Liberty University now has a COVID 19 problem

And Jerry Falwell Jr has a lot to answer for:

“We’ve lost the ability to corral this thing,” Dr. Thomas W. Eppes Jr. said he told Mr. Falwell. But he did not urge him to close the school. “I just am not going to be so presumptuous as to say, ‘This is what you should do and this is what you shouldn’t do,’” Dr. Eppes said in an interview.

So Mr. Falwell — a staunch ally of President Trump and an influential voice in the evangelical world — reopened the university last week, igniting a firestorm. As of Friday, Dr. Eppes said, nearly a dozen Liberty students were sick with symptoms that suggested Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus. Three were referred to local hospital centers for testing. Another eight were told to self-isolate.

Considering the nature of this virus, there are likely many more students infected by now. We all knew this was going to happen when Falwell made this decision, and so did the government leaders in Lynchburg:

The city of Lynchburg is furious. “We had a firestorm of our own citizens who said, ‘What’s going on?’” said Treney Tweedy, the mayor.

The mayor and city manager here, Bonnie Svrcek, felt relieved two weeks ago, when Mr. Falwell assured them that he fully intended to comply with Virginia’s public health directives and close the school to virtually all students, most of whom were scattering for spring break. Then he changed his mind.

“We think it’s irresponsible for so many universities to just say ‘closed, you can’t come back,’ push the problem off on other communities and sit there in their ivory towers,” Mr. Falwell said on Wednesday on a radio show hosted by Todd Starnes, a far-right conspiracy theorist. “We’re conservative, we’re Christian, and therefore we’re being attacked,” he said.

Michael Gillette, a former mayor of Lynchburg and a bioethicist now working with its hospitals on rationing scarce ventilators, disagrees.

“To argue that criticism of Liberty is based on political bias is unfounded and unreasonable,” he said. “Liberty just did not take this threat as seriously as others have.”

Of course Falwell blames it on political bias. That is standard operating procedure for conservatives when they are caught doing something monumentally stupid. And Falwell appears to have taken a chapter from Trump's book on assholishness by viciously attacking his critics on social media:

Mr. Falwell and his administration have worked to tamp down dissent. After a Liberty undergraduate, Calum Best, wrote on his personal Facebook page that students should receive refunds, he said Liberty’s spokesman, Scott Lamb, called his cellphone to berate him. Asked about the call, Mr. Lamb said he was simply objecting to an error in the post, and Mr. Best was “spinning.”

After Marybeth Davis Baggett, a professor, wrote an open letter asking the university’s board of trustees to close the campus, Mr. Falwell mocked her on Twitter as “the ‘Baggett’ lady.”

Jeff Brittain, a Liberty parent, wrote on Twitter: “I’m as right wing as they get, bud. But as a parent of three of your students, I think this is crazy, irresponsible and seems like a money grab.” Mr. Falwell replied, calling him a “dummy.”

I've got a message for Mr. Brittain: If you keep sending your kids to the school after this irresponsible episode, then you are a dummy.

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Jerry's foolish position had nothing to do with god, faith, politics, stupidity or conservatism....he simply didn't want to dole out any refunds. Money over lives or god....I wish he and those like him would just admit it. I'd have more respect.

I went to a Christian University (Campbell)

Three semesters of the Bible were required, one for the Old Testament and two for the New (if I remember correctly). But luckily I was on a satellite campus (Ft. Bragg) so I wasn't steeped in it daily. And the professors had a little bit more freedom to teach properly.

I was especially lucky that my English Comp professor was an old gay dude who had been exiled from the main campus. I owe that man a hell of a lot of my proficiency with the written word. I thought I could write well before that class, but I was (very) wrong.

Baptist fundamentalism

That's the environment I was raised in...escaped at 16 yrs old, never to return. The old testament is a horrid book imo. I hold to the new testament and the example of service and caring of Jesus' life. On the question if he was the son of god is irrelevant for me. :)

Evangelical churches spreading Covid-19 and people will die

I'm seeing reports around the web about evangelical churches going on with in-person services despite the risks.

A Tampa church was told by local police and officials they were in direct violation of local social distancing orders after they held services on Sunday and were filled to capacity. The church feels it's an "essential service" and can put its parishioners in danger.

A megachurch in Baton Rouge, Louisiana drew 1,000 worshippers Sunday; Tony Spell, the pastor at the church, says that the virus is a hoax that is "politically motivated".

Reuters has a story on a French megachurch that went on with mass gatherings despite restrictions and warnings in mid-February.

The prayer meeting kicked off the biggest cluster of COVID-19 in France - one of northern Europe’s hardest-hit countries - to date, local government said. Around 2,500 confirmed cases have been linked to it. Worshippers at the church have unwittingly taken the disease caused by the virus home to the West African state of Burkina Faso, to the Mediterranean island of Corsica, to Guyana in Latin America, to Switzerland, to a French nuclear power plant, and into the workshops of one of Europe’s biggest automakers.

Personally, I couldn't give a rat's ass if evangelicals have a death wish and want to throw themselves off a cliff because of their imaginary daddy-protector in the sky.

But these deluded fools are putting everyone in danger - not just in their own flock, but in their larger community, state, and even internationally, as they become carriers of this quickly-spreading disease.

I'd like to see some science types tracking stories and websites about churches and religious organizations like this nationally. And I'd like to see state and local leaders shutting down this behavior now. Many lives depend on it.

For far too long, evangelicals have put others in danger with their cries of religious freedom - many women, gays, and ethnic minorities have been harmed or died because of it.

Shut them down. We don't need to be harmed or killed by some nutcase's personal death wishes and hatred.