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Yesterday’s Prophecy, Today’s News

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by Timothy P. Carney

| March 27, 2020 02:11 PM
You simply knew this opinion piece was going to come out sooner or later.

The argument appeared in any Twitter thread that touched on religion and the coronavirus: Mike Pence put in charge of the coronavirus task force? He’s anti-science! Will he try to pray it away?! A Christian kindergarten teacher dies of the virus? I guess the prayers didn’t work!

It showed up in second-rate left-of-center media such as Salon.com. (“Is the Christian right now in charge of public health,” they ask, because “Redfield and Birx are both evangelical Christians”?)

Through this lens, a certain portion of the Left gets to see our current crisis in the most self-congratulatory way. Blaming anti-science evangelicals for this all satisfies the vanity and ideological appetites of a certain type of liberal.

Simply hating evangelicals isn’t good enough. No, it’s far better to look down on them as self-deluded, anti-science rubes (because certain liberals really love science) who offer up prayers instead of scientifically proven scientific solutions!

And now this trope has bubbled to the very top, to the opinion pages of the New York Times

“The Road to Coronavirus Hell Was Paved by Evangelicals,” a New York Times article tells us in the headline.

The piece is by Katherine Stewart, an author whose recent book fits in a broad category of paranoid literature that is basically the Left’s version of the “Sharia law is coming” conspiracy theory. Hers is about the 1000th book in the past 20 years to warn that America is about to become a theocracy.

“Trump’s response to the pandemic has been haunted by the science denialism of his ultraconservative religious allies,” the subheadline reads.

“Science Denialism!”

“Ultraconservative religious!”

Perfect catchphrases!

But the giveaway is the weasel phrase there: “haunted by.” She’s trying to imply causality that she knows she cannot assert.

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