Measles back again, thanks to religion

This is one of the more palpable dangers of faith: disease spread by a refusal to accept modern medicine, itself based on the assumption that God will heal you.  Except he doesn’t.

According to several sources, including the Dallas News, there’s a measles outbreak in Tarrant County, Texas, spread by one infectious case and a bunch of kids whose church frowns on vaccination.  Frm the Dallas News:

The toll has grown to 20 cases since last Thursday, when Tarrant’s health department reported the first two.

Fifteen of the measles cases are in Tarrant, including four confirmed Wednesday.

“We are on high alert as we’ve seen case counts can cross county lines overnight,” said Carrie Williams, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of State Health Services.

All 20 measles cases so far have been traced to the 1,500-member Eagle Mountain International Church in northeast Tarrant County, health officials said.

The outbreak appears to be occurring within a group of families that has chosen not to get vaccinated, officials said.

“This will spread fast among pockets of unvaccinated people,” Williams said.

Of the 15 cases in Tarrant County, 11 of the infected people were not immunized against the measles.

In Texas, that’s rare. Almost 98 percent of students are vaccinated against the measles when they enter kindergarten, a state requirement for public and private schools, according to the state health department.

About 1 percent of students obtain “conscientious exemptions” for all vaccinations.

In this outbreak, all the infected children in Tarrant County were being home-schooled, said Al Roy, a spokesman for the health department.

The measles outbreak originated from a man who traveled to Indonesia on a mission trip where he was exposed to the infectious disease.

Upon his return, he visited the Eagle Mountain church, which is about 50 miles northwest of Dallas. The church’s risk manager, Robert Hayes, said the man, who was not a member of the church, shook hands and gave hugs to many others.

Dr. Karen Smith, who runs her own medical practice and the Eagle Mountain church clinic, said she has treated most of the measles cases — five adults and the rest children — since the outbreak began.

She said many members follow alternative medicine and choose not to immunize their children.

This is one reason that there should be no conscientious exemptions for vaccinations.  Unlike the burqa case, this is a no-brainer. For matters of public health, and to eradicate disease completely, every child must be vaccination.  No religious belief can or should contravene that.

The measles vaccine, which has been available since 1963, typically is administered to children at 12 months of age and again before they go to kindergarten.

The two-shot regimen is believed to confer full immunity to the disease.

Although measles isn’t often fatal in the U.S. (the fatality rate is 0.3%), it can cause miscarriages in pregnant women, and has an appreciable death rate in other countries.  The World Heath Organization gives these facts:

  • Measles is one of the leading causes of death among young children even though a safe and cost-effective vaccine is available.
  • In 2011, there were 158 000 measles deaths globally – about 430 deaths every day or 18 deaths every hour.
  • More than 95% of measles deaths occur in low-income countries with weak health infrastructures.
  • Measles vaccination resulted in a 71% drop in measles deaths between 2000 and 2011 worldwide.
  • In 2011, about 84% of the world’s children received one dose of measles vaccine by their first birthday through routine health services – up from 72% in 2000.

As I’ve said before, one death from such religious dogma is a horrible thing, but there have been many, particularly in Muslim countries whose residents are suspicious of vaccination as some kind of Western plot. Wikipedia notes this about vaccination , measles, polio, and religion:

In the early 2000s Islamic religious leaders in northern Nigeria advised their followers not to have their children vaccinated with oral polio vaccine. The boycott caused cases of polio to arise not only in Nigeria but also in neighboring countries. The followers were also wary of other vaccinations, and Nigeria reported over 20,000 measles cases and nearly 600 deaths from measles from January through March 2005. In 2006 Nigeria accounted for over half of all new polio cases worldwide. Outbreaks continued thereafter; for example, at least 200 children died in a late-2007 measles outbreak in Borno State.

The Eagle Mountain Church is a megachurch in the empire run by pastor Kenneth Copeland, whose daughter, Teri Copeland Pearsons, is the pastor who helps promulgate anti-vax attitudes. The Dallas Observer reports:

Pearsons is the eldest daughter of megapastor Kenneth Copeland, and her church is one of the cornerstones of Kenneth Copeland Ministries, his sprawling evangelical empire. He’s far from the most vocal proponent of the discredited theory that the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine causes autism, but, between his advocacy of faith healing and his promotion of the vaccine-autism link on his online talk show, he’s not exactly urging his flock to get their recommended shots.

That left his daughter doing some nifty theological footwork in last week’s sermon as she struggled to explain how believers should trust their health to both God and medical professionals.

“There are a lot of people that think the Bible — we talk about walking by faith — it leaves out things such as, I don’t know, people just get strange. But when you read the Old Testament, you find that it is full of precautionary measures, and it is full of the law.Why did the Jewish people, why did they not die out during the plague? Because the Bible told them how to be clean, told them how to disinfect, told them there was something contagious. And the interesting thing of it, it wasn’t a medical doctor per se who took care of those things, it was the priesthood. It was the ministers, it was those who knew how to take the promises of God as well as the commandments of God to take care of things like disinfection and so forth….

Many of the things that we have in medical practice now actually are things you can trace back into scripture. It’s when we find out what’s in the scripture that we have wisdom.”

She concludes by announcing that the church was hosting a pair of free vaccination clinics and urging everyone to show up, advice that probably would have been more helpful two months ago.

I’m not sure where the Bible says, “Wash your hands after defecating or tending the sick.”  Can someone enlighten me? For God, in his omniscience, surely could have passed on that wisdom if he either wrote or inspired the Bible. How many lives it would have saved!

Just to show how lunacy propagates among generations, here’s a video (one that I’ve shown before) with Kenneth Copeland and the Pentecostal minister Kenneth Hagin (died 2003) inspiring a congragation to behave like complete lunatics. I’m sure foreign readers will be puzzled at this video, though American readers will take the religious insanity in stride.

You can see more videos from the church here.

h/t: Hempenstein

71 Comments

  1. gbjames
    Posted August 26, 2013 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    sub

  2. Robert Bray
    Posted August 26, 2013 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    With apologies to John Sebastian and the Lovin’ Spoonful. . . .

    Do you believe in measles
    In a Christian’s heart,
    How the bible can cure them
    Whenever they start. . . ?

    • Hempenstein
      Posted August 26, 2013 at 7:23 am | Permalink

      +5!

    • Posted August 27, 2013 at 6:19 am | Permalink

      I believe in measles…
      Since you got the cough, you wretched thing
      Where’d your blotches come from, angel
      How did you know I’d be the one
      Did you blow the every cure I prayed for?
      Did you know every night and day for?
      Everyday, decontaminating isolation
      Now you’re lying next to me, giving it to me
      I believe in measles
      Where’re you from? you wretched thing, wretched thing you

  3. Posted August 26, 2013 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    We have the same problem in the Netherlands, in certain parts of the country where the population contains a large percentage of orthodox-calvinists who oppose vaccinnation, we have a measles epidemic.

    • Felix
      Posted August 26, 2013 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      True. But in the Netherlands resistance not only arises from orthodox-Christians but according to statistics (RIVM & CBS) there is more resistance from anthroposophical(the Rudolf Steiner stuff) families.

      • Posted August 26, 2013 at 8:10 am | Permalink

        Absolutely true.

      • Joris M
        Posted August 26, 2013 at 9:04 am | Permalink

        Very true. Although I believe the Calvinists have the additional risk that they choose to segregate to larger extent than the anthroposophists. Which would mean they have lower herd protection once a disease reaches the community.

        • Posted August 26, 2013 at 11:21 am | Permalink

          Yes, the calvinists do. That’s why the Dutch measles epidemic is concentrated in the Dutch bible belt.

        • Posted August 26, 2013 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

          I know that it is customary usage, but it always seemed to me that the term “herd protection” was a poor choice. Why couldn’t a term like group protection be used?

    • Ludo
      Posted August 26, 2013 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      -“…large percentage of orthodox-calvinists who oppose vaccinnation,…”
      More exactly: “..orthodox-calvinists PARENTS who oppose vaccination OT THEIR CHILDREN…”

      • Posted August 26, 2013 at 11:32 am | Permalink

        And that’s exactly what makes it sick.

  4. Posted August 26, 2013 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    “Many of the things that we have in medical practice now actually are things you can trace back into scripture.”

    Hamza, is that you?

  5. Sines
    Posted August 26, 2013 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    I don’t recall the exact passage where the Bible proscribes running water for a remedy. However, I do recall that that passage also extols the virtue of ritual sacrifice of birds as well.

    You’ll only ever hear the part about running water. The Christians conveniently leave out the blood rituals.

    • JohnnieCanuck
      Posted August 27, 2013 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      I’m going to guess you meant prescribe, because proscribe means to forbid, which is the opposite.

  6. towlesda
    Posted August 26, 2013 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    I grew up Pentecostal and most of my family still is. I was “drunk in the spirit” many times. Thankfully my child won’t be brought up this way.

    • moarscienceplz
      Posted August 26, 2013 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      ” I was “drunk in the spirit” many times.”

      Ooh, I bet that causes one doozy of a hangover. ;-)

  7. Hempenstein
    Posted August 26, 2013 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    I assume by now that we all know that chicken pox can come back later in life as shingles (I got my shot, have you if you’re over 60?), and I know that mumps, if contracted once past childhood can be far more serious, but are there any such issues with measles?

    What I’m thinking about here are those un-vaccinated who might avoid getting it in childhood and then go off as a missionary to eg Indonesia in, say, their 20’s. Would measles then be far more catastrophic to them?

    • Posted August 26, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      SSPE is the most dreaded complication, and is more common in kids. Pneumonia is the deadliest and is worse for young children and older adults. All preventable with a shot, which has NO association with the development of autism.

  8. Posted August 26, 2013 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    “I’m sure foreign readers will be puzzled at this video, though American readers will take the religious insanity in stride.”

    I don’t think I can take this in stride!! I thought I’d seen weird shit in church, but this is just disturbing.

  9. Posted August 26, 2013 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    //

  10. sponge bob
    Posted August 26, 2013 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    “WTF?!” is the only proper reaction to that vide. LMAO!

  11. Posted August 26, 2013 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    I apologize for the length of my comment, but this post highlights that the ‘enemy’ of reason and knowledge isn’t just religion per se but anyone who supports and tolerates a methodology that is clearly broken, namely, the empowerment and public acceptance of any faith-based belief (an acceptance demonstrated by offering unjustified respect rather than justified and sustained criticism of those who exercise it.I’m talking to you, accommodationists.)

    Into the category of faith-based beliefs can be everything from religion to anti-vaccination, conspiracies to astrology, alternative medicine to Winfrey/Chopra/eepak/Dr. Oz-ian woo. Belief in these is all of a kind, and the root is faith- rather than evidence-based belief… a method of thinking that elevates possibility to be equivalent to probability, meaning that it’s a way to elevate any belief in something to be the same weight in consideration as not having belief in it. In other words, it’s a way to make any faith-based belief seem as reasonable as not believing… one either believes in alien abductions, for example, (by entertaining the possibility) or one does not (by seeming to be closed-minded when there is no compelling evidence in its favour). See? Equivalent: six of one, a half dozen of the other. How very reasonable and open-minded we are and not followers of scientism like those intolerant, strident, and militant folk who are Doin’ it Rong!

    What’s lost, of course, is any meaningful way, a methodology we can trust, to allow reality to arbitrate the faith-based belief because the weight of evidence (supporting or not supporting the belief) plays no important role; the equivalency is already clearly established by believers, which is why any possible evidence for the most ludicrous of beliefs is drafted into service and used as if equivalent to the array of evidence contrary to them combined with the absence of compelling evidence where it should be if the belief were true. In this sense, the use of evidence (aka reality) by the faith-based believer is only used in service to the belief, whereas in every other area of life we know enough to allow our beliefs to be in the service of reality… if we wish to function successfully in it.

    Any method of inquiry that refuses to allow reality to adjudicate claims made about it is a guaranteed way to fool one’s self. Believers in faith-based beliefs fool themselves (along with the tacit approval of accommodationists who decide the appearance of being tolerant of foolishness is a higher standard of intellectual integrity than respecting reality to inform our beliefs about it). But it doesn’t end here and this is the point accommodationsits fail to appreciate. A measles outbreak doesn’t just threaten those foolish enough not to vaccinate; it threatens both the non vaccinated AND the vaccinated! This is unconscionable stupidity and social irresponsibility in the face of spreading a very real disease because of acting on a faith-based belief. As if believing in such faith-based foolishness weren’t bad enough, acting on this foolishness carries with it a demonstrable cost to all of us that causes real harm to real people in real life. Faced with this reality, I must ask: where did all these ‘reasonable’ accommodationists suddenly go? This where the rubber meets the road of why respecting faith-based beliefs by accommodationists is a public threat to the health and welfare of all of us.

    • Hempenstein
      Posted August 26, 2013 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      Your last two sentences nail it. (And, as a Fords & Firestone guy, I particularly like the last one.)

      • moarscienceplz
        Posted August 26, 2013 at 10:52 am | Permalink

        There’s a joke about a town where the local Lovers’ Lane was nicknamed Firestone Highway because it was where the rubber met the road. ;-p

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted August 27, 2013 at 8:07 am | Permalink

          British terminology used to be less subtle.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted August 28, 2013 at 2:47 am | Permalink

            But they’ve *all* been renamed, every single one. I’m so disappointed…

    • Abie
      Posted September 9, 2013 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      The most faith-based systems I can think of are beliefs in vaccination [and conventional
      medicine in general ,for that matter], macro-evolution, and possibly, from what I’ve seen firsthand and on this and other fora, is being British. You guys seem COMPLETELY and UTTERLY sold on your spoon-fed childlike beliefs in “Mr. Science” [neo-gnosticism in possibly its worst ever manifestation] and that ones’ deeply caring nature as it respects your own [credulous,lamb-like]selves. Witness the harrumphing “Heah Heah!”s, the “righteous” anger greeting the recent all-too-successful smear-campaign against homeopathy. [Hint- You should try it. It works.] Re-read your Orwell on public malleability. It was based on actual knowledge.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted September 10, 2013 at 5:04 am | Permalink

        I’m sorry, was there a coherent sentence in there somewhere? I think I detect a lot of sarcasm but it’s hard to be certain. :)

        • Abie
          Posted September 10, 2013 at 11:41 am | Permalink

          Yep to coherent sentence question. Sarcasm? Nope.

          • Abie
            Posted September 10, 2013 at 11:48 am | Permalink

            Wait, sorry, this was meant sarcastically: “Mr. Science” and that ones’ deeply caring nature as it respects your own selves.

  12. still learning
    Posted August 26, 2013 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Having already had the measles as a child, no one was concerned when I had a rash several years later. It was German measles. One of the neighbor boys had a cage full of hamsters that I loved to play with. So, here I am, sharing the measles with the critters. Needless to say, the hamsters didn’t survive. I still feel bad about that.

    • MKray
      Posted August 26, 2013 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      German Measles, Rubella, is quite a separate disease.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted August 27, 2013 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      Yeah I had rubella as a kid too before they had the vaccine. I should get the MMR vaccine because I don’t think I was vaccinated as it came after my time and now that there is a growing group of non vaccinators I’m at risk.

  13. darrelle
    Posted August 26, 2013 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    They may be happy to suffer whatever pleasures their god sees fit to visit on them, but it is not very nice of them to contribute to the suffering of others that don’t share their Self Flagellant fantasies. Not to mention those that are too young to be capable of making an informed choice, or even allowed to make one if they could.

    Deluded, ignorant, attention seeking and selfish. Same MO as usual.

  14. DrBrydon
    Posted August 26, 2013 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    How do they deal with the fact that people who don’t put their faith in god, and get vaccinated, while the ones who trust god get sick? Did god decide it didn’t need to test the faith of the faithless?

    From Ecclesiasticus 38:1 (canon for RCC, apocropha for Protestants):

    Hold the physician in honor, for he is essential to you, and God it was who established his profession.

  15. squidmaster
    Posted August 26, 2013 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    Measles in Seattle this weekend, also. The woo followers on the left and the wingnuts on the right come together to create epidemics.

    • gbjames
      Posted August 26, 2013 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      Yes. An ironic shame.

  16. Martin H.
    Posted August 26, 2013 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    not only religious people oppose vaccination these days but there is a growing opposition even from many young and well educated people, esp. women fearing about the bad consequeces of vaccination thanks to current myths surrounding it(autism etc.). Few days ago we had these arguments and they really seem to worry about the risks for their child.

  17. tony bryant
    Posted August 26, 2013 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Vaccination has consigned two diseases to history- smallpox and the cattle disease rinderpest. It could also have eliminated polio but for the actions of Muslim clergy who have forbidden it in Afghanistan.
    I await a vaccination to eliminate religion, surely a disease which has caused more deaths than any virus or bacteria.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted August 27, 2013 at 8:10 am | Permalink

      the actions of Muslim clergy who have forbidden it in Afghanistan.

      Northern Nigeria too, though I think there’s a complicating factor of a war of secession there too. Not that that excuses it in the slightest.

  18. Posted August 26, 2013 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Here’s a “Modest Proposal”: Whenever someone turns up sick with a disease preventable by vaccination, they visit as many religious groups that don’t believe in vaccination as possible, while they are in the infectious stage, and have the congregation pray for them. If no one else gets sick, this can be proclaimed as an endorsement of their cult by their deity. If there are outbreaks/deaths, then the cult publicly drops their anti-vaccination stance. Any takers?

    • moarscienceplz
      Posted August 26, 2013 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      I appreciate the “hoist by his own petard” sentiment, but remember that these congregations usually have a lot of children whose only misdeed was to choose the wrong kind of parents. Here’s my proposal: All religious institutions should receive the same treatment as strip clubs and porn shops – no one under 18 is allowed to enter.

      • Cliff Melick
        Posted August 26, 2013 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

        Now that’s reasonable!

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted August 27, 2013 at 8:17 am | Permalink

        the same treatment as strip clubs and porn shops – no one under 18 is allowed to enter.

        Same charges too?
        I found it moderately amusing when working in Holland, that the newspaper shop in the small market town where I got my newspaper kept the “top shelf” magazines on the bottom shelf of the racks. I asked the shop keeper why one day – apparently, the school children used to climb up the shelves to get the porn mags, so they put them on the bottom shelf to avoid the kids hurting themselves. Or damaging the shelving.

  19. Graham
    Posted August 26, 2013 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    “I’m not sure where the Bible says, “Wash your hands after defecating or tending the sick.” Can someone enlighten me? For God, in his omniscience, surely could have passed on that wisdom if he either wrote or inspired the Bible. How many lives it would have saved!”

    I often think that when Christians extol the virtues of the 10 Commandments. Instead of wasting the first three on narcissistic ranting (“thou shalt have no other gods…) why not give us a few clues about how to avoid disease? That would have been nice, and surely not too much to expect of a supposedly loving and omniscient deity.

    • ladyatheist
      Posted August 26, 2013 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      I was so disappointed when I found out that sex through a hole in a sheet is a myth. I so want to believe that lice are strictly a problem of the goyim

  20. @eightyc
    Posted August 26, 2013 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    lol.

    Jesus didn’t convert water into wine.

    He IS the wine that gets every Christian crunked.

    lol.

  21. Mattapult
    Posted August 26, 2013 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Does Kenneth Copeland advocate faith healing? What a great opportunity to prove Gods glory! Bring it on if you can.

    As for Persons, doesn’t the bible say mentrating women cannot enter the temple. I bet she doesn’t skip the pulpit every fourth week.

  22. ladyatheist
    Posted August 26, 2013 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    And in Africa, a Pentecostal preacher is telling people to stop taking their AIDS medication!

  23. ladyatheist
    Posted August 26, 2013 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    At the risk of committing meme necromancy, I offer “Harlem Shake, Pentecostal Style” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9zDLqTMFOM

  24. Daryl
    Posted August 26, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    I think most of the commandments in the Torah about handwashing and purity are more to do with being clean in the eyes of God rather than any benefit it might have given humans beings. I have heard apologists (Christian ones, mostly) ‘argue’ that God was in actual fact providing top notch hygiene advice in the guise of these esoteric religious rituals, but that seems an obvious rationalisation (if it can even be called that!) based on a modern understanding of science and health (germ theory, etc) and a desperate need to make the bible predict scientific discovery thousands of years before anyone else.

    I’m also pretty sure Muslim apologists do the same thing for the Qu’ran.

    • Dale Franzwa
      Posted August 26, 2013 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

      I saw a documentary on Public TV a few years back about building the ancient Roman baths. The program mentioned that the Romans did not have soap back in those days. My guess is that would have been true throughout that entire region. Washing your hands with no soap might have helped some but, I would think, not much.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted August 27, 2013 at 3:19 am | Permalink

        However, regular bathing may well have helped reduce all sorts of skin complaints (besides making them smell better).

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted August 27, 2013 at 8:21 am | Permalink

          The Romans would only change the water in the baths every few days at best. The water would get quite rancid, particularly the warm bath.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted August 27, 2013 at 8:38 am | Permalink

        Roman practice was to be rubbed down with olive oil, then scraped down with a strigil (curved metal scraper ; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Roman_-_Strigil_-_Walters_541926.jpg ) then into the baths themselves. I can’t remember if they went hot to cold or vice versa.
        Since the Egyptians at least knew of the de-fatting properties of natron (natural sodium carbonates, a weak alkali), I wouldn’t be surprised if other groups had some knowledge of soap making.
        Indeed, Wiki informs me that Pliny the Elder (the one that died investigating the Pompeii eruption) mentions soap making.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted August 27, 2013 at 9:32 am | Permalink

          Yes, they saved the oil too afterwards. Yuck. Even if you aren’t putting it on your salad and must making candles that’s gross.

          • Posted August 27, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

            Yes… didn’t they think that the hairy, smelly bacteria-laden mess that resulted had some kind of life-giving, curative properties or something like that?

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted August 27, 2013 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

              I don’t think so, I think they were just cheap :) I can’t recall if slaves were saving it so maybe they just wanted to reuse it.

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted August 28, 2013 at 2:34 am | Permalink

                I think maybe I’ll retract my comment about regular bathing…. :(

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted August 28, 2013 at 7:29 am | Permalink

                Ha ha well the Romans didn’t know about germs but the baths did keep them pretty healthy.

  25. Posted August 26, 2013 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    One is regrettably tempted to invoke the spirit of the Darwin Awards.

    • Hempenstein
      Posted August 26, 2013 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

      I think to qualify for a Darwin, you have to die of some act of your own stupidity. It doesn’t count if the stupidity is transferred by proxy, as it were, to someone else, particularly if the someone else is of the minor persuasion.

  26. MikeN
    Posted August 26, 2013 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

    “As I’ve said before, one death from such religious dogma is a horrible thing, but there have been many, particularly in Muslim countries whose residents are suspicious of vaccination as some kind of Western plot.”

    Then again, sometimes it is some kind of Western plot:

    “In its zeal to identify bin Laden or his family, the CIA used a sham hepatitis B vaccination project to collect DNA in the neighborhood where he was hiding.
    ….
    The misguided vaccine program in Pakistan was started in a poor neighborhood of Abbottabad, no doubt to give it an air of legitimacy. Yet after the first in a standard series of three hepatitis B shots was given, the effort was abandoned so that the team could move to bin Laden’s wealthier community.”

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=how-cia-fake-vaccination-campaign-endangers-us-all

    Incredibly morally irresponsible move- Yes, the Islamists were guilty of spreading crazy rumors before this- but then along comes the CIA to give them credibility.

  27. Matt
    Posted August 27, 2013 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Reminds me of the joke:

    A religious man is on top of a roof during a great flood. A man comes by in a boat and says “get in, get in!” The religous man replies, ” no I have faith in God, he will grant me a miracle.”

    With the water at about chest high, another boat comes to rescue him, but he turns down the offer again cause “God will grant me a miracle.”

    With the water at chin high, a helicopter throws down a ladder and they tell him to get in, he again turns down the request for help and drowns. He arrives at the gates of heaven with broken faith and says to Peter, “I thought God would grant me a miracle and I have been let down.” St. Peter chuckles and responds, “I don’t know what you’re complaining about, we sent you two boats and a helicopter.”

    For those that believe in God (and I don’t), why wouldn’t vaccinations count as “God” providing the power to heal?

    • Posted August 27, 2013 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

      The same deluded Christians that think that vaccinations are God providing the power to heal are the ones that tell that story — not as a joke, but as inspiration. In some, uh… more incendiary places on the web, posting that joke is a bannable offense.

      Which reminds me of another inspirational story…

      …where I dreamed I was traveling a beach with the Lord.
      Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
      In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.
      At first there were two sets of footprints.
      But later, just one set of footprints.
      This bothered me because I noticed that after my accident
      When I was suffering from anguish, sorrow, or defeat,
      I could see only one set of footprints.
      So I said to the Lord, “You promised me, Lord,
      That if I followed you, you would walk with me always.
      But I noticed that during the most trying periods of my life
      There have only been one set of prints in the sand.
      Why, When I have needed you most, you have not been there for me?”
      The Lord replied,
      “It’s because I don’t heal double amputees, you dipshit.”

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted August 28, 2013 at 2:33 am | Permalink

      I really do like that joke. It’s one of those rare ones that atheists can find as funny as religious people do.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted August 28, 2013 at 2:40 am | Permalink

        … [having just read Anonypuss's comment] ..
        “as funny as religious people who have any trace of sanity left, do.”
        There, fixed it.

  28. Posted August 31, 2013 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on JerBear's Queer News, Views & Memories and commented:
    This mirrors a story I posted about a measles outbreak in The Netherlands’ “bible belt”where a Protestant Sect refused to vaccinate their children resulting in an horrific outbreak of German Measles aka Rubella.


3 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] What’s going on? There has been a very steep decrease in the rate of vaccinations recently, particularly (but I want to stress not only) within communities of affluent, well-educated parents. [UPDATE: Keep in mind that there's considerable diversity among anti-vaccine proponents. A conservative religious community here in Texas, opposed to vaccines because "faith should be enough", is currently experiencing an outbreak of measles]. […]

  2. […] Measles back again, thanks to religion […]

  3. […] in Texas traced back to a mega-church and non vaccinated children.  Coyne titled his post, “Measles back again, thanks to religion,” and gave us information about the outbreak, the response from church authorities and its […]

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 29,603 other followers

%d bloggers like this: