Controversial Christian church is waging war against COVID-19 measures – The Hill

The story at a glance

  • The Idaho-based Christ Church is waging war on state public health measures even as the state said in September it was rationing health care statewide because patients seriously ill with COVID-19 were overwhelming hospitals.
  • Idaho has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, with 50% of its residents vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • Christ Church pastor Douglas Wilson spread virus conspiracy theories in his widely read blog and encouraged readers to forge “vaccine passports”.

Controversial Christian church in Idaho pushes back against state mask and COVID-19 vaccination mandates, joining other far-right groups in fight against virus-related measures they call overshoot of the government.

Ultraconservative Christ Church, founded in Moscow, Idaho, in the 1990s, has waged a campaign against COVID-19 measures that includes in-person protests, spreading misinformation online and encouraging disobedience civil society through the media channels it possesses. The church seeks to increase its influence in Idaho to pursue its goal of creating a theocracy in America, The Guardian reported.

Idaho is one of the least vaccinated states in the United States, with approximately 50% of its residents vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the Mayo Clinic. Idaho health officials said last month they were statewide health care rationing due to an influx of COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalization.

Christ Church pastor Douglas Wilson decried mask and vaccination mandates on his blogcatching the attention of more traditional conservative leaders, including former President Trump, who promoted one of the Church’s anti-mask protests on Twitter while his account was still active, according to The Guardian.


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On his blog, Wilson also weaved conspiracy theories about public health restrictions and encouraged his readers to forge “vaccination passports.”

“I believe the ruling elites are fighting, trying to stir up trouble, and doing so so they can justify truly repressive measures,” he wrote in a post during the summer.

In another posthe wrote that government and health authorities “want to be in charge of every detail of human existence. They crave control and power. They are totalitarians in spirit. He also told readers to appeal for a religious exemption from vaccination.

Wilson’s Church is just one of several right-wing groups fight against masks and vaccines across the country through misinformation and public protests.

The John Birch Society, a far-right group that once vehemently supported segregation and believed Communists were poisoning Americans with fluoride, has organized protests against mask mandates in schools. In New York, the New York Watchmen, formed last year in response to protests against police brutality, have supported anti-mask, vaccine and containment measures.

Other conservative figures, like Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, have also encouraged Americans to reject vaccine mandates. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx.) criticized the “ambitious” vaccination policies of the Biden administration, despite having been vaccinated himself.

Still, other conservative leaders have pushed back against vaccine skepticism, and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), a childhood polio survivor, has openly supported COVID-19 vaccination.


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Posted on November 10, 2021

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