A small but possibly growing COVID outbreak appears to have formed during a meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention last month in Nashville, Tennessee. Over 15,000 mostly conservative Christians gathered indoors, mostly without masks, and without any social distancing.
And since they’re conservative Christians, you can almost certainly bet a whole bunch of those people weren’t vaccinated.
Now a bunch of them may be paying the price for their COVIDiocy, according to the Tennessean:
About eight to 10 infections have been detected among attendees since the event in mid-June, which is enough to be classified as an COVID-19 cluster, said Metro Health epidemiologist Leslie Waller.
The cluster is almost certainly larger but difficult to measure because most attendees live outside of Tennessee, Waller said. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention have issued an alert asking health officials in other states to contact Metro Health if they discover more infections that trace back to the Baptist event.
“We have eight to 10 cases confirmed,” Waller said. “Do we assume there are more? Yes. Can we give you any idea as to how many more? No, we can’t.”
We live in the dumbest timeline. This was utterly avoidable but many of the same people who think vaccines are a political issue and who complain about sensible virus restrictions may now be responsible for another outbreak.
The irony is that the big takeaway from the event was that the SBC was moving in a more moderate direction. The big focus of the convention was really on who would be the next leader of the largest Protestant denomination in America. The two candidates who emerged were a man who represented a hard right shift and one who represented a more moderate tone.
The moderate, Ed Litton, won out. But as we’ve pointed out in the past, he’s not exactly a “moderate” in political terms. He’s only a moderate when compared to his far-right colleagues. Litton is a hard-core conservative in pretty much every way; he’s anti-abortion, anti-civil rights for LGBTQ people, pro-complementarian, etc. But he’s somewhat more sensitive than his colleagues when it comes to racism and sexism in the Christian world.
Calling Litton a moderate is like calling Rep. Liz Cheney an independent. When everyone else in the room is batshit crazy, saying a handful of sensible things makes you look pretty damn good… even though all your other views are still deplorable.
Anyway, none of this news about the COVID cluster is surprising. White evangelicals are the least likely religious group in the country to get vaccinated. Of course a whole bunch of them wouldn’t think twice about gathering in a giant group with other likely unvaccinated people.
Unfortunately, their irresponsibility means those attendees may now be spreading the virus — or a variant — back home. Because SBC leaders have done such an awful job overall of convincing church members to get their shots, even if some prominent members have openly received theirs, we’re all at their mercy.
As of now, even the SBC isn’t taking the next step to warn its members of any possible problems:
Jonathan Howe, a spokesman for the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, said the organization hadn’t alerted attendees and was working with city and state health officials to identify its next steps.
(Screenshot via YouTube)