Retreat, rebuke, recite : outliers in church responses to the COVID-19 pandemic
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The article considers atypical responses to the COVID-19 pandemic by Christian leaders. In a three-fold classification it first identifies a retreat from civic life in resistance to lock-down restrictions on places of worship, demanding reopening on extreme readings of rights of religious freedom, and refusal of mandatory mask-wearing. A second classification groups as ‘rebuke’ spiritual warfare approaches within the prosperity gospel tradition that take the virus to be demonic, from which there is a promise to be claimed of God’s protection and healing. A third classification gathers a range of conspiracy theories recited by Christian preachers. In evaluating the responses, a parallel classification of entombing conspiracies, endorsing public health measures, and engaging in civic life is proposed. Drawing upon the common good as a theological critique it is concluded that extremist Christian views present a danger to global public health.
Stoddart , E 2021 , ' Retreat, rebuke, recite : outliers in church responses to the COVID-19 pandemic ' , Practical Theology , vol. 14 , no. 1-2 , pp. 8-21 . https://doi.org/10.1080/1756073X.2020.1860549
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