Texas measles outbreak: The Eagle Mountain International Church in Newark, Texas has become a “ground zero” for a recent measles outbreak that has sickened 25 individuals thus far, including a 4-month old infant, reports UPI.com on Aug. 26.
The Department of State Health Services has now put Texas under a statewide measles alert after six most recently confirmed cases surfaced from Tarrant County. Dallas, Denton and Harris counties all have reported similar outbreaks. Last year, no cases of measles were reported in Texas.
According to UPI, Tarrant County Public Health spokesman Al Roy said that officials had traced the outbreak to a church visitor who traveled abroad and returned with a case of the measles.
The megachurch, run by televangelist Kenneth Copeland's daughter Terri Pearsons, previously expressed concern in a sermon over a supposed link between measles vaccinations and autism.
A mercury-based preservative in certain vaccinations was thought at one time to be linked with autism. The preservative, called thiomersal, was never found to have any connection to autism. In 2011, the medical journal Annals of Pharmacotherapy called the thiomersal controversy “the most damaging medical hoax of the last 100 years.”
According to the Dallas Observer, these were Pastor Pearsons’ words in her “awkward” sermon as she delivered news of the outbreak to her parishioners:
“There has been a confirmed case of the measles from the Tarrant County Public Health Department. And that is a really big deal in that America, the United States has been essentially measles free for I think 10 years. And so when measles pops up anywhere else in the United States, the health department, well, you know, it excites them,” Pearsons said.
The church, which teaches faith healings, previously ridiculed booster shots and backed a vaccine-autism link prior to the outbreak. Megapastor Kenneth Copeland and his sprawling evangelical empire of the Kenneth Copeland Ministries clearly have weight among his followers, leading to daughter Terri to do some fancy theological footwork.
“Why did the Jewish people, why did they not die out during the plague? Because the Bible told them how to be clean, told them how to disinfect, told them there was something contagious. And the interesting thing of it, it wasn't a medical doctor per se who took care of those things, it was the priesthood. It was the ministers, it was those who knew how to take the promises of God as well as the commandments of God to take care of things like disinfection and so forth.” – Terri Pearsons
Indeed, the Bible did give direction to the Israelite nation on such matters as regular bathing, washing prior to eating, disposing of human waste and cleansing after touching a dead body – all practices that would not become health norms until centuries later. But nowhere does the Bible advocate against seeking common-sense medical treatment.
How did Pearsons conclude her sermon?
She announced the church was sponsoring free vaccination clinics and urged all to show up and get their booster shots. Perhaps Pastor Pearsons should brush up on her Bible reading.
“The ridiculer has sought to find wisdom, and there is none; but to the understanding one knowledge is an easy thing.” – Proverbs 14:6