Nurse holding coronavirus test
As the deadly coronavirus threatens to spread worldwide, one evangelical pastor claims it's an angry message sent directly from God. 

The Bible says in the Old Testament that ten plagues were inflicted on the Egyptians by God as punishment for enslaving the Israelites.

With the coronavirus outbreak continuing to expand around the globe, one evangelical pastor insists that we are now seeing an eleventh plague – a punishment from God for humanity’s sins.

Pastor Rick Wiles is the host of an online show called “TruNews,” a faith-focused news program in which stories are presented through a fundamentalist Christian lens. During a program segment earlier this week, Wiles called the coronavirus is God’s “death angel,” and insisted it is a “genuine plague” that has been sent down to earth as retaliation for “transgendering little children” – among many other supposed sins.   

Those who are “right with God” have nothing to fear, Wiles insists. But for nonbelievers, it’s another story:

Godless Country

Why did the virus begin in China? Wiles has a theory for that too. He says China was specifically targeted because it’s a “godless communist government that persecutes Christians,” and carries out “forced abortions.”

China has notoriously cracked down on religious freedom in recent years, including destroying Christian churches, and putting over a million Muslims in “re-education camps.”

But Wiles seems to think all the world’s sinners are at risk, and apparently the United States has no shortage of sins ready to be cleansed:

“Look at the spiritual rebellion in this country — the hatred of God, the hatred of the Bible, the hatred of righteousness. There are vile, disgusting people in this country now, transgendering little children, perverting them. Look at the rapes, the sexual immorality, and the filth on our TVs and our movies. God is about to purge a lot of sin off of this planet. This is the time to get right with God.”

The End Times Brigade

Of course, Wiles is but a single crackle in religious-fundamentalist choir that seems to roll out these very same end-of-the-world predictions with every major outbreak or natural disaster. And the underlying cause is always people not behaving according to “God’s will.”

In 2014, as religious leaders in Liberia claimed that “immoral acts” (such as being gay) were responsible for the deadly Ebola virus, then-radio host Wiles was warning that if Ebola went global, “you better make sure the blood of Jesus is upon you, you better make sure you have been marked by the angels so that you are protected by God.”

Sound at all familiar?

Ever since the religious right claimed AIDS was a judgment on gay people back in the 1980s, the whole “God-is-angry” bit has become the classic fundamentalist response to disaster of recent history. Hurricane Sandy, the 2004 tsunami, Hurricane Katrina -- all blamed on supposed trangressions ranging from abortion, to homosexuality, to Muslim antagonism.

When Katrina hit, the group Columbia Christians for Life explained the disaster in just those terms, writing: “Providence punishes national sins by national calamities.” The head of the evangelical group Repent America offered a more literal interpretation, arguing that “God is in control of the weather.” 

If God Makes You Invincible

Sure, maybe it’s easy to dismiss Wiles and his ilk as radicals looking for attention. But these people have real followings – that fact cannot be ignored. A quick visit to the TruNews YouTube page uncovers a loyal group of followers who genuinely seem to believe that the coronavirus is God’s way of exacting revenge on nonbelievers.

Naturally, though, “true” followers of God will be immune from the danger.

Should the coronavirus outbreak continue to worsen, many worry this mentality could exacerbate the problem. For example, if people believe their faith alone offers a veil of protection from the deadly virus, they might choose to ignore basic precautions – which would easily quicken its spread.  

What is your reaction? Why is it that people seem to crave “end times” predictions? In the event of a global pandemic, are you worried about faith getting in the way of science?

49 comments

  1. SibylTheHeretic's Avatar SibylTheHeretic

    Rick Wiles is another false prophet teaching Christians who to hate.

    1. Professor Albert Logjes's Avatar Professor Albert Logjes

      What Rick says is totally nonsense

      1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

        That damn fool sounds as goofy as those goddam schizophrenic prophets in that worthless, Christian Bible!

    2. Theodore Richard Adams's Avatar Theodore Richard Adams

      I thought he believed that Jesus died on the cross and took care of all the sins of humanity. I guess there are some that God has to take care of later. also if he was a follower fo Jesus as he claims to be, why is he condemning the world? Jesus said that he did not come to condemn the world but to save it. The only condemnation given in the New Testament is that anyone who refuses to accept and believe on the name of Jesus remains condemned (John 3:16-18). This means that the sin question is no longer a problem, except to people like this "minister". Such are ones who condemn the guiltless.

    3. Gregory Earl Dickerson's Avatar Gregory Earl Dickerson

      Not hateing but he really needs to read the Bible. 2 Timothy 3:7 Tell us how the Lord is going to purge the sinners from this world and this is what it says; " But by His word the present heavens and the earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgement and destruction of ungodly men. 🤔

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

    This is total insanity from a nut job, mentally ill supposed minister. He is the same one who proclaimed that there was a "Jew Coup" and that Jewish people were behind impeachment of POTUS 45. He is a racist, anti semitic rich old white fool who preys on people's fears of differences. Sure has a nasty mean god, not a loving one. He should be deported out of our country. Send him to Nigeria or Australia. Good riddance, charleton and hypocrite.

    1. Norma Battes's Avatar Norma Battes

      Australia? Whatever did they do you you?

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

        You missed the point. Let the Aboriginal Australians teach him a thing or too. They will show him their creation stories, how to treat others with loving kindness. He is so ignorant.

  1. Thunder's Avatar Thunder

    It strikes me in reading down the list of blog posts how all the fear and hate mongering can be practically without exception attributed to Abrahamic religion. This is not a new or recent phenomenon. When will people learn?

    1. Ilmenheru Terikson's Avatar Ilmenheru Terikson

      Its hard for them to learn when their faith systematically fills them with ignorance and teaches that blind ignorance is the corner stone of faith.

  1. JKM's Avatar JKM

    Nonsense. Shame on him.

  1. Minister Mike's Avatar Minister Mike

    🤣😜

  1. Bob's Avatar Bob

    God sure seems to be pissed off at non Christian sinners! Rainbows are wrong! Drone strikes are celebrated. Some kind of creepy interpretations of God Almighty’s big plan. Is it so hard to just not be a dick in this lifetime? What ever happened to JOY?

  1. Martha Knight's Avatar Martha Knight

    Doesn't this man realize flu is killing far more people and making many times as many people ill? Given the comparatively small number of Corona virus cases, why would people consider it an end-times plague when flu is not?

    1. Ilmenheru Terikson's Avatar Ilmenheru Terikson

      Humans are gonna human, and that is what lets the ignorant think some extremely modest outbreak of a virus is the end of days, the same kind who dont grasp that the flu is a short hand for influenza.

      South park did a great job mocking the Sars fear years ago, and this is the same thing all over. in a nation of more then a billion like china, it would require tens of thousands of cases in a congested area to really warrant being called a major outbreak.

  1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

    I'd send him straight to China, to see if his god saves him.

  1. Rod Gesner's Avatar Rod Gesner

    And yet again the ignorant and bigoted call upon their Hatefull Petty Vindictive "god" to sacrifice the little children to prove his Love for Them only... Buncha Jealous Vipers that Pronect their Own Sickness on to their mirror like construct of a "god"...

  1. Carol A siebert's Avatar Carol A siebert

    I thought the same thing actually if not this Virus was sent to stop the Evil apond us.

    1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      What evil are you referring to?

      🦁❤️

      1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

        I bet she's mostly referring to those fun things we like to do that Christians believe in depriving themselves of. It's about time for another mug of coffee spiked with some Irish cream liqueur. I think I'll make it a double this time, which will make it truly evil. Cheers!

  1. flugo's Avatar flugo

    Wiles' comments have validity! Biblical history is replete with God using natural disasters to discipline sinners. Why not? He is the antithesis of sin. His Son Jesus died for our sins. Wrongdoers usually suffer for their misbehavior. He allows catastrophes in order to focus our attention to align ourselves with this holy, loving God through His son Jesus..

    1. Ilmenheru Terikson's Avatar Ilmenheru Terikson

      Once again you talk old testament and seem to ignore that which is christian and that which is hebrew. Last I checked a fundamental aspect of being a christian is accepting that Jesus was the messiah, and that in his crucafixtion, death, and restoration humanity was cleaned of original sin.

      If the old judaic idea of god did start smiting again, it would basically be confirming jesus was not the christ.

      Oh fun fact Jesus can not be both the son of god and the messiah of the ancient judaic prophecy his followers claim he fulfilled. as part of that prophecy requires the messiah to be a direct male offspring of the line of King David, on his FATHERS side. Seeing as by all accounts Jesus was not the son of Joeseph who funny enough was indeed of the direct line of king david in some accounts, had all the silly nonsense about him being the son of god come about, he would of had a pretty good case to be said figure.

  1. Marlene's Ministry Corner's Avatar Marlene's Ministry Corner

    Minister Clarice Moore-Grantt

    I am a strong believer that God send plagues when the world get to far out of kelter running on its own beliefs and ignoring God's precepts. The Biblical principles and commandments are still as relevant today as in the days of past.

    1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      The only difference is there's now medicine and psychotherapy to cure those biblical "truths".

    2. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      That is an interesting belief system you have got going there Lady Marlene. Isn’t it interesting how beliefs are just based on thoughts, which of course is also a precept off religions? I’m wondering if your belief structure is also applicable to animals that die of diseases, but then again they have no concept of right and wrong, or even a deity. Neither if course do little children, who also suffer from diseases and infirmities.

      🦁❤️

  1. David L Huey's Avatar David L Huey

    Where is his proof? is it only affecting non-Christians? Who made him the true voice of God?

  1. CB Cuff's Avatar CB Cuff

    Funny how Americans label every 'outbreak' as having origins in another country?? The George Bush diarrhoea never made news after he was placed in office for a second term. The entire nation was affected by it. Second thought; it's odd how a person can be jailed (in the US) for having a couple of joints in their pocket/purse because it is soooo harmful, yet people like Rick Wiles aren't considered a threat to national security, based on the context of his delusions and his capacity to influence thousands of people. Let's hope he doesn't want to be President, things are 'fundamentalistly' bad enough.

  1. Richard Lee Cornell's Avatar Richard Lee Cornell

    Go to the local library and get a book by David L. Heymann or buy it from Amazon. HIV/AIDS was a curse upon gay men funny how everyone so exposed to it die off and still do. Rev. Jerry Falwell had a problem with doing research on the AIDS virus. Something he personally had a problem with since it did contubate to his death. For that Pastor who thinks this is a curse from God maybe a few people with TB should breath openly in his church when it full of non-sinners. Let me bring a common form of flu into his church and see who becomes sick from that. By the way there are 3 types of hospitals in China. The finest best equiped is for non-Chinese. The second best is for Party members. The third type is for the masses that practice still herbal medicine. In any given year the common flu will kill just under 100,000 in China.

    1. Minister Mike's Avatar Minister Mike

      That just ain't true.

      In total, the CDC estimates that up to 42.9 million people got sick during the 2018-2019 flu season, 647,000 people were hospitalized and 61,200 died. That's worldwide, not just China or any other country.

      There is no AIDS virus. AIDS is a medical condition caused by a virus (HIV). There is no evidence Jerry Falwell had AIDS or even HIV, so there is no way either of them could have "contubated" to his death.

      There is no supportable evidence to support three types of hospitals in China as you have described.

      When you lie about one thing anything else you say is always suspect.

    2. Angel's Avatar Angel

      No, that was manufactured by the government as well .

  1. Vern Dee Wall's Avatar Vern Dee Wall

    My God does not punish. Satan punishes.

    Every time God sent a plague He also sent a prophet to tell His people how to avoid it.

    1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      It’s your mythical biblical god that’s supposed to have created Satan. Fortunately, there’s no logical rational reason to believe your claim of a god, or a Satan. Many plagues, or diseases, are caused through mans unsanitary ways of living. These conditions are equally applicable to all animal kingdoms, not just our human populations. As an example, Avian flue decimated our avian cultured not too long ago. I doubt any mythical god sent that plague to those poor birds as punishment for their evil ways. We don’t need any self proclaimed false prophets to tell us today how we need to look after ourselves hygienically.

      🦁❤️

      1. Vern Dee Wall's Avatar Vern Dee Wall

        Let's be nice to each other, ok?

        1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

          Thank you Lady Vern. Please don’t read my comment as being critical in any way. It’s just that I read your statement saying that a god sends plagues and something called Satan punishes, but realistically, we don’t know that your statement is in fact a true one. I think it’s mainly because of a belief system that has been generated by reading an old book, or it could just be indoctrination, unless you can prove otherwise of course.

          Very respectfully 🦁❤️

  1. William Cureton Fox's Avatar William Cureton Fox

    As of 02/05/2020 there are only 12 cases of this virus in the US. This is not a Biblical plague.

    1. Norma Battes's Avatar Norma Battes

      A few weeks ago no one heard of Wunan. Today 1000 have died. Next week.... Why is a plague unlike Trickle-Down economics. (Plague spreads through exponential growth. TD spreads through exponential decay.)

  1. Dorothy E. Cogswell's Avatar Dorothy E. Cogswell

    "Those who is without sin cast the first stone"

  1. Rev. D.H. Zielinski's Avatar Rev. D.H. Zielinski

    Years ago, it was the AIDS virus that was "sent by God" to punish mankind for its sins. Then it was the floods, famine in the Middle East and war, now it's this? Come on folks get a gripe on it! God doesn't send the plagues to cleanse us of our sins. If that were the case, there wouldn't be any crooked political persons in charge anywhere. No, He gives us free choice, and free will. He allows us to make our own decisions and depending on what your beliefs are, He will take care of all of us in the end. So get off the stick Pastor Rick, stop preaching hatred and loathing and start preaching the love of God. It is my experience that evangelicals preach fire and brimstone to up the ratings on their television and radio shows. Shame on you.

  1. Jeff McClain's Avatar Jeff McClain

    I think most people realize that this is not God's handiwork, when God decides to exact punishment on the people that he loves we will KNOW that it is the hand of God!!!! People like Rick fancy themselves as having an inside track to God himself, but let us remember that when the end comes God has said that not even Jesus know's the time. Love God and believe, we are powerless with God, and in the end his punishment to mankind will not be for you!!!

    1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      That’s if there really is a god of course.

      🦁❤️

  1. Bro. James the Apostate, OSHSF's Avatar Bro. James the Apostate, OSHSF

    "End of the world" contextual reading of ancient scriptures is a relatively new Protestant phenomenon. Even the Catholic Church teaches the events of the Revelations are cryptic and need a key to understanding them - the key is, the events have already taken place ... in the first century. Which is why it was so controversial to include the Revelations in the Canon.

    Rick Wiles, and those like him, capitalize on the fear of those who will listen to them.

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

    Hell is filled to the brim with Fallse Pastors, Lawyer, Politicians and now Republicans.

    1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      Don’t forget to include Democrats, Sir Paul. From what I’ve seen of them there are some very seedy and weird characters running that group.

      But as an aside, what exactly is Hell? Isn’t that something drummed up by Judeo Christians?

      🦁❤️

  1. Minister Mike's Avatar Minister Mike

    It is obvious to the most casual observer that the saddest thing about such videos isn't the message, but the people who believer it. 😕

  1. Norma Battes's Avatar Norma Battes

    Hallelujah Pastor Wiles!!! Finally someone with reason and faith to tell the truth. Keep spreading the gospel and let the sinners and heathens know their time is short. But as a true disciple of the Lord, then you should be out preaching the gospel and saving those sinners. You should go now directly to Wunan and save those wicked souls. Show them you are a pious child of God and you can walk amongst the faithless and condemned without fear of this plague upon mankind. Go now and show them, no the WORLD, all that you stand for in the name of the Almighty!! Only righteousness will protect them from this horrific and deadly disease sent directly from God. Go now and save the hordes of sinners in Wunan. And as further proof of God's love for you and all that believe in your words, take your whole congregation and SHOW ALL THE SINNERS what faith in God can do.

    Please Pastor. Go save them. Please go now.

    Thank you. God truly loves you and God will guide you there and back again.

    Yes, I'm sure.

    1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      Yes, and when they have all been cleansed by the hand of some deity and his followers, perhaps they can return home and cleanse the little children dying of cancer in our hospitals. Just saying!

      🦁❤️

  1. Angel's Avatar Angel

    The government created it, God had nothing to do with it!!

  1. Michael J. Heck's Avatar Michael J. Heck

    Amen!! “Someone school that fool”

  1. Debra Kay Frier's Avatar Debra Kay Frier

    I suggest each of you who are belittling Pastor Rick Wiles read a bible. Perhaps then you may know what you are talking about.

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