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Antigay, anti-mask pastor checks into ICU for COVID-19

An antigay pastor from Idaho who ignored public health orders and reopened his church in early May for in-person services, during which he discouraged congregants from wearing masks, has checked into an ICU after developing COVID-19.

Paul Van Noy is the senior pastor at Candlelight Christian Fellowship in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, a non-denominational church that opposes same-sex marriage and masturbation and compares homosexuality to bestiality, stopping just short of saying anyone who engages in such behaviors should be put to death.

A spokesperson for Candlelight Christian Fellowship says Van Noy has spent the past two weeks hooked up to an oxygen machine in a hospital bed while his wife, Brenda, who also contracted the virus, has been recovering at home. Five other church staff members have also been infected.

The spokesperson adds that Van Noy has no idea how he contracted the virus, although it really doesn’t seem like that big of a mystery.

In a July 17 Facebook post, Van Noy told followers that his church would not comply with a local mask mandate, writing:

I have said here at Candlelight, ‘If a person wants to wear a mask they should be allowed to do so. However, if they don’t, that’s ok too.’ We will not close down our church, we will not stop singing praises to the Lord, and we will not be required to wear masks or refrain from allowing those who wish to wear one the opportunity.

When asked about this, the church spokesperson said, “We all have different opinions and approaches about things.”

In a recent Facebook post, Brenda Van Noy took a break from sharing Fox News clips and peddling QAnon conspiracy theories to say she underestimated the coronavirus.

“I haven’t taken this Covid seriously enough. I’m humbled,” she wrote. “Please take this serious. Pray for healing. Love each other. Pray for those who have lost loved ones because of this EVIL virus!”

We pray Van Noy makes a full recovery from COVID-19. And, once he does, we pray that he makes a full recovery from his homophobia, as well.

Related: Preachers gone wild: 5 religious leaders who refused to cancel church services (and one who died)