A right-wing pastor has claimed that the United States needs to repent for “sodomy” to stop COVID-19 vaccines from becoming ineffective.
Shane Vaughn, of First Harvest Ministries, claimed during a YouTube livestream last week that vaccines are no longer working because of the “judgment of God,” Right Wing Watch reports.
“I’m going to tell you what God told me to tell you,” Vaughn said. “They’ve got variants coming that ain’t no vaccine going to work for. This nation is under the judgment of God.
“And I want to tell you something right now: They’re already admitting that the vaccine is alarmingly not working. Alarmingly! They’re alarmed at what they’re seeing. Do you know why? Because America, you’re making a huge mistake.”
Vaughn failed to provide evidence to support his claim. Recent studies have shown that vaccine effectiveness has waned since the rise of the dominant Delta strain of COVID-19, with one recent CDC study noting a decline of 30% in effectiveness among frontline health care workers. However, that same study also found that COVID-19 vaccines were still 80% effective in preventing infection.
Despite breakthrough infections, hospitalization rates are also significantly lower for fully vaccinated people than among the unvaccinated, the CDC found.
That didn’t stop Vaughn from telling his followers to trust God with their health, rather than medical professionals.
Quoting from Isaiah 31 — in which Egyptians were instructed to rely on God, not Egypt — for help, Vaughn mocked those seeking vaccines and booster shots for going to “their pharmacia doctors and the ones that don’t even believe in our God.”
“You’re running, where’s the next vaccine? Can I get another one? Can I get that second shot? The third one? Does anybody got the fourth? I need a fifth one, please,” he said.
Vaughn then turned his attack on LGBTQ people, blaming “sodomy” for God’s “judgment” and urging people to repent.
“Why would you go begging [doctors] for their help?” he said. “They have nothing that’s gonna help my judgment that is coming upon this nation. The only help for the child of God in this hour is the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, Yeshua the Messiah.
“You better learn that — and you better learn it fast — or you’re gonna chase vaccines until there ain’t no vaccines left. I don’t care if you got one. Go for it. God bless you if that’s your choice,” Vaughn continued. “But I’m telling you if that’s where your faith is, you’re going to be in for a big disappointment. God is going to force you to look to him. These vaccines are gonna quit working on every corner until this nation falls to her knees and repents for dead babies and repents for the sodomy of this nation!”
Vaugh is no stranger to bizarre rhetoric in his
rants sermons. Earlier this year he said it was a “sin” for Christians to be concerned about climate change.
“Climate change is not scientific,” he declared. “It is a religion. It is an anti-Christ religion that has taken over the minds of the world.”
Vaughn also isn’t the first religious figure to attempt to connect the COVID-19 pandemic to the LGBTQ community. Earlier this month, right-wing Christian author William Koenig claimed that COVID-19 was God’s “judgment” on the U.S. for being “so pro-LGBT.”
Last year, an anti-gay pastor who claimed that COVID-19 was God’s judgment for LGBTQ people and living a “sinful lifestyle” died after contracting COVID-19.
In September, a religious leader in Ukraine who blamed same-sex marriage for the pandemic tested positive for coronavirus, while in August, an anti-LGBTQ Christian group that said gay people cause “disease” was declared a COVID-19 hotspot after an outbreak of the virus among its staff.
Near the start of the pandemic, Rick Wiles, a Trump ally and pastor, responded to the death of an LGBTQ lawyer who contracted COVID-19 by saying it was God’s “judgment” and that a “plague was underway.”
A conservative pastor in Tennessee made similar comments, claiming that same-sex marriage was the cause of COVID-19 and that the pandemic was a “reckoning” from God.
Anti-LGBTQ religious figures who have publicly opposed vaccines have also found themselves suffering from or succumbing to COVID-19. This month, an anti-gay Catholic cardinal who spread conspiracy theories about vaccines was hospitalized with the virus.
Last year, failed Republican politician and pastor E.W. Jackson, who has called gay people “very sick” and “perverted,” contracted the virus after previously claiming that the Bible was his vaccine.