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Do Trump-Worshipping Evangelicals Deserve to Die of Coronavirus?

“Homosexuals deserve to die of AIDS as punishment for their sin.” With Covid, are liberals guilty of the same intolerance?

“AIDS is a curse from God on the wicked perversion of homosexuality.” I heard many similar refrains in my evangelical church as a teen. An early member of Jerry Falwell Senior’s Moral Majority, my church organized register-the-conservative-vote drives, picketed abortion clinics and strip clubs and opposed HIV research. “Immoral lifestyles have consequences,” they cried. “If people embrace sin, they die.”

I walked away from my evangelical roots in my twenties, much to my parents’ dismay. They are Christian Nationalists, evangelical Trumpers unapologetic with zeal for their sociopathic god. They still attend the same evangelical church and spew its prosperity gospel and End Times rhetoric.

Like many American families, our relationship suffered because of differing political beliefs. Phone calls and visits disintegrated over healthcare and abortion, global warming and LGBTQ.

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Then the world was smacked with the plague that is coronavirus.

Better writers than I have penned articles and essays about boomer parents who flout social distancing, determined to board cruise ships, break bread or enjoy weekly bridge with their friends.

Children of evangelical Trumpers carry an added burden. Our parents ignore our pleas to stay home, AND they lecture us on the state of our souls. They flout every scientific instruction while saying this crisis is God’s judgment on a sinful earth. They parrot Fox News and believe their faith will protect them from destruction. This plague will destroy the godless liberals they loathe.

Maybe faith will keep them alive. I hope so. I love my parents. Despite our very dysfunctional relationship, I’m not ready for them to die.

Plenty of my fellow liberals ARE ready for them to die, though.

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“Maybe this will kill enough Trump voters to cost him the November election. It’s no more than they deserve for blindly supporting him.”

I won’t join the growing chorus of those who say I can’t wait for Trumpers to pay with their lives. I would be no better than 1980s-era Jerry Falwell Sr., who called AIDS God’s punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals.

We cannot make Christian Nationalism irrelevant by committing a left-leaning version of the same sin. Not when liberals pride ourselves on compassion, tolerance and inclusivity.

The Covid-19-stricken world needs overflowing doses of all three. What better way to practice what liberals preach than by showing we walk the walk? How will healthy demonstrations of tolerance, compassion and selfless sacrifice bolster the world in the coming months?

Humanity has not experienced a global pandemic in over 100 years. We caterwaul for an end to economic destruction, but has anyone considered the emotional toll of a mass die-off?

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While researching one of my novels, I read Douglas Preston’s gripping science travelogue The Lost City of the Monkey God. A NYT Notable Book of 2017, Preston recounts his trek into Honduran jungles to locate the mythic White City, where indigenous tribes allegedly fled to escape 1500s Spanish enslavement and slaughter.

Preston and his colleagues found the White City. With it, they unearthed evidence of genocide by pandemic. He and his team estimated that smallpox killed millions. For every ten people, nine died.

Imagine being the only person left standing. How might guilt break that lonesome soul?

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Like everyone these days, I have loads of unscheduled time. Sequestered in my house, I sit for hours with the thought of losing my evangelical family. Multiple deaths. A span of days or weeks. No way to hold their hands or formally mourn them.

It could kill me first. Either way, I might not see them again. Unless we reunite in heaven, an idea my mother once pooh-poohed with, “I wouldn’t be too sure about that if I were you.”

I view the approaching tsunami of bodies with dread. Trembling. Abject fear.

My parents and I cannot talk about my concern for them. I’m a brainwashed liberal who listens to fake news. Backslidden. Away from God to the point they question my salvation.

So I bite my lip. Answer the phone when Dad calls. Roll tears from my eyes. With every dwindling conversation, I prepare for the first cough. A phlemy ocean in the chest. Shortness of breath. All dismissed as a cold or the flu, a hoax or a harbinger of the Rapture.

I wish I could convert them with logic or science. Pestilence rages in their small community. They will be at every church service once the doors reopen. (By Easter or even sooner if the President gets his way.) In the meantime, they go about their God-fearing, End-Times-embracing lives.

They are in their eighties. If they catch Covid-19, they will most likely die.

I’m not ready to lose them. I never, ever will be.

NYT bestselling author NOT WITHOUT MY FATHER | speaker | dreamer | risk-taker | travel whore | turn I wish I had into I’m glad I did andrawatkins.com

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