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An outbreak of the measles at Kenneth Copeland's Texas megachurch has gotten some attention because (1) measles is something children are generally vaccinated for, these days and (2) Kenneth Copeland is, of course, an anti-vaccine crackpot. In what seems to be yet another bitterly ironic attempt by God to teach noisy religious fundamentalists what-for, the church has thus become the epicenter of a small but worrisome outbreak that has so far infected 10 and resulted in the Department of State Health Services issuing an alert spanning North Texas.

That has megachurch pastors doing a bit of fancy dancin', with Pastor Terri Pearson (Copeland's daughter) walking back their leader's anti-vaccination stance to explain to the congregation that no, God does not really want your children to contract a potentially dangerous disease that vaccinations have all but licked because duh.

"There are a lot of people that think the Bible -- we talk about walking by faith -- it leaves out things such as, I don't know, people just get strange. But when you read the Old Testament, you find that it is full of precautionary measures, and it is full of the law.

Why did the Jewish people, why did they not die out during the plague? Because the Bible told them how to be clean, told them how to disinfect, told them there was something contagious. And the interesting thing of it, it wasn't a medical doctor per se who took care of those things, it was the priesthood…."

See there? Even back in the before-times, people were smart enough to know that if you could do a very simple thing in order to Not Die, you probably ought to do that thing and not just trust that all of God's various plagues and viruses had built-in piety detectors that would run away when they got a taste of the likes of religious you.

Helpfully, the church now states that it was an unclean outsider that brought this evil into their midst, which is a bit of a cop-out:

Eagle Mountain International Church, about 50 miles northwest of Dallas, released a statement Tuesday that said a visitor attended a service who had been overseas and was exposed to measles.

“Therefore the congregation, staff at Kenneth Copeland Ministries and the daycare center on the property were exposed through that contact,” the statement said.

Which is, of course, how epidemics work. Somebody goes somewhere and brings back a something that none of the other somebodies have an immunity to, infecting them all and allowing the something to spread ever-further. By vaccinating yourself and your children, you are not only making sure your family does not get the disease in question, you are also making sure that your family is not a disease-riddled pus vector oozing easily preventable plague onto all the other people in your community, causing you to be scorned as an "outsider" and the state department of health to issue up bulletins specifically naming you and your community as the disease-riddled pus vectors in question and warning your fellow human beings to wash their hands a lot if they have to come in contact with you.

And that, children, is why the church run by an anti-vaccination crank is now holding free vaccination clinics in apparent contradiction to the beliefs of said crank. Curiously, there doesn't seem to be any word from Copeland himself; barring other evidence we can only assume that the rest of the church leadership locked him in a nice, sturdy cupboard for a while?

Originally posted to Hunter on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 04:53 PM PDT.

Also republished by Street Prophets , Daily Kos Classics, and Daily Kos.

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