Last time we heard from pastor Jonathan Shuttlesworth, he claimed that America will be spared from the coronavirus because Donald Trump is “pro-Israel.”
That didn’t pan out. Businesses, schools, and major events are shutting down across the country as COVID-19 spreads. So he’s updated his prediction to say something more sensible.
I’m just kidding. He says that any churches that close in the wake of the disease are run by neutered loser “pansies.”
Right-wing evangelist Jonathan Shuttlesworth has no time for "loser" pastors who are canceling services because of the coronavirus, saying they should instead be holding mass gatherings to demonstrate the power of their faith. pic.twitter.com/XNXJ89AE32
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) March 11, 2020
“If you’re putting out pamphlets and telling everybody to use Purell before they come into the sanctuary and don’t greet anyone, you should just turn in your ministry credentials and burn your church down — turn it into a casino or something. You’re a loser … Bunch of pansies. No balls. Got neutered somewhere along the line and don’t even realize it.”
“Let me tell you if the devil doesn’t want there to be mass gatherings — it’s time to hold mass gatherings. If I lived in Italy I would call an open-air crusade to pray for the sick. If you have to go to jail, go to jail.”
The virus is not some kind of anti-Christian attack. By treating it as such, Shuttlesworth is potentially exposing more Christians to the disease.
The reason everything is shutting down is to protect the elderly and those with compromised immune systems — the most vulnerable populations to the coronavirus. That, by the way, is a good way to care for “the least of these,” as Jesus commissioned.
Staying home isn’t just about self-protection but making sure that others don’t get sick, even if it means skipping meaningful events like church. Self-sacrifice, something else Jesus praised, shouldn’t be mocked or demeaned at a time like this.
Besides, people can still participate through livestreams of sermons if they want to. If hearing the word of God is all that matters, there are ways to make that happen without facilitating the spread of the virus. Far from a cowardly move, it’s what pastors should do if they genuinely care for their congregations.