It is now a running theme here. The battle against COVID-19 is also a battle against wingnut disinformation.
Last week I pointed out that we appear to be running a scientific test on the existence of God on a national scale. Those who sincerely believe that God will protect them if they pray enough and believe enough and so no social distancing is needed … vs … rational sane individuals who (regardless of their belief or lack of belief) follow the guidance given by medical subject matter experts. This week we have seen some right-wing extremists quite determined to ensure this test continues by putting in place street protests against lockdown.
Let’s take a look to see what the wingnuts have been claiming this past week.
Wingnut proclamations from the last 7 days
It is all very much everything you might expect and a lot more.
Wingnut Coronavirus Claims – Denialism meets brick wall of reality
- Pastor Dies of COVID-19 After Telling Crowded Church God Would Defeat COVID-19 … “I firmly believe that God is larger than this dreaded virus. You can quote me on that,” he said, repeating it a second time to claps, saying that “people are healed” in his church.
- Lawyer for COVID-19-Defying Pastor Hospitalized After Contracting COVID-19
- This is the most predictable headline ever.
- COVID-19-Defying Pastor’s Parishioner Dies After Contracting COVID-19
Wingnut Coronavirus Claims – The Dr Fauci Fan club
- Trump Retweets Call to Fire Anthony Fauci From Religious-Right Conspiracy Theorist DeAnna Lorraine
- Dr Fauci is a deeply experienced subject matter expert. It is a firmly established Trump tradition to ditch such people and replace them with incompetent idiots.
- Despite the fact that the White House reportedly has no intention of firing Dr. Anthony Fauci, Jim Hoft of The Gateway Pundit continues to bang the drum for Fauci’s removal: “This guy has been wrong every step of the way. Trump needs to get rid of this very dangerous man.”
- The guy who says Dr Fauci has been wrong … is wrong … but these folks don’t do facts or evidence.
- Curt Landry says Christians shouldn’t listen to Fauci because he fills them with fear instead of with hope and peace and should instead listen to Ben Carson, who is “an outstanding Christian man.”
- True saves lives, false hope kills.
- Josh Bernstein says that Dr. Anthony Fauci is “kind of a dumbass.”
Wingnut Coronavirus Claims – The Wrath Of God
There are some who seriously believe that because something bad is happening, they think that God is angry, and so we just need to believe the right things or pray the right way to sort it all out.
- American Pastors Network Claims COVID-19 Is Judgment For Disobeying God on Israel, Moral Law
- Harry Jackson is claiming that the prayer he delivered in the Oval Office on Passover turned the tide in the coronavirus outbreak: “It seemed as though our Passover prayer—asking God to pass over, asking God to use our prayers to be like Aaron’s incense, forming a line between the living and the dead—it actually worked.”
- If what we are now seeing is “It actually Worked”, then I do wonder what he thinks it would have been like if it did not.
- Michael Snyder Blames Trump Peace Plan for COVID-19’s Spread in U.S.
Wingnut Coronavirus Claims – Conspiracy Claims
- Pastor Monty Mulkey recommends that people avoid contracting the COVID-19 virus by staying away from 5G towers and all wireless signals: “You might want to consider moving to a more rural area.”
- If we can persuade them that watching Fox News also causes COVID-19 then we might be on to a winner.
- The Daily Wire’s Michael Knowles Declares That the Coronavirus Pandemic ‘Effectively Is Over’ … “the coronavirus has been primarily a political phenomenon“
- The many thousands of people who have died don’t view it as “primarily a political phenomenon“
Bill Gates has a fan club …
- Mark Taylor says that Bill Gates “is being used by Hell itself to commit genocide, literal genocide” through the promotion of vaccines.
- Rick Wiles Warns ‘There Will Be Blood in the Streets’ If Bill Gates Continues to Push for Vaccinations
- Sheila Zilinsky is reacting reasonably to the efforts to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus: “I DON’T TRUST ANYTHING COMING FROM THE FAKE MEDIA! (btw anyone with even a half decent immune system can kick this, no different than influenza, don’t let anyone tell you anything else). This is a BETA TEST for total TYRANNY. Slick Billy Gates of HELL WILL NEVER, EVER FORCE ME TO TAKE HIS VACCINE! HE SHOULD BE IN JAIL! “
I’m really OK with the idea of these folks not taking a vaccine when one is available.
Way beyond just Bizarre
Folks who insist on the freedom to infect and kill
- After repeatedly defending state decisions to ban the exercise of things like Islam and Satanism by insisting that “states are allowed the freedom under the Founders’ Constitution to regulate religious expression any way they choose,” Bryan Fischer has changed his tune now that states have begun closing Christian churches in an effort to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
- Charlie Kirk says that not allowing churches to meet is nothing more than “religious persecution and a police state.”
The Cult of Trump
- When asked to explain why President Donald Trump’s personal behavior hasn’t changed despite supposedly having developed a deep Christian faith and regularly being surrounded by evangelical Christian leaders, all James Robison could say was, “I think we see it in his actions.”
- Indeed we do James, indeed we do.
- Sid Roth Doesn’t Believe That Trump Lies Intentionally
- President Trump has made 18,000 false or misleading claims in 1,170 days, if this is not deliberate, then the only other alternative is that Trump is utterly delusional.
- Paula White, John Hagee Praise Trump, Slam Media in Daystar TV COVID-19 Special
- It was literally a cult like Trump devotee love fest.
- Somebody is now claiming that President Donald Trump’s infamous 2017 “covfefe” tweet was not a typo at all but was actually a secret QAnon code for COVID-19.
As I have pointed out for many weeks now, it might be tempting to think that the news of the Coronavirus has turned all these folks crazy. Alas no, they were always this crazy.
What else came out of the Wingnut fantasy land?
Lots of other stuff.
As always, it is an endless stream. Some of it is sad, some is rather grim, and some is quite frankly hilarious. Here are a few more samples …
Folks who think they are helping, but actually are not …
- NY Times: Priests Have “Joined the Fight” Against COVID-19
- Let’s not confuse priests with doctors or scientists.
- Archbishop Sprays New Orleans with Holy Water from Plane Because ?
- The archbishop was recently infected by the virus…. which only makes this worse.
Folks who think it is supernatural …
- Cardinal Dolan Exults That COVID-19 Survivors Probably Saw Evidence of God
- God did not take the wheel. If He did, He crashed the car.
- Pastor: I Survived a “Demonic” COVID-19 Attack By Holding a “Communion Cracker”
- Yep. Totally normal behavior.
Folks who toss out weird claims …
- FL Megachurch Pastor Spreads Wild Conspiracy Theories During Easter Sermon
- Rodney Howard-Browne unleashed a tirade against food, air, vaccines, and fluoride.
- In Lawsuit, KY Christians Compare COVID-19 Restrictions to Japanese Internment
- Some Christians are obsessed with pretending to be persecuted.
Folks who see tragedy as an opportunity to exploit …
- COVID-19-Defying Pastor Wants People to Send Him Their $1,200 Stimulus Checks
- “If you don’t have a church, give through my website.”
There are also consequences unfolding for some previous stances …
- Liberty U. Student Files Lawsuit Over Jerry Falwell’s Reckless COVID-19 Response
- The lawsuit says Liberty U. placed students “at severe physical risk” and won’t return their tuition money.
And thankfully there are many good people out there …
- NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo: “God Did Not Stop the Spread of the Virus.” We Did.
- He’s right on both counts.
Wingnut of the week – Jim Bakker
He earned the top spot for some very blatant fraud in previous weeks. His promotion of his silver solution as a supposed COVID-19 cure attracted the attention of authorities.
He was warned by the New York Attorney General’s office to stop “making misleading claims” about the product and also was ordered by the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission to “immediately cease making all such claims” about the effectiveness of the silver solution. On top of that, Bakker was also sued by the office of Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt “for misrepresentations about the effectiveness of ‘Silver Solution’ as a treatment for 2019 novel coronavirus.”
He is back once again.
As a result of all that previously happened, he popped up on this week’s TV show to explain that his Credit Card processing provider had cut him off, and so he is now begging for people to send him cheques instead.
“Some of the biggest companies have come against us,” Bakker said. “Right now, you cannot use a credit card … You can give by check. That’s the only way you can give right now.”
He is not getting the wingnut of the week spotlight because of that, but because he is looking his viewers in the eye on camera and telling them that he never promoted the silver solution as a cure for the coronavirus.
This is a demonstrable bold lie. Here he is on camera on that same show a few weeks ago doing exactly that …
Does he really think his viewers are that gullible?
Apparently he does.
Incidentally, this week he was also claiming that God Reportedly Told him That ‘People Are Going to Kill Preachers Who Believe in the Bible’.
“We supported the president, and so they want to destroy me,” Bakker said. “God spoke to me a year ago or more that the next thing that’s going to happen is that people are going to kill preachers who believe in the Bible, that believe the whole Bible is the truth.”
The thing to truly understand about this guy is that he has perfected the art of using religion to con people. He has a lifetime’s worth of experience on how to do this, and so he says stuff such as the above to tap into people emotions.
His motivation is to keep a flow of revenue flowing from his viewers.
Permit me to give you an insight into the mechanics of how his con game works. Back on a New Year’s Eve broadcast, he made a vague prophecy that God’s judgment was going to be poured out on the world It is not new, he has been saying stuff like that for years so that he can use the fear it generates to sell people excessively expensive and quite vile survival food.
Now that COVID-19 has popped up he was repurposing that recent “the end-of-the-world is coming” example this week to claim that he successfully predicted COVID-19. The con is that you toss out lots of vague stuff, then when something happens you simply crowbar in current events to claim a hit. Bakker’s original “prophecy” was so vague that if anything happened anywhere in the world, he could immediately claim it to be the fulfillment of his prophecy.
People jump on stuff like this as “proof” and so they buy into it all and donate.