In a service delivered to an empty church but streamed online, Copeland, founder of the Texas-based Kenneth Copeland Ministries, summoned the “wind of God” to defeat the pandemic sweeping the world.
Surrounded by just four of his followers, Copeland thundered: “Wind, almighty, strong, south wind, heat: Burn this thing, in the name of Jesus. Satan, you bow your knees. You fall on your face.
“COVID-19,” he says, before blowing at the camera, “I blow the wind of God on you. You are destroyed forever.”
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Copeland preaches an evangelical interpretation of the Bible, with his website talking of the “sinful desires” and “unnatural affection” of homosexuality.
A staunch supporter of President Trump, he previously suggested at a church service in mid-March that hatred directed at Trump had opened the door to the pandemic.
“This disease called COVID-19 will be over much sooner than you think,” he claimed. “Christian people all over this country praying have overwhelmed it.
“There’s been some really nasty things that have happened this year—last year and this year—that I’m quite certain—well, I know—opened the door to a lot of this,” Copeland said. “Displays of hate and hatred by politicians toward the president. And hate on both sides. The Democrats hate him, and we have some people that hate them because they hate him.”
Copeland and his wife, Gloria, have served on Trump’s Evangelical advisory board.
Copeland is far from being the only person of faith to offer unorthodox methods of healing. Fellow televangelist Jim Bakker was recently sent a cease and desist letter by authorities after he tried to sell a silver solution online that he claimed could cure the virus.
Like Copeland, Franklin Graham also suggested to Fox News this weekend that COVID-19 was due to the fact, “Man has turned his back on God, we have sinned against him.”
Meanwhile, in Brazil, the country’s notoriously anti-gay President, Jair Bolsonaro, in response to a request from evangelical Christian, set aside yesterday (Sunday) as a national day of prayer and fasting to “free Brazil from this evil” coronavirus epidemic.
“With the pastors and religious leaders we will call for a day of fasting by Brazilians so that Brazil can free itself from this evil as soon as possible,” he later said on radio station Jovem Pan.
As of yesterday, there have been over 337,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the US and 9,643 deaths. Officials, including Trump, have said the next two weeks are likely to see a further increase in deaths. Most states have issued stay-at-home orders to curb the spread of infection.