It’s no mystery where we landed on almost all matters relating to Covid. From the early fearmongering to the mandates, we consistently upheld a commitment to personal freedom of conscience in the face of an overreaching state government. We copped a lot of flak for it in the early days. Even some of those who have largely agreed with our efforts distanced themselves for fear of the criticism.
We quickly earned the label “Conspiracy Theorists” for wildly predicting such things as:
- The failure of the federal government’s Covid Safe app;
- The implementation of a mandatory tracking system;
- The introduction of mandatory vaccination requirements;
- The use of vaccine passports;
- The failure of the jabs;
- And the harmful effects of lockdown, among other things.
Turns out, as they say, the difference between a conspiracy theory and the truth really is just a few months.
We weren’t the only ones to accurately judge the trajectory of events, however, voices within the church were certainly few and far between, at least among those who held positions of influence. As many within the pews, unfortunately, found out, there was a narrative to maintain. And at the risk of splitting the church, our leaders backed the official narrative peddled by the state government and the media.
As a result, conversations that were once about matters of conscience became matters of sin. We were no longer just crazy “conspiracy theorists,” we were in rebellion against God. Advocating for freedom, personal responsibility, and basic human rights was now considered a promotion of lawlessness, selfishness, and sin.
In one disturbing instance, a prominent Australian church figure told his near-5,000 Facebook followers that the vaccine-hesitant were essentially warring against science. To make matters worse, he went on to claim that getting the jabs was our “Christian duty.” In other words, to decline the vaccines is to fail in our God-given responsibility before God and neighbour, and that is sin.
This was not an isolated case. Entire sermons were preached in some churches extolling the virtues of rolling up your sleeve for the good of your neighbour. Pastors posted vaccine selfies along with a declaration of their remarkable love for others. Christian bloggers published article after article urging their readers to maintain faith in our government and media while attacking fellow Christians for daring to put a finger in one of the many holes in the mainstream narrative. The whole approach painted unvaccinated people, not only as enemies of their fellow man, but enemies of God.
Suddenly, we had an objective, irrefutable means of distinguishing between the loving Christian and the selfish sinner. Intentionally or otherwise, the messaging not only alienated members of Christ’s body, but it also changed the way the people viewed each other, and the way people felt they were being viewed by others. Ultimately, normalizing contempt for unvaccinated people primed congregations to accept what they previously would have considered unimaginable. It resulted in what was, by their own admission, once inconceivable: toleration of vaccinated-only worship services, where healthy congregants were effectively placed under church discipline until the civil government said otherwise.
With the help of the mainstream media’s relentless fearmongering, the ”us-versus-them” attitude inevitably spilled over into family life and friendship – the impacts and scars of which remain with us to this day. Just last week I met someone whose family still won’t talk to them because they refused to double-triple-quadruple-jab. Yes, given all we now know, there are still folks out there that would rather maintain a lie than admit they fell for it.
Like many of us, this person was branded a “conspiracy theorist” whose dangerous ideas about “human rights” pose a threat to others. Remarkably, this is despite the fact that all members of the household have been infected multiple times already!
Such a whole-hearted commitment to delusion at the cost of loved ones truly boggles the mind. For those on the receiving end, such heartless attempts at self-preservation can feel like an incurable wound. As long as it’s left undressed, it festers, and social divides widen.
This particular person told me that should the family have a sudden change of heart – not the kind prompted by the jabs – and welcome them back into the fold, the offer may just be rejected. Many in similar circumstances already have, particularly those who felt abandoned and mistreated by the churches they had invested so much of their lives to.
It’s not because apologies aren’t enough, but because they haven’t even been uttered. Not even a whispered admission that they may have, possibly, potentially forfeited the credibility of the Church’s pulpit defending the credibility of Caesar’s podium.
The sad fact is that many were quick to act in severing relationships and dividing communities in the face of a supposed physical threat. But now that the threat has been exposed for what it is, there’s a deafening silence and reluctance to act, to mend relationships, and unify broken bonds, and this, despite the very real threat of spiritual and emotional damage.
As it turns out, many are quicker to denounce others than to apologise for their own mistakes, quicker to wound than to heal, quicker to split than to unify, quicker to act in irrational fear than in good faith.
One can’t help but think that all the mindless fearmongering and hype around the jabs, in contrast to the sudden silence in the face of real suffering, only goes to suggest the narrative peddlers who claimed they were “doing it for grandma” were only really doing it for themselves. Either out of fear of the virus or fear of the consequences should they be found guilty of doing the right thing.