The fictional character Dr Gregory House once remarked: “If you could reason with religious people, there’d be no religious people.”
This has been amply demonstrated by individuals of a religious leaning who are tempted to paint the coronavirus as a second coming of the devil. And all of them – despite never being able to prove the existence of their magical sky people – have a cure for the disease.
In Iran – a country blighted by the virus – Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s advisor died after contracting the virus. One of the country’s top clerics Hadi Khosroshahi also died last Thursday. Vice President Masoumeh Ebtekar and the Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi are also ill.
Despite the statistics, defiant Iranians are licking the doors and a burial mount of the Fatima Masumeh Shrine in Qom, the epicentre of the COVID-19 outbreak in that country.
Journalist Masih Alinejad shared a video which showed people licking the shrines and wrote: “While the city of Qom is the epicentre of #CoronaVirus in Iran, authorities refuse to close down religious shrines there. These pro-regime people are licking the shrines & encouraging people to visit them. Iran's authorities are endangering lives of Iranians & the world”
Worryingly, it has not been locked down during the medical crisis.
Cult under the scanner
In South Korea, the leader of a religious sect is under the scanner for hiding the names of members who were affected. Lee Mang-hee, the founder of the Shindheonji Church is being charged along with 11 others for his role.
So far, South Korea has reported over 3730 cases and 21 deaths so far, the worst outside China.
The 88-year-old, who his followers believe is the ‘angel’ Jesus and descendent of ancient Kings, has been blamed for thwarting the government’s efforts to counter the virus.
Incidentally, he had earlier blamed the ‘evil who got jealous of the church’, but later backtracked and apologised.
Evangelical calls coronavirus God’s death angel
Meanwhile, an evangelical pastor has claimed the coronavirus is ‘God’s death angel’ which is justice for those who have ‘transgendered children’.
Pastor Rick told his viewers that the virus started in China because they are ‘Godless communists who persecute Christians’ and said the ‘death angel’ had its eyes on US.
An evangelical pastor is claiming the coronavirus is God’s “death angel” seeking justice for those “transgendering little children” and putting “filth” on TVs and movies.
He said: “God is about to purge a lot of sin off of this planet. Look at the United States, look at the spiritual rebellion in this country — the hatred of God, the hatred of the Bible, the hatred of righteousness.”.
Cow dung for the win
Closer home, BJP MP from Assam Suman Haripriya stated that ‘gaumutra’ and ‘gobar’ could cure the coronavirus.
She was quoted saying by PTI: "We all know that cow dung is very helpful. Likewise, when cow urine is sprayed, it purifies an area... I believe something similar could be done with gaumutra and gobar to cure coronavirus (disease)," she said during a discussion on smuggling of cattle to Bangladesh during the budget session of the assembly.