Back in the spring, Toronto-based pastor David Lah landed in hot water in his native Myanmar after he hosted mass worship services in defiance of public health precautions aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19.
Lah’s case has proceeded in court, and he’s now headed to prison to serve a three-month sentence for violating Myanmar’s Natural Disaster Management Law. Al-Jazeera reported that the sentence would include hard labor but added that he might see freedom within days or weeks once the courts accounted for time served.
Certain Christian sources speculated he could face as many as three years in prison, so he got off easy. That’s especially true by contrast with the 67 individuals who contracted COVID-19 as a result of the meetings. (It’s worth noting that Lah, too, contracted the virus, but no lingering effects have been reported beyond the scope of his initial 21-day quarantine.)
It’s not the first time his desire for notoriety has endangered his flock, either. Past videos attacking Buddhists, Muslims, and the LGBTQ community have contributed to backlash against Myanmar’s Christian minority.
Lah’s not-guilty plea was an extraordinary gambit, given that his social media accounts featured video footage of instances where he violated the ban. One almost feels sorry for his laywer, Aung Kyi Win, being asked to pull that particular rabbit out of that particular hat.
Despite his nonsensical behavior, Lah retains the loyalty of at least some of his followers, who gathered outside the courthouse to show support for him. (They’re really not getting this whole social distancing thing, are they?) Imagine having that level of loyalty to someone who made this obviously, demonstrably false promise:
I can guarantee if your church is walking the true path, and you have the whole of Christ in your heart, you will not get the disease.
That leaves only two options: Either David Lah is offering a false guarantee, or he is walking a path that displeases God and Jesus Christ. Either way, it’s time to leave this false pastor alone with the consequences of his actions.
(Screenshot via YouTube. Thanks to Richard for the link)