In Completely Unforeseeable Coincidence, Anti-Vaccine Church Hit By Measles Outbreak
God works in mysterious ways, doesn't He? Far more mysterious ways than the measles virus does, at least -- we know a hell of a lot about the virus, like how to inoculate people against it. But God, He's mysterious, and one of His earthly servants, Kenneth Copeland, is not a fan of vaccines,instead urging his flock to "teach our children to eat right" as part of "God's health and wellness plan." (And yes, in that video, Copeland promotes the completely discredited notion that vaccines cause autism.)
Big surprise: Copeland's church is at the center of a measles outbreak that has infected at least 10 people in Tarrant County, Texas. As another famous Texan said, oops.
The Dallas Morning News says that Copeland's megachurch released a statement Tuesday explaining that a "visitor" to the church had been exposed to measles on an overseas trip:
Eagle Mountain International Church, about 50 miles northwest of Dallas, released a statement Tuesday that said a visitor attended a service who had been overseas and was exposed to measles.
“Therefore the congregation, staff at Kenneth Copeland Ministries and the daycare center on the property were exposed through that contact,” the statement said.
Al Roy, spokesman for the county’s Public Health Department, said the 10 cases are connected and the department has “been working with individuals who attend the church.”
In what appears to be first-time concern for vaccination, the church offered two free vaccination clinics so that parents could add a little extra to God's natural protection from disease. The Dallas Observer notes that Copeland's daughter, Terri Copeland Pearsons, had to do some "nifty theological footwork ... as she struggled to explain how believers should trust their health to both God and medical professionals."
"There are a lot of people that think the Bible -- we talk about walking by faith -- it leaves out things such as, I don't know, people just get strange. But when you read the Old Testament, you find that it is full of precautionary measures, and it is full of the law.
"Why did the Jewish people, why did they not die out during the plague? Because the Bible told them how to be clean, told them how to disinfect, told them there was something contagious. And the interesting thing of it, it wasn't a medical doctor per se who took care of those things, it was the priesthood. It was the ministers, it was those who knew how to take the promises of God as well as the commandments of God to take care of things like disinfection and so forth....
"Many of the things that we have in medical practice now actually are things you can trace back into scripture. It's when we find out what's in the scripture that we have wisdom."
Translation: All that stuff about the dangers of vaccines causing autism that my dad was spouting a couple of years ago? A closer read of the Bible has revealed that God wants you to be healthy, so go get vaccinated, and then when the vaccine works, that's God taking care of you. Bye!