In mid-September I wrote a post here with the title “Owned Libs and Lost Souls.” Embedded in the post was a copy of the letter I sent to a local church pastor who organized a huge evangelical gathering, ostensibly to “see God’s love, forgiveness, and peace permeate our city.”
Many of you predicted that the pastor would not reply to my letter. Eighteen days have passed since I sent that letter to the pastor, and—guess what—you were right. Not a peep.
In the likely event that you’ve forgotten, the post was accompanied by a photo taken at the event. The photo shows throngs of “worshipers” singing “praises” to God, hands raised to the sky—and maskless—and seeming to make no effort at social distancing.
A “Super-Spreader” Event?
So, how has El Paso County, Colorado, fared in reported COVID cases since that September 13 gathering? I must be honest, right? This county’s reported daily infection rates have bounced around since then, but have shown no sustained appreciable spike following that gathering. The county’s Public Health Department reported 30 new COVID cases on that September 13 gathering day. The following day, the number bumped up to 38. Two days following the event, the number jumped all the way up to 60 reported new cases. And remember, COVID-19 symptoms typically manifest anywhere from 2 to 14 days following exposure. So, that dramatic two-day spike seems significant. But after that, the numbers fluctuated markedly, from a low of 19 on the 19th and the 27th, to a high of 44 on the 28th. We can only guess what the numbers would have been had the event not occurred.
Was the September 13 evangelical “worship gathering” a “super-spreader” event? We can’t be certain, but it appears not to have been. That does not, however, change my view that it was an irresponsible and un-Christian stunt held by rebellious, clamorous evangelical Christians. Medical experts have declared, unequivocally, that social distancing and mask-wearing when near others are the most-effective ways to impede transmission of the virus. Yet religious groups, particularly evangelical Christians, tend to be the factions most likely to rebel and resist those basic precautions.
Why? What is the reason for this evangelical rebelliousness? The answer is, I’m now convinced, both simple and complicated.
The Root of Evangelical Rebelliousness
Based on a few Bible passages, evangelicals expect to be a persecuted minority. Then, conformation bias kicks in. “The confirmation bias is based on finding that people tend to listen more often to information that confirms the beliefs they already have. Through this bias, people tend to favor information that confirms their previously held beliefs.”
Essentially, evangelicals are largely guilty of creating a self-fulfilling prophecy, as I pointed out in “Beware, Evangelicals, of Self-Fulfilling Prophecy,” a blog posted on this site back in March 2020. In that post, I wrote the following:
This “sky is falling” doom-and-gloom, expect-persecution mentality is, as I mentioned above, a common refrain in evangelical churches throughout the nation; I heard it often—and at times repeated it. Yes, the Bible does tell Christ followers to expect persecution, but it does not suggest that believers should go out of their way to unearth it or to invite it. But that tendency to proclaim discrimination—even when it’s only perceived—has an ironic allure to the faithful. Victimhood can be brandished as proof of one’s devotion to the faith.
As a result, many—perhaps most—evangelicals tend to view events through the lens of a persecuted minority. The world, the national government, the state government, local and municipal governments—even my non-Christian neighbors—are all out to get me. And the natural human reaction to perceived threats is, as we all know, flight or fight.
This Is My Country
Many evangelical churches and ministries have long taught that the United States of America is a “Christian nation,” and that Christians must preserve that Christian heritage. Few evangelical congregants are willing or able to investigate for themselves this Christian-nation claim. If their pastor or a prominent evangelical “scholar,” such as David Barton of “Wallbuilders,” tells them America is and always was meant to be a Christian nation, they will take that belief to the grave—or to the ballot box.
So, with America being–in their view–a “Christian nation,” flight is not an option. That leaves fight as the remaining choice. Then, for a largely unsophisticated assemblage, the battles are chosen by “the enemy.” Whatever Democrats endorse, evangelical must oppose. Here’s why: Decades ago, the evangelical movement made an unholy alliance with the Republican Party. (You can read more about this alliance in my article on The Culture Crush.) Despite no biblical support for Christianity being tied to a political party, the deal was struck, and now most evangelicals confuse and conflate the two entities. As a result, the Democratic Party is the enemy, Satan’s diabolical force set on opposing all that is godly and wholesome.
“No Lib Is Going to Mask Me!”
And that brings us back to evangelicals’ rebellious response to COVID-19, such as was seen in that September “worship gathering” here in Colorado Springs, noted above. Yes, as an evangelical myself, I must say that the typical evangelical response to this global pandemic has been akin to that of a petulant child (but that’s no surprise when most of them/us enthusiastically chose a 70-something petulant child to lead the nation). Evangelicals have behaved like a spoiled brat whose schoolteacher tells him to wash his hands after holding the classroom frog. To his own detriment, he licks his slime-covered hands rather than obey the teacher’s wise counsel.
Beyond all doubt, mask wearing and social distancing are key behaviors for mitigating the spread of COVID-19. But, led by our now-COVID-infected President, evangelicals defiantly, rebelliously lick their soiled hands.