What the Pandemic Uncovered — Pt. 3
2020 revealed how fully American Christianity has compromised its role of moral leadership for political power.
Continued from Part 2.
Historically, global pandemics have produced many of the same byproducts we are witnessing today. Social anxieties gave way to conspiracy theories. An array of health advice and research contributed to good ideas and other ideas that were simple quackery. But past pandemics also produced religious awakenings and revival. Anxious populations confronted by their frailty from the Black Death to the Spanish Flu were frequently met by religious leaders who directed them to God and a hope beyond this world.
But not this time.
While there are exceptions on the margins, in the mainstream, America’s religious leaders, far from offering hope and spiritual guidance, bowed their hearts to religious devils and political ideology. Ironically, under the banner of religious freedom, many church leaders went out of their way and put their followers at risk to proclaim their allegiance to President Trump with unnecessarily dangerous meetings and gatherings. It was difficult to identify the difference between political rallies and church services in these gatherings.
In many communities across the country, churches served as the breeding ground for the pandemic to spread as pastors encouraged their congregants to oppose religious persecution from the federal government and gather in person rather than through virtual channels.
The actor and Christian activist Kirk Cameron led a protest of Christmas carolers who refused to wear facemasks in California while the state racked up 300,000 new coronavirus cases in a single week within its borders. The Christmas caroling protest likely seemed like a cute idea in its organizers’ mind but will no doubt be recorded as needlessly stupid when historians reflect on this time period.
Many Christians, and their leaders, are also falling prey to anti-vaccine arguments. They automatically assume nefarious motives to billionaires and government leaders who would seek to inject them with a vaccine.
The anti-vaccine, anti-lockdown, anti-facemask postures of many Christians across the country today are not Biblically based. Biblical beliefs have nothing to do with the nonsense spread in their protests and frequent social media rants. They are fear-based outrage prompted by a lawless element that has grown within the American religious establishment. It did not start in the pandemic, but nothing has so clearly revealed it as the pandemic.
To be clear, being pro-vaccine, pro-lockdown, or pro-facemask is also not a Christian position — the Christian, or Christ-like, position shepherds the people in times of fear and anxiety. American Christianity compromised its role of moral leadership for political power some years ago. When moral leadership and spiritual guidance was needed, too many pastors and church members were busy explaining why they believed a facemask is a free speech muzzle. They missed their moment, and America may have missed the great spiritual awakening many of these armchair freedom fighters spent years praying for.
This is part three in a four-part series What the Pandemic Uncovered. Read part 4.