By Peter Montgomery
Religious-right leaders and media outlets have been sending mixed messages about the coronavirus pandemic. For some, it is a sign of God’s judgment or evidence that we are living in the End Times. And for others, it is something that has been blown out of proportion by media and politicians who will do anything to bring down President Donald Trump.
As Right Wing Watch has reported, some religious-right leaders have said that Christians should not give in to fear of the virus because God has given them supernatural healing power and protection from plagues. Some believe that God will spare Christians from the virus and that will become evidence of God’s power and a potent tool for evangelization. Evangelist Jonathan Shuttlesworth has mocked “loser” pastors who cancel services and said Christians should be holding mass gatherings to demonstrate the power of their faith. Organizers of two “prophetic” conferences scheduled for early April announced this week that the events will not be canceled.
Trump himself has been sending mixed messages and promoting misinformation. Even as cultural and sporting events, academic conferences, and large public gatherings were postponed or cancelled as public health officials urged Americans to practice “social distancing” in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Trump continued to conduct business as usual, and his campaign continued to hold and schedule large public rallies. That appeared to change Thursday morning; CBS White House correspondent Mark Knoller reported that Trump had scrubbed political trips to Nevada and Colorado that were scheduled for Friday and Saturday, while a decision about a March 25 campaign rally is still pending.
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