I'm getting very tired of reading about this, or that, or the other preacher/clergy/rabbi/imam/whatever who's claiming that this, or that, or the other act of faith (usually accompanied by an impressive donation to the speaker) will protect believers from the coronavirus pandemic. They've been encountered all over the world, in almost every religion or sect. The latest one I've seen comes from England.
A faith healer has been accused of "exploiting" people's anxiety about the coronavirus crisis by selling a "plague protection kit" for £91 [about US $113].
Bishop Climate Wiseman, head of the Kingdom Church in Camberwell, south London, has promised his followers the small bottle of oil and piece of red yarn will protect them from Covid-19.
In a blog post, Bishop Wiseman claimed his concoction of cedar wood, hyssop and scarlet yarn acts as "an invisible barrier to the powers of darkness".
He wrote: "It is by faith that you can be saved from the coronavirus pandemic by covering yourself with the divine plague protection oil and wearing the scarlet yarn on your body.
"That is why I want to encourage you, if you haven't done so already, to get your divine plague protection kit today!"
There's more at the link.
I have a suggestion to deal with all such charlatans. Make sure they have an ample supply of the snake oil they're selling. Given that, make them work as orderlies, in close contact with the sick, in emergency rooms and COVID-19 treatment facilities, without personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves, gowns, etc., for a minimum of two weeks. They're not allowed to leave under any circumstances - they work, eat, sleep and live there 24/7 until the two weeks are up. Their only protection against infection will be their particular brand of fake faith and whatever it is they're selling.
At the end of that time, they go into strict quarantine for another two weeks, to give any infection time to show itself. After that, if they're still healthy, they'll be allowed to go on their way. If their concoctions protect them against the coronavirus, all well and good. If they don't, it's their fault, and their claims will have been proven to be false. What's more, they get no treatment for COVID-19 if they catch it - only the "protection" offered by their snake oil. That'll prove its efficacy (or otherwise) the hard way.
Of course, if they object, and refuse to do this, that'll be prima facie evidence that their claims are false. After all, if they aren't prepared to put their money where their mouth is (or their body where their faith claims to be), why should we? They can then be prosecuted for fraud, bilking, or whatever comes to mind.
As a man of faith and former pastor, it's profoundly offensive to me to see such charlatans making money out of this tragedy. I think this suggestion would separate the wheat from the chaff with a vengeance. What say you, readers?