‘The Blood of Jesus will not save you from Covid’ says a large yellow banner that was raised last Thursday on the steeple of the Central Methodist Mission, Greenmarket Square, Cape Town.
“Get vaccinated. Protect our healthcare workers” continues the banner which forms part of the church’s “Yellow banner theology” campaign which it says aims to “engage the public on topical issues from a Gospel perspective”.
Gateway News was alerted to the banner last Friday in emails sent by two readers who said they were hurt and offended by the church’s message. “This banner is not about the vaccine — it is a public declaration which states two blasphemous things: Don’t trust in the Lord during this very difficult time and the Blood of Jesus is to no avail. May God have mercy on the Church if we keep quiet in the face of such flagrant evil and deception,” said one of the readers.
Public comments below two Facebook posts by the Central Methodist Mission about its banner, predominantly denounce the message of the banner, labelling it as blasphemous, unbiblical and satanic. Among those who comment unfavourably on the banner message are “a firm believer in vaccination” and a Johannesburg Methodist congregant.
In a Facebook post explaining the purpose of its latest “yellow banner”, the church, which is led by Rev Alan Storey, says that “refusing to take life-saving vaccines is a sign of foolishness, not a sign of faithfulnes”.
Vaccines should be celebrated as a gift from God, yet some people promote “the false binary of: Faith in God or faith in vaccines” says the church post.
It says that through promoting Holy Communion as “Covid medicine” and statements such as “Jesus is my vaccine” and “because of the blood of Jesus Covid will ‘Passover’ without touching me or my family”, some pastors have applied religious pressure that “can tip a person over from vaccine hesitancy to anti-vaccination”.
“These false binaries may end up having deadly consequences because Covid cares less for one’s religion. Covid does not discriminate according to one’s belief. Since it is difficult to combat this belief without being perceived as attacking someone’s religion, it is important that religious institutions themselves do so. It is “Prayer and Vaccines”. Not, “Prayer or Vaccines,” says the post.
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