More deaths caused by religion: 12 states exempt religious services from

1 Like

I’m rather surprised. I wonder if this is a problem of definition. He lists Michigan–we have had all churches and “operations” closed since fairly early on UPDATE: MI Governor announces shelter-in-place order as COVID-19 cases climb
I don’t know of any churches meeting in our state. There is considerable peer pressure against congregating here, and all the religious folks (including my YEC church) enforce it, to my knowledge. My coworker, who is a pastor’s wife was livid about people in another state who advocated continuing to meet. Her response was, “So, I assume you’re going to donate your ventilator to your congregation?”.


Michigan also makes exceptions for operations, religious and secular, that provide necessities for those in need. The state also does not subject places of worship to penalties for breaking orders when they are used for religious worship.

It looks to me as though they’re saying that they allow churches to do charity gatherings. Hm–this may be food pantries, probably subject to the same sort of rules as restaurants and others that are allowed takeout. I’d have to look that up. At any rate, all the Catholic and Protestant churches I know of have been closed for about 3 weeks.


1 Like

That is unfortunate.

I was just on a Christian radio show encouraging pastors to cancel services.


I know of churches which called off their services even before they were ordered to do so by new regulations. So would that be described as “more deaths prevented by religion”?

1 Like

No because the deaths were prevent by good secular health policy. No religion suggested any social distancing. Religious groups are the only groups I am aware of specifically rebelling against the common sense social distancing requirements.

1 Like

Then you aren’t paying attention to the news. Here’s just a few of the other groups who rebelled against “the common sense social distancing requirements”:

(1) Spring break beach-loving college kids in Florida. [No, they weren’t all doing so for “religious” reasons.]

(2) Various state governors, mayors, and city councils. [No, they aren’t all doing so for “religious” reasons.]

(3) Libertarians. [No, they aren’t all doing so for “religious” reasons.]

(4) Sweden. [No, they aren’t all doing so for “religious” reasons.]

Surely you don’t consider Sweden a very religious country, do you? Perhaps you should start a new thread entitled “More deaths caused by non-religious people—including millions in Sweden!” (This is especially funny because I’ve seen so many atheist websites over the years praising Sweden as one of their favorite non-religious countries!)

Yes, it looks like you are once again cherry-picking, @Patrick! (Is the nation of Sweden a “specific” enough “group” for you? Or does just one cherry-picked pastor example in a Fox News report outweigh an entire nation? :wink: )

I’ll help you out and start that new thread now:


If she was literally covered in Jesus’s blood, would that qualify as PPE?

That tells me that you’ve never read the Book of Leviticus. Read about quarantines, sanitation, and related health regulations. Yes, you can thank “religion” for those helpful guidelines.


Isn’t lack-of-education as much or more to blame here? There are plenty of religious people staying home because they understand the risks and the cause.


Oh yes, the book of Leviticus is a great reference in how to handle a viral pandemic in a global technological, scientific and secular society. I am sure that Dr. Fauci, the CDC, and the WHO are refering to the book of Leviticus each day to come up with sound public health policies to limit the spread of COVID 19. This is where religion is harmful. The book of Leviticus provides NOTHING to handling a global viral pandemic in the 21 century. Wash your hands, practice social distancing like Jesus has been doing for 2000 years. I wish that the city of Lakewood, NJ would follow the CDC guideline instead of their orthodox leaders.

1 Like

Sweden may have chosen the wrong path.

See More deaths caused by non-religious people: millions in Sweden (which I started tongue-in-cheek in response to your thread) and especially an informative report from a Swede who encourages us to dig deeper:

1 Like

Leviticus 11:13-19
13 These are the birds you are to regard as unclean and not eat because they are unclean: the eagle, the vulture, the black vulture, 14 the red kite, any kind of black kite, 15 any kind of raven, 16 the horned owl, the screech owl, the gull, any kind of hawk, 17 the little owl, the cormorant, the great owl, 18 the white owl, the desert owl, the osprey, 19 the stork, any kind of heron, the hoopoe and the bat.

Never mind the inclusion with birds. Score one.

1 Like

Oh my. We’ve covered this one on Peaceful Science many times. (@Patrick no doubt remembers. That’s probably why he liked Ron Sewell’s post. :wink: ) It’s probably time for another refresher on this one.

The Hebrew word OPH (עוֹף) means “winged-creatures.” OPH animals fly through the air. Does anyone doubt that bats are winged-creatures? I hope not.

The vast majority of the time, the OPH instances in the Hebrew Old Testament overlap with the English word bird. As a result, Bible translators tend to render OPH as “bird” for clarity and flow—because modern day English speakers rarely use the term “winged creature.” Translation is an art where one must always walk a fine line between accuracy, clarity, simplicity, and flow. Language and communication is not about technical description according to some arbitrary and pedantic external standard. Few people apply those arbitrary standards to their own language so it makes even less sense to apply them condescendingly to people in other cultures, especially ancient ones.

Linguists sometimes cite Hebrew OPH and English bird as examples of word pairs in a source-language and a target-language which have differing semantic domains. If I could easily create a Venn diagram here, the English word bird semantic domain would be shown as inside and surrounded by the Hebrew OPH semantic domain. That’s because OPH refers to a larger set of animals than does the English word bird. But it is close enough to make “bird” a reasonable translation.

To recklessly impose a modern scientific taxonomic term (such as “avian”) on an ancient language and culture would make no sense. In fact, it makes no sense even in modern languages and cultures today! We don’t expect our modern languages to be scientifically taxonomic at all times. That is, should modern day English speakers be ridiculed for also ignoring taxonomic classifications in their daily speech? I’ve heard my scientist friends refer to their children’s pet guinea pigs, even though they surely know that a cavy is NOT a taxonomic pig. And do English speakers today believe that a badminton shuttlecock is truly a live birdie? I don’t think so. Worse yet, lots of modern English speakers apply the word bug to insects in general—even though entomologists restrict the term to insects within the order Hemiptera. Should they be ridiculed? Obviously, the word bug has a semantic domain that encompasses more than one meaning, and we don’t expect “bug” to have the same meaning in a casual English conversation as it has in an entomology journal.

By the way, when OPH is accompanied by the Hebrew word SHERETZ (“creeping things”), it refers to winged insects. Is anyone going to complain about that one? Ron? Patrick?

Score “minus one”?

POSTSCRIPT: @swamidass, if Peaceful Science should ever create a PRATT section, I’d like the ol’ “Bats ain’t birds!” trope included.


Agree fully. Didn’t mean to open any old wounds. The point of these verses has nothing to do about taxonomy; rather, among other creatures, don’t eat bats. In view of the present global circumstances which seems to have originated in Chinese wet markets, as well as African experience with Ebola originating with bush meats including bats, this advice currently enjoys much hearty support.


Yes. I just had to have some fun with it.

Despite @Patrick’s doubts, the Levitical Code has lots of good advice for human health. The ancient Hebrews’ pork ban no doubt prevented a lot of cases of trichinosis. The sanitation standards powerfully reduced cholera and a host of other public health threats. (Most European cities did not embrace these human waste disposal goals until just a few generations ago.) Avoiding the consumption of blood, the meat of scavenger birds, and following many other KOSHER food regulations are well-regarded maxims among epidemiologists today. We’ve covered these topics on Peaceful Science as well but this is a good review for @Patrick. :wink:

1 Like

In regard to @Patrick’s list of headlines from the Friendly Atheist (see above) showing “we are all in danger”, here’s a fun story:

And here’s another interesting look at atheist criticisms of religion: