Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the MAGA movement and far-right Christian fundamentalists have downplayed its severity — inspiring critics to slam MAGA as a suicidal "death cult." Christian fundamentalist Joy Pullmann, in a shocking op-ed published by the far-right website The Federalist on the day of Gen. Colin Powell's death, argues that Christians should welcome death from COVID-19, like any other cause of death, as "a good thing." And she attacks the "pagan assumptions" of those who argue in favor of widespread vaccination.
"For Christians, death is good," Pullmann writes. "Yes, death is also an evil — its existence is a result of sin. But thanks be to God, Jesus Christ has redeemed even death. In his resurrection, Christ has transformed death into a portal to eternal life for Christians…. The Christian faith makes it very clear that death, while sad to those left behind and a tragic consequence of human sin, is now good for all who believe in Christ."
Of course, not all Christians share Pullmann's view that the deaths of the COVID-19 pandemic — which has killed more than 4.9 million people worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore — are "a good thing." Countless Catholic and Mainline Protestant churches have tried to keep their members alive by encouraging vaccination, protective face masks and social distancing. And pastors in the African Methodist Episcopal Church have gone out of their way to help people in the Black community find COVID-19 vaccines.
But as Pullmann sees it, churches that have encouraged social distancing and tried to prevent their members from dying from COVID-19 have behaved sinfully.
Pullmann writes, "To forsake assembling for worship also breaks the Third Commandment, 'Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy'…. It is time for Christians individually and corporately to repent for the way we and our institutions responded to the COVID-19 outbreak. Our refusal to preach and obey the clear teachings of the Bible amid the world's panic have betrayed Our Lord. Thanks be to God, there's a way out for us."
Pullmann argues, "Our Christian heritage also rejects the avoidance of death at any cost by venerating the millions of martyrs we honor precisely for choosing to confess Christ despite the indescribable costs to them of comfort, health and life itself."
The fact that Pullmann is essentially encouraging reckless or even suicidal behavior in her article was not lost on David Futrelle, who publishes the blog We Hunted the Mammoth. In his blog, Futrelle writes, "MAGA truly is a death cult, though it's rare for anyone on that side to admit it outright. Enter The Federalist, which today published a piece by its executive editor with the utterly un-ironic headline 'For Christians, Dying From COVID (Or Anything Else) Is A Good Thing.' And she means it."
Slamming Pullmann for attacking the motivation behind taking vaccines as "pagans," Futrelle writes, "If you're not supposed to take the vaccine because, I guess, God wants you dead, why not just go hog wild and do whatever you want whenever you want because it's all God's will? Then again, maybe Pullmann is wrong about the vaccines. Instead of being a challenge to God's omnipotence, what if the vaccines are part of God's plan? Couldn't God have created the vaccines in order for us to use them to protect ourselves and others?.... Her take on COVID is certainly as reckless as telling children to play in traffic."
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