The gift of Easter

Oh, boy, Easter is this weekend! Aren’t you all excited and looking forward to it? When I was a kid, it was all chocolate bunnies and easter eggs, and we didn’t even think about the religious side of it. I think we might have gone to church services a few times, but that wasn’t something to be happy about, it was kind of a drag.

Now, though, I’m dreading it. A lot of Christians think Easter is a great excuse, even an obligation, to gather together in large groups and infect each other. I think we might even be able to predict a blip in the COVID-19 statistics 2-3 weeks after this weekend. God won’t save you because your purpose is pious, and he certainly won’t save me if you spew more viral particles around in the grocery store to infect me. Stay home. Go into your little closet and pray alone. Please.

We already know that a significant number of COVID-19 cases in South Korea can be traced directly to the Shincheonji cult, and their stealthy habits of congregating to infect each other, and then infiltrating other churches to recruit new members.

South Korea has been remarkably effective and efficient in controlling the disease, it’s sad that their efforts were being undermined by religious fanatics (Daegu, by the way, is where my daughter-in-law is from. Lovely city.)

What’s even sadder, though, are the gormless missionaries who are taking advantage of the idiot president of Brazil’s policies to actively seek out remote indigenous people and kill them with disease. In a time of pandemic, we’re all told to stay-in-place to inhibit transmission of the virus, which makes sense, but these clueless twits are doing the opposite, and charging off to assault uncontacted native tribes with the Lord’s Plague, and also the Lord’s useless Holy Book.

Just like Trump, Bolsonaro has appointed many such fundamentalists to important positions in his government. These appointments include placing evangelical former missionary Ricardo Lopes Dias at the head of the National Indigenous Foundation (FUNAI), Brazil’s governmental agency charged with overseeing the interests of Indigenous populations. In an attempt to quell controversy over his appointment, Dias has said, “I don’t see this as a mission or an opportunity to find new converts.” And yet American missionaries smell an opportunity.

Representatives of the missionary organization Ethnos360, until recently known as New Tribes Mission, “arrived in the Deni Indigenous Territory in Acre state in late February” and acquired a helicopter for the purpose of making contact with uncontacted tribes, according to reporting by Sue Branford for Yes! Magazine. Headed by Larry M. Brown and a member of the Forum of Bible Agencies International (along with better known organizations like the Jesus Film Project and Wycliffe Global Alliance), Ethnos360 focuses on converting “unreached groups.” It also happens to be precisely the organization with which Dias was an active missionary from 1997-2007.

They’re doing more than flouting common sense and reason, they are breaking the law while Bolsonaro looks the other way.

To be sure, Ethnos360’s drive to reach uncontacted peoples contravenes standing FUNAI policy. It’s also certainly a violation of international law, and it arguably falls afoul of the 1988 Brazilian Constitution itself. Unfortunately, it seems unlikely that Dias will move against his former organization. And as for Bolsonaro, he once casually remarked, with truly stunning bigotry, “It’s a shame that the Brazilian cavalry wasn’t as efficient as the Americans, who exterminated their Indians.” He may well allow uncontacted groups to be wiped out by missionary zealots.

Sometimes I think the real plague isn’t a physical virus or bacterium, it’s the mind virus of religion that leads people to do real harm with a smug smile on their face and a hymn in their hearts.


  1. Akira MacKenzie says

    And as for Bolsonaro, he once casually remarked, with truly stunning bigotry, “It’s a shame that the Brazilian cavalry wasn’t as efficient as the Americans, who exterminated their Indians.”

    That’s rich considering a few months back he compared North American and European criticism of him allowing business interests burn burning down the rain forests to colonialism.

    Since when has “triggering the libs” been a national policy goal?

  2. raven says

    71 infected with coronavirus at Sacramento church. Congregation tells county ‘leave us alone’

    One church in Sacramento County is now the epicenter of a major outbreak of coronavirus, and frustrated county officials say church leaders are refusing to listen to their demands to stop fellowship meetings.

    Seventy-one members of the Bethany Slavic Missionary Church near Rancho Cordova or people associated with congregation members have been afflicted with the virus, county officials say, making this one of the larger outbreak clusters in the country. One parishioner has died, officials said, and the pastor is sick.

    The churches have already been centers of Covid-19 spread.
    This Slavic fundie church in Sacramento has 71 infected people, one of whom has died and several more in the hospital.
    They aren’t being very cooperative with the county health authorities.

    “County health officials said this week that one-third of coronavirus cases in Sacramento are tied to religious organizations.”

    The vast majority of US xian churches are actually cooperating with anti-Covid-19 rules.
    You can be sure that some of the fundie xian churches that aren’t are going to be infected by Covid-19.

  3. raven says

    80% of NYC’s coronavirus patients who are put on ventilators ultimately die, and some doctors are trying to stop using them
    Sinéad Baker Business Insider

    This is almost on topic and worth knowing.

    Some doctors are rethinking their ventilator strategy.
    Some patients may benefit from high oxygen levels and lower positive pressures and/or less invasive type devices.

    This is truly a very dangerous virus.
    Some people are killed and some of the survivors are maimed, i.e. they have permanent lung or heart damage.

  4. Sean Boyd says

    …the gormless missionaries who are taking advantage of the idiot president of Brazil’s policies to actively seek out remote indigenous people and kill them with disease.

    The modern-day version of blankets laden with smallpox.

  5. brightmoon says

    I already spend a lot of very frustrating time arguing with these morons over evolution and to see them willfully being stupid because they hate mainstream science so much I’m just speechless.

  6. chigau (違う) says

    In Medieval Europe lepers had to carry a bell to let people know they were “unclean”.
    We could look into that.

  7. anxionnat says

    I’ve never seen a clearer demonstration of the assertion that “religion kills.”

  8. billseymour says

    Not the topic of the main post, but:

    Daegu, by the way, is where my daughter-in-law is from.

    During the Vietnam war, I was stationed at K-2 Air Base just outside of Taegu (the English transliteration that was common at the time). A group of us used to visit an orphanage called, IIRC, Urini Chip (Children’s Home). This was in 1969, so the kids we played with would be well into their fifties by now, some in their sixties.

    I have fond memories of that.

  9. wzrd1 says

    @1, I’ll happily volunteer my targeting skills for the natives. I never did learn how to miss, especially on long distance targets, regardless of weapon type.
    And for once, I see some bastards that fully deserve such treatment.

    @4, don’t remind me. Been short of breath, but not from any infection, due to LVH secondary to Grave’s disease hypertension. Another symptom of Grave’s is “irritability”, which is an understatement akin to referring to the London Blitz as a “bit of trouble”.

    @5, there is some suggestion that some cases may well be cytokine storm complicated, but hanged if I can find a clear and rapid test to ascertain that such a condition is in progress. The immune system literally overreacts in such a severe manner as to be far, far, far worse than the infection.

    @6, I tend to skim when reading, my initial skim resulted in seeing “bin Laden with smallpox blankets”, which is oddly appropriate.

    @9, now that is precedent! As in a legal stance that may well be actionable. :)

    @11, the worst thing the Jehovah Witlesses ever did was knock on my door on any day. I’d use their own texts to undermine their slavish devotion and the losses were terrific! So, they did what seemed wise to them, they sent elders. The attrition was phenomenal. Phenomenal enough that they simply avoided the entire street. :D

    Well, off to ready my Easter Egg hunt, should be easy, given that they’ll remain uncooked and inside of their carton.

  10. wzrd1 says

    Grrr, has anyone seen my copy of Vogon love poems? I’ll be needing them on Sunday.

  11. captainjack says

    @9, @13
    I suggested to the Satanic Temple they should apply for assistance under the SBA COVID relief program. No reply yet.

  12. chigau (違う) says

    I really hate being referred to by a number.
    How hard is it to copy/paste a nym?

  13. William George says

    @12 billseymour:

    I was stationed at K-2 Air Base just outside of Taegu

    Is that where Daegu Airport is today?

  14. says

    I staunchly defend the rights of fundie churches to hold mass gatherings. Let them carry inside as much food and altar wine as they can manage to cram in their suitcases.

    Then nail the doors shut for a month.

  15. JoeBuddha says

    Exempting Churches. What do these idiots think social distancing is FOR???? It’s like they refuse to understand. It’s like those “stomping on my FREEDUMB!!!” folx. Willful idiots.

  16. WhiteHatLurker says

    Kentucky will ticket church goers.

    What we’re asking is for you to love your neighbor as yourself. We shouldn’t have to do this.