Some pro-Trump evangelicals are denying the existence of the coronavirus while others are doubting that it is deadly.
Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne refused to cancel services at The River church in Tampa Bay, Florida, or prevent attendees from shaking hands because “we’re raising up revivalists, not pansies,” reports Right Wing Watch.
The Miami Herald reports that Pastor Guillermo Maldonado scolded his half-empty congregation at the King Jesus International Ministry in Kendall, Florida:
This service is usually packed. So now they’re home in a cave afraid of the virus, that you want to transmit the virus. If we die, we die for Christ. If we live, we live for Christ, so what do you lose.
The Washington Post notes that evangelical churches in Arkansas were also skeptical of the coronavirus:
In Arkansas, the Rev. Josh King met with the pastors of five other churches on Thursday to decide whether to continue holding service. Their religious beliefs told them that meeting in person to worship each Sunday remained an essential part of their faith, and some of their members signed on to Trump’s claims that the media and Democrats were over-blowing the danger posed by the virus.
“One pastor said half of his church is ready to lick the floor, to prove there’s no actual virus,” said King, lead pastor at Second Baptist church in Conway, Ark…
“In your more politically conservative regions, closing is not interpreted as caring for you. It’s interpreted as liberalism, or buying into the hype,” said King, whose church draws about 1,100 worshipers on a typical Sunday.