Hey, guess who MSNBC and the New York Times think are to blame for the coronavirus? If you guessed Christians, you’re right! Author and journalist Katherine Stewart joined MSNBC Live host Ayman Mohyeldin on Friday to push an argument she made last week in the New York Times that the real bad guys of the coronavirus pandemic currently that is impacting the entire world are members of “the religious right.”
Also using the scary sounding, but ill-defined phrase “religious nationalism,” Mohyeldin asked, “You’re arguing there’s more to the responses we’re seeing which is religious nationalism. You have a New York Times op-ed titled ‘The Religious Right’s Hostility to Science is Crippling our Coronavirus Response.’ Walk us through you thinking a little bit. What do you mean by that?”
Before widely condemning an entire religious movement, Stewart laughably claimed, “My concern here is not with any particular religious creed, but with a political movement that often cloaks itself in religious rhetoric.”
She then tried to provide evidence for her assertion that “there are a number of ways in which the religious right bears some responsibility for the current incompetence in our national response.” She claimed, “First and foremost the movement promotes an anti-science culture that rejects the evidence of science, rejects expertise and critical thinking, and that has obviously contributed to our ability to address this issue and this crisis in an evidence based fashion. Misinformation is rife in these sort of hyper-conservative and highly politicized religious communities that were all in for Trump.”
Speaking of evidence, is Bill de Blasio a science denying right-winger for refusing to close schools or the subway system until it was too late? or the Democratic mayor of New Orleans who blame-shifted when asked about her decision to not cancel Mardi Gras? Are the Spanish and Italians, who are doing worse than we are on a per capita basis, also run by the science denying right-wing religious nationalists?
Counterfactuals notwithstanding, Stewart continued blaming “religious nationalists” for the current crisis because they have formed a political alliance with economic libertarians, “The movement has allied itself completely with a kind of libertarian far right economic wing of the Republican Party. So it shares some of the blame that falls on that group. Religious nationalists have also supported politicians and policies that have led to the privatization of health care.”
Stewart did not prove any examples of health care that was once public that is now private, but all Mohyeldin could do was agree with a simple “right.”