The Cult of Covidism Has Invaded the Church
What should have been a purely scientific response aimed at control and cure of a disease quickly evolved into the political-religious cult of Covidism. Objective scientific analysis of and responses to what is the contagious pathogen COVID-19 were almost immediately suffocated by a plethora of arbitrary pseudo-religious rituals.
The capitulation of the churches to rituals radically modifying and even antagonistic to Christian rites may be because the Church, continually rent by internal crises and scandals, did not recognize the rival religion when it appeared.
It may be that the budding religious cult prevailed rapidly because Covidism was purported to be based on science. But it is actually an offshoot of the religion of scientism, which elevates speculative metaphysics and mystery rituals on the basis of scientific-sounding but untested suppositions.
The result of the surprise appearance of Covidism has been that core doctrines of the Christian Church — Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant — have been severely compromised or even replaced by the enforcement of COVID-19 ritual cleansings coupled with liturgies and doctrines of the radical left.
Without much resistance or thought, most institutions, including the American Church, voluntarily capitulated to the cult's ritualistic regulatory minutiae.
The result is that in America, the land of the free, the land whose constitution guarantees freedom of religion and speech, the hollowness of much of the American Church has been revealed. With few exceptions, the leaders of the institution that claims allegiance to the Lion of Judah barely mewed, much less roared. Leaders of denominations that once defended the infallibility of the Bible as the Word of God began to take Bibles out of the pew racks out of fear that touching the book would infect the body of Christ.
As hand-sanitizer replaced holy water as a symbolic means of purifying potentially diseased worshippers, the sacrament of the Lord's Supper was sidelined or trivialized to the point of meaninglessness. Accession to fear of the god Invisible Virus found the sacrament discarded voluntarily — or, as has been the case in San Francisco, forbidden.
In many churches, the belief that the sacrament was essential to spiritual health was weakened or jettisoned altogether. Communion became a ritual radically changed by state laws regarding sanitization. Takeout communion was substituted, with the body and blood of Christ packaged much as fast food restaurants dispense ketchup. Revelatory of churches' capitulation to Prohibition, individual packets containing a crumb of unleavened bread also dispensed Concord grape juice rather than wine.
Christians past and present sometimes have followed strict regimens as a spiritual discipline. But those regimens were and still are almost always chosen. Few acolytes have observed such restrictions and rituals as have been foisted on worshipers in the name of "health" and "science."
But worse, Covidism's rituals of purification have been forcibly applied to the entirety of society.
Churched or unchurched, innocent or guilty, everyone is regarded as potentially diseased, the virus now considered as systemic and as lethal as sin was once assumed to be. Innocence and guilt have been redefined according to COVID-19. Everyman is now potentially infected or infector. Indeed, all society is guilty and must follow religious rituals designed to ward off contamination.
Christians or not, all are now forced to be materialists: for progressives, nothing is more presently meaningful than the material virus and its effects. Christians who once believed in the realities of the invisible spiritual world and who coveted the salutary effects of the invisible Holy Spirit on the soul must now repent by ritualistically exorcising the virus rather than the world, the flesh and the Devil.
California, always the canary in the coal mine when it comes to the religion of radical progressivism, has led in establishing the rituals of the new faith. Hymn books, communion, offering containers, pew Bibles, singing, hugging, and shaking hands are forbidden. Assembly of the faithful has been drastically limited and social distancing enforced.
Why has the Church capitulated so easily?
In the modern world, where emotion and passion are the authenticating virtues of political and religious movements, the priests of Covidism, allied with leaders of the radicalized left, are more committed to erasing rituals and icons of culture, dissolving authorities and riotous processions of faith than the Church is committed to preserving its sacred assemblies, hallowed rituals, essential symbols, holy scriptures, and pilgrimages.
The religious mania of the left knows no restrictions as the Church now puts on itself. Radicals have strutted their stuff almost unchecked, wallowing in orgies of destruction, all in the name of righteously purifying a terminally diseased society.
No one should be surprised that violence arises when the institution that is called to be the spiritual guide of the nation becomes paralyzed. When the Church's most holy practices are surrendered to the whims of Covidism, it is clear the Church no longer believes in its reasons for being the Church — hence the ease with which the Church is being overcome.
Those who do not mind or perhaps even cheer the paralysis or even the gutting of the Church should be aware that the devitalization of the Church is a mere prelude to further tyrannous actions. Enforced obedience to the doctrines and rituals of Covidism extends well beyond the Church to encompass all institutions.
Covidism is merely the spearpoint being utilized for total war. Coaxing or forcing capitulation to the new rituals supported by and enforced by state and city governments amounts to forced surrender, as surely as the Terror forced the French churches to capitulate to radical secularism.
Resistance to the new religion of Covidism will provide the left with excuses to tax American churches, hijack their pulpits in the name of political correctness, and take over parachurch entities such as hospitals and educational institutions — all in the name of collective health.
To re-word Adam Smith's warning concerning nations, there is great ruin in the Church. There has been and continues great ruin in other institutions who have wished to retain their foundational beliefs and integrity. There is much wealth in America's institutions, and radicalized governments utilizing Covidism as the initial weapon of control will prove to be omnivores not particularly picky about whom or what they eat. Much as the shrew paralyzes prey for future feasting, the paralysis of American institutions brought on by governors and mayors, coupled with the timorous obedience of most churches, invites the insurgents and the cooperating governments to the equivalent of Trimalchio's banquet.
In sum, Covidism is bolstered by emotional believe-ism unattached to real science and commonsense rationality. It is based on an ever fluctuating scientism requiring blind faith and obedience. As the new scientism issues conflicting messages and former paradigms of actual science are discarded; the COVID-19 religion stokes indeterminacy — an indeterminacy that cannot long stand, as no society can remain permanently ambivalent or in a state of continual upheaval.
The new cult of Covidism establishes rituals aimed at usurping the authoritative spirituality of the Church. The Church seems almost oblivious to the reality of the drastic changes in its very nature because it has allowed the fluctuating auguries of the shamans of scientism credibility and authority.
Resistance will require spiritual renewal. The Church must defend its symbols, rituals, and sacraments. It must desert the continually hovering and vacillation it has exhibited as it waits breathlessly for the latest word of the prophets of scientism.
As the Church repents of its capitulation, it needs to rededicate itself to the essentials of the faith it has maintained over 2,000 years.
It should renew its commitments to provide for its congregations, disciple its members, provide the rituals of the sacraments, reverentially bury its dead, and console the disconsolate and the penitent — without interference from any other entity.
Fay Voshell holds a M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary, where she was awarded the prize for excellence in systematic theology. Her thoughts have appeared as essays and quotes in many online magazines, including the Christian Post, Christianity Today, CBN, National Review, Russian Insider and American Thinker. She may be reached at email@example.com.