Korean religious right spreads coronavirus infection


This 17 August 2020 video says about itself:

South Korea sees biggest coronavirus outbreak in five months with cases linked to church protest

South Korea reported 279 new coronavirus cases on August 16, 2020, the biggest surge since March. The new infections centred around the Sarang Jeil Church led by Reverend Jun Kwang-hoon. The controversial right-wing pastor had encouraged his followers to join an anti-government protest in defiance of a ban on rallies.

From the BBC today:

South Korea church coronavirus cluster causes alarm

South Korea is dealing with its biggest daily jump in coronavirus cases in five months – with 279 cases reported on Sunday alone.

Many have been linked to the Sarang Jeil Church, whose pastor has been a vocal critic of [‘center left’] President Moon Jae-in.

Another church, the Shincheonji Church of Jesus was identified earlier this year as South Korea’s biggest virus cluster.

The controversial group was found to be linked to more than 5,200 cases.

What do we know about the current outbreak?

South Korea reported 279 new virus cases on Sunday – the first time since March that new daily infections had surpassed 200.

An additional 197 cases were reported on Monday – marking the fourth straight day where infection numbers were in the three-digit figures.

It brings the total number of cases in the country to 15,515.

At least 312 of the new cases have been linked to the Sarang Jeil Church, according to the Seoul metropolitan government, reported Yonhap News.

“Of [Sarang Jeil’s] 4,000 churchgoers… 3,400 have been placed in quarantine and 2,000 have been screened,” said Vice Health Minister Kim Ganglip in a Yonhap report.

“Of this, 312 have tested positive… a high positive rate of 16.1%.”

Mr Kim also criticised the church, saying its membership list was “inaccurate” and thus “there are difficulties in tracking down every church member”.

There has been considerable anger against the church, with more than 200,000 people signing an online petition calling for lead pastor Rev Jun Kwang-hoon to be detained, said Yonhap.

President Moon said the outbreak posed the biggest challenge to combat the virus since the cluster linked to the Shincheonji Church.

The leader of the Shincheonji Church, Lee Man-hee, was arrested earlier this month.

He is accused of hiding information about the group’s members and gatherings from contact tracers. …

What do we know about Sarang Jeil church?

Not so much is known about the Seoul-based church itself – though a lot more is known about its lead pastor Rev Jun Kwang-hoon.

The 63-year-old has for years been an outspoken government critic, and has reportedly led multiple anti-government rallies in Seoul.

On the weekend, he broke self-isolation rules by participating in a rally himself.

President Moon called out church members that had followed Mr Jun in the rally, saying they had taken part in an “unforgivable act that threatens the lives of the people”.

According to the Korean Herald, Mr Jun was heard telling his followers at a rally earlier this year that it was “patriotic to die from illness“, adding that “those who suffer from illness will be healed if they attend the rally”.

Mr Jun was charged with defamation earlier this year, after he called President Moon a spy for North Korea, reported Yonhap.

On Sunday, the Seoul city government said it would take action against Mr Jun for violating self-quarantine rules and hampering authorities’ efforts to constrain the spread of the virus.

South Korea currently limits indoor gatherings to 50 people and outdoor gatherings to 100 people.

It had been touted as a success story in dealing with Covid-19, after recording low numbers earlier this year.

It successfully used aggressive tracing and widespread testing to contain its first outbreak, but has seen persistent outbreaks in recent weeks.

Korean cult boss arrested for spreading coronavirus


This 17 September 2018 video says about itself:

Accused South Korean cult leader filmed beating her followers

Footage has emerged of a South Korean pastor beating and slapping her followers. The video also appears to show family members being encouraged to abuse each other. Pastor Shin Ok-ju led 400 of her followers from South Korea to Fiji where it is alleged she was using them to work without pay. Shin was arrested when she returned to Seoul from Fiji in August. The footage in this video was first aired by Seoul Broadcasting System’s investigative program ‘Unanswered Questions’.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

South Korean cult leader arrested for withholding information about outbreak

In South Korea, the leader of the Christian Shincheonji cult has been arrested. The 89-year-old Lee Man-hee is said to have withheld information about the outbreak in his sect in February.

The Shincheonji cult has been linked to 5,200 infections, 36 percent of all coronavirus cases in South Korea. According to the indictment, Lee refused to share information with the authorities about the 200,000 members and where they meet. This made it more difficult for health services to contain the outbreak.

Lee previously called the coronavirus “an act of the devil”, who supposedly wanted to put an end to the growth of his cult.

Thousands of Irish children in mass graves


This 15 July 2020 video says about itself:

Six years after from the discovery of 800 babies’ bodies in sewage tanks under a former [Roman Catholic religious] mother and baby home in the Irish town of Tuam, a state commission to investigate what really happened still has yet to report. But Tuam seems to be the tip of the iceberg.

Irish religious children’s mass graves scandal


This 9 June 2020 video says about itself:

Ireland’s Mother and Baby Scandal (Part 1) | People and Power

Content warning: Some viewers may find this film distressing

Six years ago, Catherine Corless, a local historian from County Galway in the Republic of Ireland, discovered that hundreds of babies and young children had died in a home for unmarried pregnant women, run by Roman Catholic nuns in her hometown of Tuam.

Further research revealed that many of the babies had died of malnutrition and other forms of neglect. Most of their bodies had been disposed of, officially unrecorded, in an old septic tank buried in the grounds of the home.

Angry survivors and relatives called for an investigation – for the remains to be exhumed, identified and properly buried, for compensation and immediate government action. Concerned families began to ask questions about other homes run by the Church in Ireland and how many other babies had died in equally mysterious circumstances.

In 2015, in response to publicity and pressure in Dail Eireann, the lower house of the Irish Parliament, the government announced it was setting up an official Commission of Investigation. The body was required to provide answers by 2018. Indeed, some modest interim findings have since been released, but two years since its official publication date, the full report has still not seen the light of day.

This June, partially in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the report was again delayed until October 2020.

In its absence, the suspicion, frustration and anger of relatives have mushroomed. And the once shameful secret of a single small rural town is developing into a broader and more profound national scandal; an affair which goes to the heart of the close relationship between successive Irish governments and the Catholic Church.

In two special episodes of People and Power, from filmmakers Callum Macrae, Mark Williams and Al Jazeera correspondent Laurence Lee, we investigate deeply disturbing allegations that both the Irish state and its religious orders were responsible for a systematic decades-long regime of institutional neglect and exploitation involving the death of thousands of children.

Florida COVID-19 denialist mother kills teenage daughter


This 6 July 2020 video about the USA says about itself:

Florida Teen Carsyn Davis Passes Away After QANON Mom Takes her to a COVID Party

QANON is an extreme right conspiracy theory.

Earlier today, outlets like Raw Story reported on the story of 16-year-old Carsyn Leigh Davis, who passed away after her mom took her to a church COVID party where there were 100 children without masks. Her mother Carole Brunton Davis then gave her medicines which were unprescribed by a doctor based on theories from Donald Trump and QANON. She also failed to allow her daughter access to a ventilator.

The church was apparently First Assembly of God Fort Myers.

A Pentecostalist fundamentalist church.

As a result of this, this young woman who was a cancer survivor was needlessly taken away. This is why we call out anti-science anti-mask Karens, and the damage they do, including to the children they are supposed to love and protect

COVID-19 infects United States Donald Trump supporters


This 24 March 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Pastor Holds Services Despite Coronavirus Outbreak

A pastor is receiving criticism for hold services despite the coronavirus outbreak, KDKA’s Ross Guidotti reports.

Translated from daily De Limburger in the Netherlands today, about that preacher:

Republican Tim Walters, co-founder of the ReOpen Maryland movement, now is infected by the coronavirus. Walters, who opposes corona measures in the US state, went to meetings and church services without facemasks in recent months.

In March, the Reverend Walters – who quotes Bible verses – suffered from a “dry cough.” On Thursday, he was found to be infected with the virus. …

The 53-year-old conservative says he has diabetes and his health is not too good. Despite his infection, Walters refuses to cooperate in a contact investigation or share personal information with government agencies.

At least one other Donald Trump-supporting and COVID-19 medical science denialist preacher has already died from the virus

Internet church services preferred to church buildings


This 24 May 2020 United States TV video is called Chicago faith leaders split on reopening churches after Trump’s request.

United States President Trump, Brazilian President Bolsonaro and right-wing preachers make a big fuss that churches should reopen.

According to them, having religious services on the internet instead of in jampacked church buildings supposedly violates freedom of religion.

In fact, Trump and Bolsonaro have economic rather than religious motives. They want people to go to unsafe church buildings in order to make it easier to drive them to unsafe factory halls, unsafe distribution centres etc, to work to make billionaires even richer.

The far-right preachers insisting on reopening church buildings have economic motives as well. It is possible to contribute financially to a church through the internet. However, these preachers estimate that having the faithful in COVID-19 contagion prone jampacked church buildings with peer pressure may yield more financial benefits for them. Eg, for buying private planes.

In Germany, churches reopened on 1 May. Shortly afterwards, over 100 people became ill with COVID-19 after a Baptist church service.

In California in the USA, Governor Gavin Newsom ramps up reopening despite serious public health threats. Newsom is accelerating the re-opening of the state, allowing resumption of business for shopping malls, dine-in restaurants, and large gatherings, despite the enormous dangers of COVID-19.

Despite governor’ green light, California synagogues will mostly stay closed.

Trump’s Push To Open Churches Contradicts Jesus’ Teaching To Love Neighbors, Clergy Say. Loving your neighbor means keeping them out of harm’s way, Rev. William Barber said — joining other faith leaders criticizing Trump’s push to reopen churches: here.

Now, translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

Online Church Services More Popular Than Physical Services

The number of people who watch an online church service is often much higher than the number of churchgoers in normal times, according to a study by [Protestant Christian daily] Trouw. Since the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis, many churches broadcast their services on Sundays.

Trouw sent a questionnaire to almost 250 congregations and parishes, of which about ninety replied. Some churches have several dozen more church attendants, others hundreds. Protestant digital services are doing particularly well.

An important explanation for its popularity is the accessibility, Mirella Klomp of the Protestant Theological University told the newspaper. “People who do not like to go to church buildings, or who do not come for health reasons, can join easily.”

German restaurant, church, coronavirus epicentres


This 24 May 2020 German TV video is about the COVID-19 outbreaks after a party at a restaurant and a church service.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

The number of corona infections after a party in a restaurant in the German town of Leer has risen to eighteen. Seven infections were reported on Saturday. The number of quarantined people has risen to 118, local authorities report.

Fourteen infected people attended a private party at the restaurant on May 15. Four others have been infected through them. They all come from the area of ​​Leer, which is just across the border of Dutch Groningen. The restaurant also received guests on May 16, 17 and 20.

Some of the people who have to be quarantined already show coronavirus symptoms. Part of the management of the nearby big shipyard Meyer must also be kept in isolation, because the personnel chief was present at the party.

Shake hands

Visitors to the party say that in the restaurant anti-coronavirus rules were broken. Eg, guests or staff are said to have shaken hands, kept insufficient distance and did not wear a mask, even though the rules said they had to.

According to German media, the restaurant boss may also have made mistakes with the guest list, so it is not clear who has been inside. Eg, candidates coming for job interviews interviewed in the restaurant are said to not have been registered.

Fine

The local authorities are investigating the reports. The restaurant may be fined € 25,000. …

A [Baptist] church service in Frankfurt has also led to a corona outbreak. The service was on May 10 and it is now known that 107 people have been infected.

On 1 May, anti-coronavirus rules for religious services had been relaxed.

High COVID-19 infection rates among doctors and nurses in Germany. By Markus Salzmann, 25 May 2020. According to the public health body Robert Koch Institute, more than 20,000 workers in German hospitals, doctors’ practices, nursing homes and care services are now infected.

German church service infects over 100 people


This video from the USA says about itself:

Contact Tracings Show Risk Of Coronavirus Spread Through Churches | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC

Rachel Maddow looks at how contact tracings have taught us that church gatherings have been a particular point of vulnerability for the spread of coronavirus in the United States, a fact not changed by Donald Trump’s posturing.

Aired on 05/22/2020.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio about Germany today:

Not 40 but 107 people infected after church service in Frankfurt

After a church service in Frankfurt, 107 people became infected with the coronavirus. That was announced by the Minister of Health. Yesterday it was reported that it concerned forty people.

People come from Frankfurt and the surrounding area. The service was on May 10.

On May 1, public health restrictions on religious gatherings had been lifted.

German church reopened, dozens infected


This 3 March 2020 video from South Korea says about itself:

COVID-19: Seoul’s mayor sues Shincheonji Church of Jesus leaders over spike in cases

The mayor of Seoul, Park Won-soon, is suing South Korea’s Shincheonji Church of Jesus over the spike of COVID-19 cases in the country. There are now more than 4,800 confirmed cases of the virus in South Korea, and about half are linked to the church. CNA’s Lim Yun Suk with more.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

More than 40 people have been tested positive for the coronavirus after a church service on May 10 in Frankfurt, reports German news agency DPA. …

Religious meetings have been allowed under certain conditions since May 1 in the state of Hesse, where Frankfurt is located.