A bible covered in bacteria
Health officials say the missionaries are acting irresponsibly and might completely wipe out the uncontacted tribes they visit.

Christian missionaries aren't ready to let a global pandemic keep them from spreading the word of Jesus to the world’s most remote tribes.

Arizona-based Ethnos360 is still planning on flying it's brand new helicopter to supply operations in remote western Brazil, a move that will “open the door to reach ten additional people groups living in extreme isolation” and potentially rip a page right out of the historical playbook of transferring infectious respiratory diseases onto highly susceptible populations that want little to do with their god in the first place.

The experts agree.

“Traveling for unnecessary purposes right now is completely irresponsible behavior,” explains infectious disease biologist Jessie Abbate. Traveling to remote communities, meanwhile, would “knowingly exposing a population to a disease that they would otherwise be protected against by their culture of isolation from other humans.”

Uncontacted Tribes at Risk

Poor testing infrastructure means there are only 621 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the vast South-American nation, although it's not hard to imagine potentially high death rates amongst the natives given prior exposure to measles and malaria.

The region of western Brazil has the highest number of uncontacted tribes in the world.

While unsolicited interaction with these people remains a technical violation of Brazil's constitution, the recent appointment of evangelical missionary Ricardo Lopez Dias to head up the government's indigenous affairs signals a potential thawing of these laws in order to open up lands for farming and mining. Dias spent ten years as a missionary for New Tribes mission, the precursor to Ethnos360, which continues to maintain additional operations in remote regions of Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, and the Pacific.

Self-Isolation Goes Out the Window

Faced with a near-global lockdown, Ethnos360 continues to operate all flights and hasn't updated its travel restrictions. But other missionaries have started to come home.

In fact, some 1,600 Mormon missionaries returned to Salt Lake City from their posts in South Korea and the Philippines, but decided to kick off their upcoming 14-day self-quarantine by greeting hordes of relatives at the airport, ignoring airport guidelines to limit family members to “two per missionary” waiting in their cars.

Even the nation’s most prominent Mormon, Mitt Romney, couldn't hide his disappointment.

“This is irresponsible,” he began. “Please pick up your missionary from the airport alone and help them strictly follow self-quarantine procedures for their first 14 days at home. We need to work together to keep our communities safe.”

God’s Work?

Still, as some missionaries come home, others set out for what is a needlessly dangerous mission. The remote tribes in the Amazon would be all but decimated if even one tribe member contracts coronavirus. And because of inadequate testing nationwide and the fact that coronavirus can be transmitted before one even knows they have it, it’s entirely possible the missionaries could wipe out those they intend to save.

What is it about doing 'God's work' that makes some so careless about the health of others?

28 comments

  1. The Rev. Dr. Marion Ceruti's Avatar The Rev. Dr. Marion Ceruti

    Missionaries should postpone their trips until after the virus is contained and until the threat is no worse than that of any other pathogen. When trips resume, their equipment and materials must be cleaned to remove the virus, if any. Trips to remote areas are always risky, as there is no quick access to EMTs & hospitals. Missionaries want the trips more than the remote tribes. The tribes may already have their own religion and don't need a new one.

  1. Tom's Avatar Tom

    Another example of religious ego not giving a damn about indigenous people...organized religions just want numbers; they are almost soulless...Peace...Tom

    1. Rev StarShine's Avatar Rev StarShine

      Agreed

  1. Wen's Avatar Wen

    The arrogance is mind boggling.

  1. Karu's Avatar Karu

    I think that christian missionaries have done more than enough damage and death to indigenous people all over the world in the last 2000+ years. Time to stay home and mind their own affairs and stop proselytizing.

    1. Rob's Avatar Rob

      very well said.

  1. Robert A Stiff's Avatar Robert A Stiff

    Organized religion is, and always has been, a cancer upon civilization. Christianity is an especially noxious version of that contagion.

  1. Rodney Knight's Avatar Rodney Knight

    Nothing new here the Catholic missionary's did the same thing when they came to the new world

    1. Karu's Avatar Karu

      Not to mention the old world -- the peoples of the Baltic and Northern Europe were subject to the same convert or die mentality.

  1. the People's Project 5's Avatar the People's Project 5

    Murder by missionaries. Their time would be best spent in prayer.

    1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      Yes, staying home and speaking to a wall, floor, or ceiling to an imaginary being will best help with social distancing and keep the virus from spreading. I’m all for it.

      🦁❤️

  1. Val Jester's Avatar Val Jester

    This current pandemic has nothing to do with this issue although it illuminates the more important issue. An isolated society will be susceptible to any number of pathogens that could prove fatal. I have had questions for several years as to whether it is within the scope of the great commission to contact these isolated and primitive people.

    1. Catherine Ohrin-Greipp's Avatar Catherine Ohrin-Greipp

      What is primitive is the arrogance of non native people who actually believe their way is the only way and that they are more "civilized." Right.

  1. Sara Lizabeth Rawlins's Avatar Sara Lizabeth Rawlins

    Not everyone has a need for Jesus in their life and if missionaries would quit spreading their interpretation of what the Gospels say, life for these people can go on without the possibility of them dying just so these missionaries can feel good. There is no guarantee that any of them will go to Heaven, especially the missionaries.

  1. Stephanie Conte's Avatar Stephanie Conte

    In the year 2020, I cannot fathom how people still believe mission work is responsible. It is one think to visit a location to provide health care and build essential resources like wells for water, but to push any faith on groups of people who have been living their lives happily is a disgrace. How well did that work for the North American and Latin American natives? What about the Indians during British imperialism? How about the continent of Africa? Perhaps we should consider the Boxer Rebellion in China? Missionaries may believe they are doing God’s work, however, perhaps we should consider that living and let live is His/Her work, too. History has shown us time and time again that people DO NOT want foreigners, particularly westerners, coming into their territory, telling them their faith is wrong and they will end up in hell unless they convert. I am aware this is not ALL missionary work is; I am well aware there are plenty of GOOD PEOPLE engaging in this work, and I applaud these individuals. Please remember to place yourself in the shoes of those you are trying to convert. Would YOU want missionaries of a different religion coming in to your world and uprooting your belief system?

  1. Stephanie Conte's Avatar Stephanie Conte

    Regarding the pandemic: despite my personal beliefs about missionary work, I think it is unwise to continue to engage in it at this time. We know this virus is HIGHLY contagious, and if the intention is to try and save lives through conversion, then PHYSICALLY saving lives and putting this work on hold needs to be considered. I can’t imagine that, if those historical individuals of the Bible were alive today, they would encourage followers to “spread the Word” considering they would also be spreading the virus and risking lives. It’s absolutely irresponsible.

  1. Donna Mayotte's Avatar Donna Mayotte

    delusional in every way

  1. Rev StarShine's Avatar Rev StarShine

    Be ye not fooled; God is not mocked. The very purpose of the visit is to lay the foundation to decimate the remote population, in order to steal their lands! And to brainwash them, imho.

  1. Richard Lee Cornell's Avatar Richard Lee Cornell

    Those tribes have had enougn of the white man and their teaching. Come to them and your forest food.

  1. dragonlord3759's Avatar dragonlord3759

    I just have one thing to say about this, it is something George Carlin once said, religion is like a lift in your shoe its fine if you need a lift in your shoe but we don't need to be going around nailing lifts onto every native feet we come across. That is my take on it also. love and peace to all good night may you all be safe and healthy

  1. arawngraalrd's Avatar arawngraalrd

    Missionaires should not be leaving their stations, until we're through the expected rush. When we return to isolated tribes, we should bring vaccines to our faithful friendlies, so they can carry the virus safely to the unfriendlies. It's not that bad a flu, killing only 3% of the village elders on its first pass but, once it reaches an inbred population, Everybody's going to suffer.

  1. Rev. Jonathan Peebles's Avatar Rev. Jonathan Peebles

    Apparently they need there God no matter if it kills them or not at least they might go to our heaven if you happen to believe that but I was told we get a choice even though most Christians don't put that into account as usual...

  1. Stephen Andrew Chiverton's Avatar Stephen Andrew Chiverton

    As the bible says that murder is a no go giving a deadly infection to people who have no way of protecting them self from it even with them saying it is God's will never saw the verse that said bring them to me though death as it's my will yea it's good to pray and show people the love to God but theres a time for it and now is not the time to do it my thoughts and prayers are for the poor villagers who have no chance to protect themselves from the world of man do good help people who are old, DISABLED or unable to go out give them food so they can eat make them see that the lords love is there instead of possibly killing non got fearing tribes

  1. Khale M Lucin's Avatar Khale M Lucin

    They be detained if they proceed,an they will be given a federal charged as terrorists,,then after I'm done informing them of tring use the savior an cover to spread an biological agent ups the ante to it sounding like this-You are here by being hereby held as a domestic religious terrorism cell charges attempting the murders of ex-amount of peaple 2 using a biologic agent 3. terrorist threats 4.travelling across international waters to commit genecide,5 stepping on foreign soil as a agent of terror bypassing articals of peace installed to protect foreign an domestic policys.inciting war

  1. Khale M Lucin's Avatar Khale M Lucin

    I can say the last comment to be true cause I work within global security an according to 2/3of the world a great officiant of the u.l.c

  1. Norma Battes's Avatar Norma Battes

    Missionaries should go to the most highly infected areas of the world like Italy, and spread the gospel to the infected and dying so they see the light of God and go to heaven. Then go back to their congregations and tell everyone how many souls they saved.

    Yeah, that’s what I think.

  1. Rev. Dennis's Avatar Rev. Dennis

    This self righteousness is how to repeat history in wiping out entire civilizations. I don't understand why people think this is ok in the middle of a pandemic (or any other time actually). You are forcing your beliefs on others typically through manipulation.

  1. Paul J. Fumero's Avatar Paul J. Fumero

    Missionaries are insane blind people.

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