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Evangelicals Who Defied ‘Stay-At-Home’ Orders Are Dying In Frightening Numbers: Report

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A “Phantom Plague” is ravaging America’s Bible belt, according to a new report by The Independent. Many Christian fundamentalists and evangelical leaders have been irresponsibly downplaying the dangers of COVID-19 and have encouraged their followers to defy social distancing guidelines in order to hold church services. Their actions have led to a greater number of coronavirus deads.

“Dozens of pastors across the Bible Belt have succumbed to coronavirus after churches and televangelists played down the pandemic and actively encouraged churchgoers to flout self-distancing guidelines,” Journalist Alex Woodward, with the Independent, writes.

The virus has claimed the lives of “at least 30 pastors from the nation’s largest African-American Pentecostal denomination” as members defied public health warnings to avoid large gatherings to prevent transmitting the virus,” he writes.

“The virus has had a wildly disproportionate impact among black congregations, many of which have relied on group worship,” Woodward explains. “Yet despite the climbing death toll, many US church leaders throughout the Bible Belt have not only continued to hold services, but have urged worshippers to continue paying tithes — including recent stimulus checks — to support their mission.”

One of the fundamentalists who defied social distancing, according to Woodward, was Bishop Gerald Glenn, founder of the New Deliverance Evangelistic Church in Chesterfield, Virginia. While other pastors were moving their sermons online, Glenn preached at a March 15 service that was attended by almost 200 people. Three weeks later, Glenn died of coronavirus.

One of the far-right evangelical extremists who has encouraged worshippers to defy social distancing is Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne, a Pentecostal fundamentalist in Florida. Howard-Browne has irresponsibly described coronavirus as a “phantom plague” and was arrested for his blatant defiance of social distancing rules.

RELATED: Pastor Who Defied Orders And Held Packed Church Service Dies After Contracting COVID-19.

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