One of President Donald Trump’s evangelical advisors, Gloria Copeland, said that people don’t need to get a flu shot because Jesus has already given them one himself.
Copeland and her husband, Kenneth, are members of President Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Board and preach through their own organization, Kenneth Copeland Ministries.
According to Vice, Copeland’s remarks come during one of the worst flu seasons in recent years. During a New Year’s Eve broadcast, Copeland told viewers, “we’ve got a duck season, a deer season — but we don’t have a flu season.” She advised viewers to disregard when people say, “everybody’s getting the flu.”RWW Blog/YouTube
In a YouTube video posted by Right Wing Watch, Copeland said:
“Jesus himself gave us the flu shot. If you say, ‘Well, I don’t have any symptoms of the flu,’ well, great! That’s the way it’s supposed to be. Just keep saying that ‘I’ll never have the flu. I’ll never have the flu.’ Put words — inoculate yourself with the word of God.”
Some people on Twitter were angered, saying they thought Copeland’s words put people’s lives at risk:
There are church graveyards full of the dead babies of parents who followed advice like yours. Thank goodness my state doesn’t allow parents to use faith as justification for child neglect and abuse
— Ernest Ranard (@guttersandstars) February 4, 2018
That is the most irresponsible thing you can tell people that God can keep the flu away. You are going to have to live with the fact you may cause people to die for not taking proper precaution measure to protect themselves. That is not Christian in any way
— JKD (@JkdLuvtohavefun) February 6, 2018
What other snake oil do you provide? This deterministic philosophy goes against everything that the Bible tells us. #SheepsClothing
— Brian Timberlake (@Briguythewise) February 6, 2018
Jesus told me you and Gloria are Pharisees and should be avoided like the flu!
— Aquila Gali (@BannedGroupie) February 6, 2018
Although many of the Twitter responses were overwhelmingly negative, some people affirmed Copeland’s thoughts on the flu:
I believe I receive!
— Linda Tummons (@tummons_linda) February 1, 2018
Ooh Yes…….my miracle is now Amen! !!!!
— Cece Zuma (@ZumaCebisa) February 1, 2018
I don’t care who coughs or sneezes/ ‘long as I got my vaccine Jesus/Pumpin’ all round my heart…
— Bill Hudgins (@billhudge) February 6, 2018
CNN reports that, according to Dr. Anne Schuchat, acting director at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this flu season has been the worst the U.S. has seen in years.
“Our latest tracking data indicate that flu activity is still high and widespread across most of the nation and increasing overall. So far this year, the cumulative rate of hospitalizations is the highest since we’ve been tracking in this way, which goes back to 2010.”
According to Popular Science, the latest CDC numbers show that this season’s flu has claimed the lives of 53 children so far.