A pastor who said face masks were useless against COVID and opened up his church to in-person worship services during which masks were optional… is currently in the hospital recovering from COVID.
So is his wife. So are five other staffers at the church.
Maybe the most interesting thing about this story is the paper trail reflecting the pastor’s rejecting of basic facts regarding the pandemic.
Paul Van Noy (above), who heads up Candlelight Christian Fellowship in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, said on Facebook on July 17 that it was “clearly and scientifically proven” that masks don’t protect you from COVID.
That’s not true. We knew the efficacy of masks long before July 17.
It has been clearly and scientifically proven that many masks do not aid in the prevention of Covid-19 transmission. Furthermore, the wearing of masks seems to provide most people an increased handling of the masks being worn — resulting in fingers and hands being the placed on the face which is a known taboo when trying to avoid the transmission of a virus or bacteria. Last time I checked, fingers, faces, and food are the leading causes of virus and bacteria transmission. Moreover, if masks are worn and capture infectious agents then they must be disposed of in hazardous waste receptacles in order to isolate the virus, etc. If we simply lay them on tables, desks, etc., dangle them from our ears, handle them again and again, and replace them over our faces without replacing the disposable style after each use and/or without thoroughly washing the reusable — and indeed washing our hands, we are scarcely minimizing the risk of spreading the virus.
It is true that Covid-19 cases are in escalation here in our community and that the virus is real. However, the panic to “stop the world” or mandate public compliance with less that free exercise is causing untold problems and pushback that will not be helpful.
I have said here at Candlelight, “If a person wants to wear a mask they should be allowed to do so. However, if they don’t, that’s ok too.” “If you like watching on-line and feel more comfortable (for the time being) that’s ok.” But, we need to keep our doors open, activities occurring, and fellowship active. Moreover, closing down churches, businesses, and services is certainly not the answer to the concerns.
May we keep our heads at a time like this. And, may we defend our freedoms lest they quickly disappear. We will not close down our church, we will not stop singing praises to the Lord, and we will not be required to wear masks or refrain from allowing those who wish to wear one the opportunity.
He doubled down on that ignorance the following week, saying that the church did not have to abide by the county’s mask mandate in part because it was not open to the public.
… The “order” also suggests that the application of the “order” applies to public places and defines “Public place” as “any place open to all members of the public without specific invitation…” Therefore, we note that Candlelight Christian Fellowship facilities are member owned and operated, are not “open to the public” and are not deemed a “Public Place.” We do maintain the right to refuse entry to non-members at our discretion. However, we do make “specific invitation” as suggested in the “order” to visitors, guests, and/or friends of members, to each service or activity held on our properties.
We at Candlelight are exercising our freedom, and the right to allow you as members, to come into the facilities without the obligation to observe the Panhandle Health District “order.” We are not suggesting you disobey your local, city, county, state, or federal laws. As your pastor I believe that would be sinful and wrong.
However, in this case, we can peacefully and biblically resist, without violation of the Godly standards we submit ourselves to.
Therefore, if you chose to wear a mask, physically distance, etc. we support your freedom to do so. If you choose to refrain from wearing a mask, etc. we likewise support your decision.
As recently as August 14, he was spreading right-wing lies about the virus because, apparently, there’s nothing in his faith that requires him to tell the truth.
Among the items on that list is one that says, “The curve is flattened, the CDC, WHO, Dr. Fauci, our governors, and many more were completely wrong about the potential threat of this virus.”
The virus has killed nearly 200,000 Americans. Calling it a “potential threat” at this point is beyond insane.
And then, earlier this week, his church released a statement saying that the pastor and his wife had contracted the virus and were recovering at home.
We are happy to report that Pastor Paul has shown improvement these last couple of days and Brenda is well on her way to full recovery. As most of you know, Pastor Paul Van Noy and his wife Brenda have contracted COVID-19. Your heartfelt prayers led by the Holy Spirit are coveted by Paul, Brenda and the staff at Candlelight. Again, we would like to send a word of thanks to each of you that have been praying.
Pastor’s COVID doctors and nurses are constantly monitoring him at Kootenai Medical. They are doing a fantastic job as they take care of Pastor Paul and the other patients in the COVID unit. We are so grateful and thankful for all the doctors, nurses and staff at Kootenai Medical risking their lives to save others. We pray the families of Kootenai staff stay safe and healthy.
Those doctors and nurses have to risk their lives because Paul Van Noy is making idiotic decisions in the name of Jesus and Sean Hannity (whichever one he’s worshiping at the moment).
The Spokesman-Review notes that five other church staffers have been infected with the virus.
Meanwhile, nobody who still works there has learned anything from this situation because the church is already opening up again this weekend — after shutting down for two weeks and going through a “deep cleaning” — and masks are still optional.
Candlelight’s stance on mask-wearing and social-distancing has not changed since Van Noys’ diagnosis.
When asked whether masks are mandated to attend services in compliance with state law, [church staffer Eric] Reade said, “No.”
“The position is, if you feel comfortable wearing a mask, you can. If you’re not comfortable wearing a mask, you don’t have to,” Reade said. “Nobody is going to be criticized for whatever decision they make.”
Jesus H. Christ, this isn’t a decision the people should be allowed to make. They absolutely should be criticized for not wearing a mask. No one should have the option of putting people at risk of getting infected with a deadly virus at a place where the pastor has been infected with a deadly virus.
Anyone selfish enough to refuse to wear a mask should be condemned and kicked out of the damn church.
But don’t expect these people to come to their senses. Just last week, they were offering prayers for their pastor outside the hospital… without social distancing and without masks. And later this month, they will be hosting a guest speaker: Charlie Kirk, the right-wing propagandist who spreads lies for a living.
I’ll ask this again: How many people have to die before these Christians admit they’re wrong?
My fear isn’t that the people making these irresponsible decisions will suffer; it’s that innocent people who briefly come into contact with them will ultimately catch the disease.
If nothing else, these reckless Christians aren’t bringing people to Christ, but they sure as hell are making a strong case for the existence of karma.
(Screenshot via YouTube. Thanks to everyone for the link)