed, he deployed his “Almighty God” to Smite the Virus by spitting at the camera (my sympathy to the guy who had to clean that up).
Rather obviously his “Almighty god” was out of the office that day and did absolutely nothing. But that has always been true for all he does. This is because it is all an act, this is religious theatre that is there to keep his money pumps vigorously churning.
Why do people not see through his scam?
Some do eventually, but most don’t.
The difficultly here is very much deeply embedded within human psychology.
Once you have invested, in this case literally, it becomes very challenging to come to terms with it being a scam. This remains true even when faced with solid evidence.
“I donated, yet God has not ‘blessed’ me with money” might of course be something you would consider to be a moment of crises, but this is religion and so it insulates itself like this – “my faith has not been strong enough“, or “I did not give with my whole heart, god could see that, and so he did not bless me“, etc… In other words, the lack of “blessing” is your fault and not his.
They are literally trapped by a cycle that is very much akin to the gambler’s fallacy. It is for his victims, very much like sitting at the slots in Vagas and thinking, “I have invested all this cash, if I keep doing this it will pay out, but if I walk away, all of that will have been for nothing“, and so they keep sending more and more to this charlatan desperately hoping for a “blessing” that never comes. Meanwhile he will continue to offer up promises of riches.
New word of the day, with a hat tip to Hemant – “scamvangelist” (It really is in the Urban Dictionary)
Also, if you enter “scamvangelist” into google images, 9 of the top 10 hits is a picture of Copeland.
One last thought
One other observation here is perhaps this. The old phrase “Avoid it like the plague” needs to be retired. When faced with an actual plague, guys like Copeland are very clearly doing their very best to ensure that as many people as possible don’t avoid it, but instead embrace it. These are the same folks who perhaps avoid vaccines because they believe it will modify their DNA. To be honest, looking at their gullibility and stupidity, the idea of modifying their DNA is an opportunity they really should consider embracing.