Monday 6 July 2020

Covidiots - California's 'Persecuted' Christians

California Covid-19 timeline
Data Sources: Cases and deaths data from JHU CSSE. Policy actions from the National Governor’s Association, D.C. Policy Center, and Washington, DC’s Coronavirus website.
Evangelicals Are Furious That California Temporarily Banned Singing in Churches | Hemant Mehta | Friendly Atheist | Patheos

In addition to the resurgence of Covid-19 cases in California, there has been an resurgence of persecution mania amongst California's evangelical Christian community.

This time, their indignation is over not being allowed the privilege of spreading Covid-19 in the manner of their choosing - by gathering together in an enclosed space and bellowing at the top of their voices.

The cause of their self-righteous outrage?

The attempt by the governor, Gavin Newsom, to introduce measures intended to bring under control the serious and accelerating second wave of Covid-19 cases in the state. The new guidelines include discontinuing singing in church services:

Discontinue singing (in rehearsals, services, etc.), chanting, and other practices and performances where there is increased likelihood for transmission from contaminated exhaled droplets. Consider practicing these activities through alternative methods (such as internet streaming) that ensure individual congregation members perform these activities separately in their own homes.

Any normal person would think this is an entirely sensible precaution to safeguard other people in the room, but not evangelical Christians who still seem to be under the impression that Covid-19 is some sort of Satanic conspiracy to shut down churches, they have magical protection granted by Jesus.

In a Twitter comment, televangelist, Samuel Rodriguez managed to allude to the Black Lives Matter campaign, showing who his message was really aimed at and reinforcing the idiotic conspiracy theory that somehow this 'War on Christianity' and the BLM campaign are connected as part of an imaginary liberal left agenda.

Under Donald Trump's presidency, extreme right-wing, white evangelical Christianity has become deeply embedded in American politics, and along with it comes the insatiable demand for privilege and the right of veto.

The real reason these pandemic-control measures cause panic in the evangelical leadership is of course that they are acutely aware that part of what keeps the faithful flocking to church and paying their tithes is not the love of God but the love of being part of a cult with all its affiliative rewards, and of course the opportunity to show off your piety. The collective act of singing and chanting in unison is an integral part of maintaining cult affiliation.

Break that regular ritual and you begin to lose the affiliative attraction of going to church, and with that loss comes loss of attendance, loss of control of the cult, and, most importantly, loss of church income. Becoming part of the out-group will give people a different perspective on the cult, and that would never do! They might even see the hypocrisy, disinformation and dishonesty the leaders depend on.

Cynical evangelical preachers, who in many ways epitomise avaricious greed and selfishness - allegedly despised by Jesus - are desperate that Covid-19 is going to irretrievably damage their power and control over their source of wealth - the poor people who willingly allow themselves to be fleeced for the privilege of belonging to a cult.

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