Thanks to a flagged tweet from the RNC, we caught wind of another outrageous take from The New York Times on Friday. Opinion contributor Katherine Stewart says evangelicals are to blame for the coronavirus crisis. Or, as she so poetically put it, "The Road to Coronavirus Hell Was Paved by Evangelicals." Another draft could have been, "Those evil evangelicals who don't believe in science."
Leave it to The New York Times to publish this garbage today: pic.twitter.com/M2y3pn2nIX— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) March 27, 2020
"This denial of science and critical thinking among religious ultraconservatives now haunts the American response to the coronavirus crisisIn her piece," Stewart argues. She picked a select few pastors as examples of religious leaders who have tried to downplay the current health crisis and instruct churchgoers to defy government orders and head to the pulpits. Again, those are a select few, wrong individuals who do not represent the evangelical community as a whole.
But that may not be the most egregious excerpt from Stewart's diatribe. She apparently saw something sinister in President Trump's announcement that he hopes to reopen the government by Easter.
Yet none of the benign uses of religion in this time of crisis have anything to do with Mr. Trump’s expressed hope that the country would be “opened up and just raring to go by Easter.” He could, of course, have said, “by mid-April.” But Mr. Trump did not invoke Easter by accident, and many of his evangelical allies were pleased by his vision of “packed churches all over our country.”
Her story was accompanied by a photo of Christians laying their hands on Trump and praying for him at the Evangelicals for Trump Coalition launch in January.
"Not every pastor is behaving recklessly, of course, and not every churchgoer in these uncertain times is showing up for services out of disregard for the scientific evidence," Stewart offers.
Well thanks. That is actually the case for my church here in Washington, D.C. Instead of assembling on Sundays like normal, our senior pastor has been emailing the congregants with notes of encouragement until we can meet again.
It's published nonsense to target a religious community as the source of the COVID-19 pandemic. No one could have predicted this, but President Trump and his task force have been doing their darnedest to bring us the best information they can.