Some from the religious right are gearing up to resist any eventual COVID-19 vaccine, based on fears it will be linked to the “mark of the beast.”
Yahoo News reports: The coronavirus pandemic created the perfect environment for apocalyptic Christianity to fuse with antigovernment libertarianism, New Age rejection of mainstream science and medicine, and internet-fueled gullibility toward baroque conspiracy theories about secret cabals ruling the world through viruses. Prominent evangelical pastors, including one who has since died of COVID-19,have promoted baseless claims about Bill Gates, implantable microchips that could be used to control the population under the guise of tracking COVID-19 infections and immunity, and a link between coronavirus vaccination and the mark of the beast, a signifier, in biblical prophecy, of submission to the Antichrist. Such ideas have since spread beyond evangelical circles. Some Christian scholars have recently sought to debunk attempts to link the coronavirus vaccine to the mark of the beast through detailed biblical analysis. But the general impulse among evangelicals is skepticism toward secular authority, including measures taken in the name of public health.
More from the Daily Beast: LifeSite News, a Catholic, anti-abortion website, has gathered more than 350,000 signatures on a petition protesting mandatory coronavirus vaccination orders—none of which have actually been issued. The petition starts with the kind of big-government concerns that have become a hallmark of anti-shutdown protests, claiming that “fear of a disease” could inadvertently lead to support for “the hidden agenda of governmental as well as non-governmental bodies” with plans to “restrict personal freedoms.” … Ronnie Hampton, a free Methodist pastor who died of the virus in March, told followers before his death that the vaccines would have “some type of electronic computer device that’s gonna put some type of chip in you and maybe even have some mood, mind-altering circumstances.” “They’re saying that the chip would be the mark of the beast,” he added, referring to a belief among some Christians that the anti-Christ will one day return and physically mark his followers. Pastor Curt Landry of Oklahoma, meanwhile, claimed the vaccine would not contain the mark of the beast itself, but a microchip that the government could use to track who was willing to accept it.