When historians chronicle the coronavirus pandemic, perhaps the most nauseating anecdote apart from Donald Trump’s incompetent response is the number of churches that stayed open even when it was clear doing so was reckless and dangerous. Several pastors railed about how governments had no right to tell them where they can worship–especially when the government was headed by a librul. To them, it was just another Democrat/deep state/globalist strategy to shut down the churches.
You would have thought, though, that even without limits on mass gatherings, the sheer number of outbreaks that could be traced directly to a church’s doorstep would make them see reason. These outbreaks have been widely reported in both the secular and Christian media. Surely this would have served notice that no amount of precautions would be enough to overcome the inherent risks of putting people in close quarters for an hour or more, right?
Well, we may have a ready explanation. According to a regular columnist for one of the largest Christian magazines in the country, the wave of enhanced social distancing measures that had most of the country locked down for parts of two months are nothing more than a demonic trick.
In his latest column for Charisma magazine, self-proclaimed “prophetic messenger” John Burton claimed that there was “a spiritual force” driving the wave of stay-at-home orders and restrictions on mass gatherings. Burton claimed that for all the merits of these measures as a way to slow the spread of the virus, they were actually part of “a strategic demonic strategy” intended to gag churches and “shut up a prophetic generation.” He likened it to how prophets hid in the caves in Elijah’s time.
As Burton saw it, the calls to “flatten the curve” are nothing more than a strategy to convince “blood-bought Christians to cower, to willingly hide, (and) to embrace restrictions.” He claimed that people were “laying down their assignments and ‘sheltering in place'” while the devil mounts an all-out assault. He even went as far to say that a “hiding, relaxing, cowering church” was actually working with “a soothing, seducing spirit.”
Just in case Burton hadn’t made himself clear, he used the latest edition of his podcast, “The Furnace,” to expand on it. Watch here.
Burton claimed that there was “a supernatural force” behind the lockdowns. He argued that while there was no spirit named “lockdown,” he believed there was definitely a demonic strategy–one possibly executed by “a horde of demonic spirits.” He claimed that if the devil can convince us to “flee into our caves and focus on natural survival,” he can gain more ground.
Reading Burton and listening to him, it’s hard to see much difference between him and the people who swarmed the beaches during spring break in Florida, claiming that they weren’t running away from the virus. It was apparent then, and even more so now, that they were potentially spreading the virus. After all, the great majority of people who catch this virus are asymptomatic carriers who don’t even know they have it–and can potentially pass it on to someone who can catch it. And the risk is especially great for those who are elderly or have compromised immune systems.
It was no coincidence that we saw an explosion of stay-at-home orders in the weeks after spring break, when all those spring breakers fanned out across the country. This virus is so contagious that one person could potentially cause anywhere from two to six people to get sick–an unsustainable rate for any health care system. That’s why “flatten the curve” has become part of the national lexicon–to keep our hospitals from being overwhelmed and prevent repeats of what happened in Italy and Spain.
Within days of spring break ending, a number of spring breakers expressed regret for their cavalier attitude, particularly after some of them got sick. The fact that Burton is still wailing about social distancing being some sort of demonic strategy even now, when we know how deadly this virus can get, is the height of irresponsibility. And given that he has likely delivered this message in private to pastors who follow him, it’s very possible that he may be responsible for outbreaks in churches.
We should also be asking Charisma founder and publisher Steve Strang some hard questions. It’s hard to expect much from a guy who allowed raving anti-Semite Rick Wiles to spew his bile in the interest of equal time. But suggesting that we’re being rooked into a demonic strategy by staying home isn’t just wrong, it’s dangerous.
No responsible publisher would give a platform to such garbage. Shame on Burton for writing this. And shame on Strang for publishing it.
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