You knew this day was coming.
For months now, we’ve been talking about the COVID denial of Pastor John MacArthur of Grace Community Church in California. This is the person who openly celebrated the lack of social distancing and face masks in his congregation, once telling a packed house, “the good news is you’re here, you’re not distancing, and you’re not wearing masks.” In August, he falsely claimed, “There is no pandemic.” He’s currently involved in an embittered, ongoing legal battle with state authorities for continuing to hold large church services without restrictions.
Well, guess what?
At least three confirmed cases of COVID have now been traced back to his church, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
With a church that large, there are likely to be more.
Public health officials are investigating the outbreak and said they will work closely with the church to help limit transmission of the coronavirus in the church, which has an estimated attendance of 7,000. The county did not provide any further details about whether the cases were confirmed among staff or worshipers. Attorneys for Grace Community Church did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Remember that, this whole time, MacArthur has painted himself as a persecuted martyr, punished by the government for continuing to hold large worship services. Turns out there was a good reason for that “persecution”: The coronavirus is real. It’s dangerous. And holding in-person, indoor services while rejecting face masks and social distancing is the fastest way to spread it.
The most frustrating thing about this is how preventable it was.
MacArthur’s actions weren’t noble or brave, but selfish and inexcusable. He cared more about boosting his public image than caring for the safety and well-being of his congregants.
There’s no telling how many people will be paying the price for it with their lives. If they do, it won’t just be the members of the church who are at risk; it’s everyone they’re in contact with.