February 07, 2018

Resist The Flu

One of Trump’s evangelical advisors claims Jesus can protect from flu

by Chris Thomas

If the President wants some precise military drill to liven up his afternoon, the Blue Angels will be happy to indulge him. Photo by David Treadwell

Most Presidents in the modern era have a Faith Advisory Council but President Trump’s seems to be pulling double duty as scientific advisors. Gloria Copeland, an evangelical megachurch-pastor and a member of Trump’s Faith Advisory Council recently told followers, in a video message, that they should “inoculate [themselves] with the word of God” rather than getting a flu shot. “Jesus himself gave us the flu shot,” she said, “He redeemed us from the curse of flu.”

While many Americans believe that Jesus died on a cross for their sins, the idea that he did so to provide immunity to the A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1) influenza virus is… well, let’s go with a little suspect.

If you or your kids haven’t had a flu shot, now is a really good time to get one. They are often free or available at very low cost and they can literally save your life. That’s not to say that there is anything wrong with religious conviction, but if religious faith were a suitable substitute for modern medical care then the Black Death of the 14th century probably wouldn’t have wiped out better than 30% of Europe’s hyper-religious population.

Influenza isn’t the Black Death but it’s no joke either. Since October 1, 2017 nearly 15,000 people in the United States have been hospitalized with influenza and 53 children have died from the disease including 16 in the past week. Telling people that they don’t need or shouldn’t get a flu shot because “We’ve got a duck season, a deer season, but we don’t have a flu season” is irresponsible and it’s going to get someone killed.

That there are people out there who believe in this sort of thing is unsurprising. That they have the ear of the President of the United States is, frankly, terrifying. Besides calling for a whopping 17% cut in funding for the Centers for Disease Control, President Trump is also well known as a vaccine conspiracy theorist. While he has backed off of his “vaccines cause autism” (they don’t) claims as of late, his and his administration’s willingness to lend support to anti-scientific thinking puts the public health at risk.

Protect yourself. Protect your kids. Get vaccinated.

Tell Congress What You Think

The President has the right to surround himself with whatever advisors he likes but that doesn’t mean that Congress has to stay silent on the issue. You can write to your Representatives and Senators on this or any other topic by texting RESIST to 50409. You can also use Resistbot on Facebook Messenger, Telegram, or Twitter.

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