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August 29th, 2013
01:24 PM ET

Former staffer: Measles church counseled faith, not shots

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) ­ When Amy Arden joined Eagle Mountain International Church in 1997, her 11­month­old daughter had received all the recommended vaccinations. But in the six years the young, single mother worked and worshipped at the evangelical megachurch, Arden didn’t take her child to get a single shot.

“There was a belief permeating throughout the church that there is only faith and fear,” Arden said. “If you were afraid of the illness enough to get vaccinated, it showed a lack of faith that God would protect and heal you.”

Members of Eagle Mountain International Church also believed that childhood vaccinations could lead to autism, said Arden, who is 35.

Arden said she was taught by a supervisor at the church's nursery how to opt out of a Texas law that requires most children to be immunized. She now regrets passing the same lesson on to other parents.

“I didn’t know a single mother who was vaccinating her children,” she said.

Eagle Mountains teachings on health, including disparaging remarks about vaccinations, have been called into question since an outbreak of measles in Texas – an outbreak that state officials tie to the church.

As a Word of Faith church, Eagle Mountain is part of the booming prosperity gospel movement, which holds that God wants to reward believers with riches, health and happiness, if they will just recite certain Scriptures, pray and trust in divine providence.

The church is part of Kenneth Copeland Ministries, a vast and profitable multimedia ministry led by its namesake, a longtime prosperity preacher and television evangelist.

In the prosperity gospel world, Copeland, 76, and his wife, Gloria, are considered royalty, said Kate Bowler, author of “Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel.”

“He is a major grandfather of the movement, starting to age out but still incredibly influential,”

Bowler said. “They’ve been on the air forever and stayed largely scandal­free. That’s partly why they are so trusted by lots of people.”

According to Kenneth Copeland Ministries, the Copelands' daily program on the Trinity Broadcasting Network reaches millions of viewers, their magazine more than 500,000 readers.

Based in Newark, Texas, a rural community 25 miles north of Fort Worth, Eagle Mountain is co­pastored by Copeland's daughter, Terri Copeland Pearsons, and son­in­law, George Pearsons.

Twenty­one people in Tarrant County and nearby Denton County have contracted measles during this outbreak, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. The victims include nine children and range from 4 to 44 years old..

Tarrant County epidemiologist Russell Jones said the confirmed cases can be traced back to a person who attended Eagle Mountain International Church after visiting Asia, which has higher rates of measles infections than the United States.

Health officials are not releasing the name of that person or the particular country.

Jones said he doesn’t know exactly how many of the infected people are members of Eagle Mountain. At least 11 of the 21 did not have any measles vaccinations, he said. (Doctors usually recommend two shots.)

“Our concern would be that if you have a pocket of people who associate and think alike, if they don’t believe in immunization there’s going to be some other vulnerable people,” Jones said.

Neither Eagle Mountain International Church nor Kenneth Copeland Ministries responded to repeated requests for comment.

Eagle Mountain Pastor Terri Copeland Pearsons has said that “while some people may believe she is against immunizations, that is not true.”

“I believe it is wrong to be against vaccinations,” she said in a statement.

But the pastor hasn’t always preached a pro­immunization message.

In an August 15 statement, Copeland Pearsons drew a link between vaccinations and autism, saying, “The concerns we have had are primarily with very young children who have family history of autism and with bundling too many immunizations at one time.”

Likewise, in 2010, during a broadcast about health, Kenneth Copeland – whose followers consider him a prophet – voiced alarm about the number of shots given to his grandchild.

“All of this stuff they wanted to put into his body,” Copeland said. “Some of it is criminal!”

Copeland was particularly agitated about the Hepatitis B shot.

“In an infant? That’s crazy! That is a shot for sexually transmitted disease!” he said.

“We need to be a whole lot more serious about this and aware, and you don’t take the word of the guy who’s trying to give you the shot about what’s good and what isn’t.”

Dr. Don Colbert, a "divine health" expert who has appeared with Copeland in several broadcasts, then said the autism rate among children has increased with the number of childhood vaccinations.

"I have had so many patients bring their children in and they say, you know what, the week after I had that immunization, for MMR – measles, mumps and rubella – my child stopped talking, my child stopped giving me eye contact. He was not alert, he was not coherent. he quit speaking, he quit being the child I had," Colbert said on the webcast.

Colbert and the Copeland family are wrong about immunizations, said Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University.

“It's painful because these pastors are trusted spiritual leaders who are speaking to people not only in their congregations but also on television," he said. "They are putting people at risk.”

There is no link between vaccinations and autism, and hepatitis can be passed from mother to child, making the shot necessary and effective, Schaffner said.

Schaffner said that doctors call concerns about bundling immunizations the "pin cushion effect." It's a common but unfounded fear, he said.

Most health experts, including the American Pediatric Association and the Tarrant County Public Health Department, agree with Schaffner.

In a joint statement on Wednesday, the church and ministry said that they believe in, and advocate the use of, medical professionals.

"If an individual is faced with a situation that requires medical attention, that person should seek out the appropriate medical professional and follow their instructions using wisdom," the church leaders said.

After the measles outbreak, Kenneth Copeland said that he “inquired of the Lord as to what he would say regarding these vaccinations,” according to a statement posted on the church's website on August 15.

The pastor said that God told him to “pray over it,” and then to “take advantage of what I have provided for you in Jesus’ name.”

Since the measles outbreak, Eagle Mountain has held two free immunization clinics, where about 220 church members received vaccinations, according to Jones, who said the county assisted with the clinics. Jones said that he is working to ascertain how many of the church’s 1,500 members have still not been immunized.

Eagle Mountain and Kenneth Copeland Ministries also disinfected their shared 25­acre campus, including the nursery and day care center, Pearsons said at an August 14 church service titled “Taking Our Stand of Faith Over Measles.” The church runs schools for children through the sixth grade.

When Copeland announces a change in church policy, it's often after he has claimed to receive a new divine revelation, said former members of the church.

"Kenneth would always come up with a new prophecy to match what's going on," said one

former church member, who wished to remain anonymous in order to maintain business ties with the church.

In this case, Copeland’s new revelation – and the church's recent statements –represent a big shift, said the former members.

Amy Arden worshipped and worked at the church, including in its nursery, for six years, first as a volunteer, then as paid staff from 2000 to 2003.

Arden said she now deeply regrets teaching other parents how to access the Texas immunization exemption forms. But she and another former church employee described a closed spiritual world in which doubts are kept quiet and leaders' words are rarely questioned.

“This was Kenneth Copeland’s ministry, and we did nothing that he did not approve of,” Arden said.

“It’s hard to believe that hundreds of his children in his church were not getting vaccinated and he didn’t know about it. If he was pro­vaccination, we would have vaccinated our children."

Arden recalled a 2002 lecture to church employees in which they were told that every part of Eagle Mountain International Church and Kenneth Copeland Ministries must reflect the founder’s vision.

Arden said she was fired from KCM in 2003 for disagreeing with the church’s willingness to take donations from the mentally ill, including institutionalized patients.

She later cooperated with a U.S. Senate investigation into Copeland’s and other prosperity preachers’ finances. The church was not penalized, but Sen. Chuck Grassley's 2011 report raised questions about the pastors' use of church­owned luxury items like private jets. The Copelands and Eagle Mountain called the investigation an attack on Word of Faith pastors.

Another former church member and Kenneth Copeland Ministries employee who volunteered in the nursery corroborated Arden’s account.

“Being vaccinated was like working against your faith,” said the former church member. “You were trusting a disease's power to infect you over God's ability to protect you.”

Neither Arden nor the other former church member recalled hearing the Copelands or Pearsons preach specifically against vaccinations, however. Nor did the Copelands counsel their flock to reject medical treatment for serious ailments, they said.

More often, the prosperity pastors would preach that faith is the best preventive measure and that some ailments can and should be prayed away, the church members recalled.

That’s a common belief among Pentecostals, said Bowler, the historian and Duke Divinity School professor. According to a 2006 Pew Study, 62% of American Pentecostals say they have witnessed divine healings.

But many Christian traditions teach that God can heal believers. What separates preachers like the Copelands is that they believe Jesus died not only to save humanity from sin but also from sickness.

“When Jesus bore away our sins, he also bore away our diseases,” Gloria Copeland has said in sermons about spiritual healing.

The Copelands also teach that they have unlocked the formula – a combination of words and Scriptures – to guide believers from optimistic faith to tangible results.

“The places they look for those results are their bodies and their wallets,” Bowler said.

In many ways, the Copelands are the spiritual successors to last century's revival preachers, Bowler said, trading traveling tent meetings for lucrative television ministries.

Kenneth Copeland learned at the feet of prosperity gospel founders Kenneth Hagin and Oral Roberts. Copeland calls Roberts, who believed that God had anointed his right hand with healing power, his "spiritual father."

The Copelands have since created their own unique brand of theology, emphasizing that the

spoken word – a Word of Faith – can turn prayers into reality. Kenneth Copeland teaches that simply uttering the words “I’m sick” can lead to illness, and that proclaiming yourself well can likewise lead to health.

“Our health, our wealth and our place in eternity is in our mouths. Everything about us has been, and will be, determined by the words we speak,” Copeland has said.

Arden said that church members were taught to repeat certain Bible passages, almost like a magic spell, to ward off disease.

“There were healing Scriptures we had to recite over and over again, and eventually, whatever you say will come to pass.”

The Copelands don’t claim to be healers, though they teach that believers who sow “seeds of faith” – sometimes through donations – can see miraculous results.

One account on the ministry’s website says that a Dutch boy was cured of autism after his mother attended Gloria Copeland’s healing school and watched Eagle Mountain church services online.

Arden recalled donating $400 – all she had in her savings account at the time – to the church when her daughter had a serious ear malady.

“I was a broke, single mother earning $7.50 an hour, so that was a fortune to me.” Her daughter required four surgeries before she was healed, Arden said.

Now a financial analyst in New York City, Arden said she keeps her distance from organized religion, but understands what draws certain kinds of Christians to churches like Eagle Mountain.

“About 90% of the people were just like me,” she said. “They needed hope, and they needed to believe that there was something bigger than themselves that would guide and protect them and keep the whole crush of life from pressing down on them.”

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Bioethics • Church and state • Culture & Science • evangelicals • Faith • Faith & Health • Money & Faith • Pentecostal

soundoff (1,318 Responses)
  1. Nunya

    Copeland also says god is going to even the score with both Obama and gays...and of course measles vaccinations make you retarded. Nothing to see here. Just more crazy right wing republicans.

    August 30, 2013 at 12:41 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Nunya thinks he is smarter than Jesus. This is just jealously that He is Lord and you are not. If you see my 12-year-old daughter tell her I am "jonesin' real bad. Start your walk with Jesus and accept His love.

      Amen.

      August 30, 2013 at 12:48 am |
      • you can't fix stupid

        "Nunya thinks he is smarter than Jesus"

        And he's right. Anyone alive is smarter than a 2000 year old corpse. Even my cat is smarter.(facepalm)

        August 30, 2013 at 1:04 am |
        • HeavenSent

          You atheists come on these blogs to spread the lies of satan and tell lies about our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ the Lord and Savior. The kittens will move to the stove since it is closer to the litter box. Keep standing on the wrong side of the tracks and see where you end up.

          Amen.

          August 30, 2013 at 1:14 am |
        • you can't fix stupid

          Your empty proxy threats only work on you gullible fools. When will you idiots figure out that you have to believe in hell to fear it?

          August 30, 2013 at 1:24 am |
        • HeavenSent

          @stupid

          Jesus gave us a gift, the Holy Bible. The Truth. The Word. It does not mention vaccines. God watches over us. My liver has been shot for ten years but I can still drive. Give in to Christ and find true happiness.

          Amen.

          August 30, 2013 at 1:29 am |
        • you can't fix stupid

          Liar
          Jesus never wrote a single word. Neither did anyone who knew him. Your Bible is cobbled together fiction. Only a moron believes what it says.

          August 30, 2013 at 1:33 am |
        • truthprevails1

          HS: Your liver has been shot for ten years??? Maybe if you stopped tipping the bottle every morning/afternoon/night, that wouldn't be the case. How much longer until the alcohol abuse finally consumes your wretched life?

          August 30, 2013 at 1:38 am |
        • HeavenSent

          Did I say ten? I meant 20.

          Amen.

          August 30, 2013 at 1:46 am |
  2. And you wonder why we call Christians INSANE

    Or Texans, for that matter.

    August 30, 2013 at 12:27 am |
    • NavinJay

      I don't wonder.

      August 30, 2013 at 5:10 am |
  3. Elena

    We need to into the link by autism and vaccines

    August 30, 2013 at 12:26 am |
    • HotAirAce

      You mean the alleged link that has been debunked? The alleged link that is costing children their lives?

      August 30, 2013 at 12:29 am |
    • tallulah13

      Why not look for the real reasons for autism, instead of blaming something that has been shown to have no relation? Are you more interested in pointing fingers than finding cures?

      August 30, 2013 at 12:51 am |
    • truthprevails1

      Jenny McCarthy spoke out against vaccines, the following web site shows how many cases of Autism are related to her unfounded claims; how many deaths are related and how many cases of preventable illness: http://www.jennymccarthybodycount.com/Anti-Vaccine_Body_Count/Home.html

      August 30, 2013 at 1:43 am |
    • Texas Anne

      Are you going to believe Kenneth Copeland or a medical doctor with years of medical training & even more years of research behind him? I love my kids & want them to be healthy, so I'll go with the medical research on this one.

      August 30, 2013 at 2:14 am |
  4. Ed

    Copeland is a loser! Idiots like that cause pandemics. They have no business telling people what to do. That type of belief is misleading and totally careless and selfish. If they don't push lies and brainwashing they have nothing. PEOPLE WAKE UP QUIT BELIEVING IN THIS GARBAGE AND IDIOTS. RELIGION WILL KILL YOU!.

    August 30, 2013 at 12:21 am |
  5. Apple Bush

    I did not know where this gate led, but if it were away from this place it would be fine. If it were the very sea of fire in Hell, it would be better. I crossed through the gate, catching a glimpse of the chipping black paint and patches of gooey tack left by an injured shoulder or bloodied face.

    The darkness penetrated my body but I felt safer. Away from the glare of the blog that had witnessed my cruel act, I could neither see the crowd, my victim, nor me. I reached out, almost falling as an unexpected lunge escaped my body. Panic.

    Visit wikileak’s new sister site, wikipoops.com.

    August 30, 2013 at 12:20 am |
  6. Sara

    I think we need to start holding these parents financially responsible when their kid passed on a disease to someone and it kills them. I volunteer in a nursing and assisted living facility and everyone lives in fear of the snotty nosed kid some irresponsible parent will drag in in the early stages of flu or measles and end up killing off another round of residents. I say identify a few of these vectors and sue the hell out of the parents.

    August 30, 2013 at 12:18 am |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Sara, your heart is in the right place, but it is not for you to decide the will of the Almighty.

      August 30, 2013 at 12:23 am |
      • Sara

        This isn't an issue of punishing parents, but deterring others from making the same costly mistake. Some people apparently don't care enough about others to do the right thing, but we know well that these same folks are often motivated well by money. Unless God is going to step in and start swaying opinion, I think it's up to us.

        August 30, 2013 at 12:27 am |
      • Your lord is a pathetic loser

        Your god created more souls that do NOT believe in him than do. That means the majority of souls are going to hell by Christian's definition. That means that in the great conflict between god and Satan – SATAN WINS.

        Your pathetic god LOSES. Cuz he's a LOSER. Your god is a LOSER.

        August 30, 2013 at 12:31 am |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        =>"but it is not for you to decide the will of the Almighty."

        If there is a god, the will of the almighty appears to be to have a vast number of people suffer through measles and occasionally die from it. Medicine is doing the will of Satan. Or more likely...the universe is indifferent.

        August 30, 2013 at 12:36 am |
        • Ungodly Discipline

          Such a lack of humility before the Lord. All of you. Sad.

          August 30, 2013 at 12:43 am |
        • tallulah13

          You can't even prove that your god exists. Why should we respect your personal delusion?

          August 30, 2013 at 12:55 am |
        • Ungodly Discipline

          tallulah13, the answers are at http://www.wikipoops.com mounds of data.

          August 30, 2013 at 1:01 am |
        • tallulah13

          No thank you, troll.

          August 30, 2013 at 1:10 am |
        • Ungodly Discipline

          Your loss, tallulah13. There are cute bunnies.

          August 30, 2013 at 1:16 am |
      • tallulah13

        No one should have to die because of ignorant religious superstition. Your personal delusion does not trump the public welfare.

        August 30, 2013 at 12:54 am |
        • Ungodly Discipline

          It is true, I can't trump your assertion about other peoples beliefs. However, you will not go to heaven if you don't find Jesus and work out your inner turmoil.

          August 30, 2013 at 1:03 am |
        • Observer

          Ungodly Discipline

          "It is true, I can't trump your assertion about other peoples beliefs. However, you will not go to heaven if you don't find Jesus and work out your inner turmoil."

          For the millions or billions of people who never heard of Jesus, tough luck. God loves you of course, but too bad for you.

          August 30, 2013 at 1:08 am |
        • tallulah13

          Worry about your own soul, Ungodly. I don't think trolls get to go to heaven.

          August 30, 2013 at 1:12 am |
        • you can't fix stupid

          Nobody is going to heaven because it isn't real. After vanquishing my enemies I will be going to Valhalla for dying a hero's death.

          August 30, 2013 at 1:14 am |
        • truthprevails1

          Some of these people don't care about public safety. They only care about defending their god. If they don't want to vaccinate their children, then they need to keep their children out of the public or they should face the risk of having their children removed from their care.

          August 30, 2013 at 1:19 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Ungodly Discipline

          Threats of eternal punishment = weak argument

          August 30, 2013 at 1:22 am |
      • Texas Anne

        Oh puhleeze!

        August 30, 2013 at 2:17 am |
  7. Bob Sweeney

    Just because you know religious philosophy or ancient Greek doesn't mean you know jack about medicine, epidemiology or biology. What arrogance!

    August 30, 2013 at 12:16 am |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      My dad owns a dealership so move it.

      August 30, 2013 at 12:24 am |
    • That may be but I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night

      and that makes me a genius. The TV said so.

      August 30, 2013 at 12:32 am |
  8. Apple Bush

    You can find all the answers at wikipoops.com. Piles of info.

    August 30, 2013 at 12:11 am |
  9. 7

    Everyone is invited to visit... thetreasureofzion.com

    August 30, 2013 at 12:00 am |
    • Apple Bush

      Why thank you kindly!

      August 30, 2013 at 12:16 am |
    • Apple Bush

      Shoot I already lost the address. Oh well, I will go to the all new "wikipoops.com" instead. There are mounds of data.

      August 30, 2013 at 12:17 am |
  10. Davelake

    I prayed for the milk to be cold in the frig-it was cold! I prayed for the pizza to be delivered on time. It did. I prayed for the hot young lady to come over and want to bang me. Well two out of three isn't bad.

    August 29, 2013 at 11:48 pm |
    • That was no lady - that was James, in drag

      Holy Jeebus was looking out for you after all.

      August 30, 2013 at 12:33 am |
  11. Mary

    He really put them on the spot!

    August 29, 2013 at 11:43 pm |
  12. Davelake

    You people don't get-God does answer prayers.

    August 29, 2013 at 11:43 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      His batting average stinks.

      August 30, 2013 at 12:13 am |
      • HotAirAce

        About 0.0000000000000000001, on a good day!

        August 30, 2013 at 12:17 am |
  13. science, not myth

    religion = ignorance

    August 29, 2013 at 11:14 pm |
    • Grumpy

      Atheism = freak

      August 29, 2013 at 11:32 pm |
      • Kelly

        Get off my lawn!

        August 29, 2013 at 11:43 pm |
      • Look people - another LOVING Christian!

        All of them are frucking hypocrites. Hateful, judgmental, lying hypocrites.

        August 30, 2013 at 12:35 am |
  14. nobikiniatoll

    Looks like God dropped the ball. Again.

    August 29, 2013 at 10:50 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Naw, the good folks weren't praying correctly or coughing up enough money on Sundays. Can't ever be god's fault!

      August 30, 2013 at 12:21 am |
  15. RayJacksonMS2

    Clearly this cult is a health hazard on top of being a mental health hazard like all christian, muslim and jewish cults. Shut it down and torch the infected building.

    August 29, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      No.

      August 29, 2013 at 10:35 pm |
    • Sara

      Just make sure these kids aren't allowed into any public buldings, especially schools, hospitals or nursing homes.

      August 29, 2013 at 11:36 pm |
  16. Hysteria

    Mealses used to be a common childhood illness which happens to activate our secondary immune system. While undesirable, before the vaccine was commonplace many contracted this and recovered. Several of my family members had measles and mumps concurrently and are absolutely fine. As far as I can tell, no fatalities have been reported and their immune systems are likely better off because of this stimulation. But, what do I know? I just have 25 years logged in pathology and have been providing data to the health department as mandated by my position for the better of three decades.

    August 29, 2013 at 10:14 pm |
    • snowboarder

      vaccines work directly on the immune system.

      August 29, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
      • Hysteria

        If you are ignorant about stimulation of our secondary immune system you could educate yourself, or not, strictly your decision. Or, you could stick to snowboarding.

        August 29, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
        • snowboarder

          our secondary immune system is our immune system, though I will spend plenty of time snowboarding.

          August 29, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
    • Chris

      Seems likely always you point out the one side of the story that you support and never bother with the side you know so little about. How about those throughout your life time that contracted the measles and died? Or died even before a vaccine came about. Deaths now vs then just because of the vaccine alone tells the true story. Vaccination does save lives. prior to the vaccine it was 1 in every 100 would die world wide, and nearly everyone would get the measles.

      August 29, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
    • TryScience

      The mortality rate from measles in developed countries is 1 in 1000. In less developed countries it is closer to 10%. In 2011 WHO estimates that 158,000 people were killed by measles (world wide).

      Your statement of no fatalities is not only incorrect, it is hugely incorrect. Measles is one of the most preventable causes of child mortality in the world. Not protecting your children from diseases that can kill and/or maim them when an easy solution is available is at best irresponsible.

      And BTW...the "research" that showed a link between autism and vaccines has been shown to not only be wrong but fraudulent. As in, he made this stuff up and published it. No research group has EVER been able to replicate the findings.

      August 29, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
    • GP

      Measles is still a significant cause of serious complications(pneumonia), disability ( deafness, neurological) and even death worldwide in countries who do not immunize. We are just spoiled that we do not see these complications anymore because of the effectiveness of large-scale programs.

      ...But if you want to go back to the 1940's, go right ahead and be non-chalant about these diseases.

      August 29, 2013 at 11:01 pm |
    • theala

      Vaccines activate the immune system without the unpleasant symptoms of the disease itself.

      Measles can kill. Just because your relatives did OK is not a reason not to vaccinate and control what can be a very dangerous disease.

      That no one has died (yet) is just plain old good luck. We should not rely on luck to prevent deaths when we have a safe and effective way to prevent this disease.

      If you're in health care, you should be ashamed of yourself. You know better.

      August 29, 2013 at 11:09 pm |
    • Kelly

      I find that people who write a lengthy post, then ends it with "but what do I know?" along with their "qualifications", generally are wrong, wrong, wrong. Anecdotal family stories is not evidence of anything except what happened within one's family. Hysteria, indeed.

      August 29, 2013 at 11:54 pm |
    • Sara

      "many contracted this and recovered"

      What kind of silly ass unscientific statment is that? "Many" survive most diseases, but when you add them all up you get the lovely 30 year life expectancy we had just a few hundred years ago. Hell, the 50 year life expectancy we had in 1900. Even today the death rate among the immune compromised is almost 1/3...and if your little unvaccinated kid passes this disease on to my relative who's elderly or getting chemo you bet I'm going to hold you responsible.

      August 30, 2013 at 12:02 am |
    • Sokesky

      "Prosperity gospel" means the Copelands get rich and laugh at all the idiots giving them money for nothing.

      August 30, 2013 at 12:07 am |
    • MEASLES ARE DEADLY you quack!

      * Measles is one of the leading causes of death among young children even though a safe and cost-effective vaccine is available.

      * In 2011, there were 158 000 measles deaths globally – about 430 deaths every day or 18 deaths every hour.

      * More than 95% of measles deaths occur in low-income countries with weak health infrastructures.

      * Measles vaccination resulted in a 71% drop in measles deaths between 2000 and 2011 worldwide.

      August 30, 2013 at 12:38 am |
  17. Clear and Present Thinker

    Regardless of what Copeland says about "prosperity gospel," profits always trump people when his bottom line is in play. Money not spent on vaccinations means more money in the collection plate, so preach accordingly saith the Lord, never.

    August 29, 2013 at 10:07 pm |
  18. snowboarder

    those who believe in "faith healing" should be considered mentally ill.

    August 29, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
    • Anyone with "FAITH" in a non-existent being is insane

      ALL RELIGIOUS ARE INSANE.

      They are a cancer that needs to be excised from society.

      August 30, 2013 at 12:41 am |
      • EA

        Like Martin Luther King, Jr insane or C.S. Lewis insane? Just how insane? So insane you refuse to drive a car because 60% of the people on the road are insane by your standards? Do you refuse to fly on a plane if the pilot believes in God, regardless if the psychiatric board has declared his thinking sane? Because you think you know better, he is actually insane?

        August 30, 2013 at 12:46 am |
        • Sara

          Technically people with delusions are insane, though they often can function normally and hold jobs outside of the delusion. If you check the DSM the description only leaves out many religions folk (not all...just many) by a diplomatically placed exclusion clause.

          August 30, 2013 at 12:55 am |
        • EA

          For all I know, based on your standards and criteria, you could be suffering from delusions. Especially if you truly believe all people who believe in God are delusional. Maybe you are the delusional one.

          August 30, 2013 at 1:19 am |
        • Sara

          I think that someone who read what I wrote above, where I clearly state I am not talking about all believers, is displaying a tendency to rewrite an interpret reality to suit his needs. You might want to read up on the symptoms of delusional behavior.

          August 30, 2013 at 5:52 am |
        • Sara

          I think that someone who read what I wrote above, where I clearly state I am not talking about all believers, and misread it as calling all believers delusional, is displaying a tendency to rewrite an interpret reality to suit his needs. You might want to read up on the symptoms of delusional behavior.

          August 30, 2013 at 5:55 am |
  19. Red

    God gave us vaccinations. Use them people. Geez.

    August 29, 2013 at 10:00 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      Scientists and medical pract.itioners gave us vaccinations. Geez.

      August 29, 2013 at 10:03 pm |
      • Red

        You have your beliefs, I have mine. You don't care for my beliefs, I don't for yours. I didn't post a comment for you. Don't respond, it's that simple.

        August 29, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          I'll respond to who I like, thank you very much. Also, I care very much for your beliefs, I just care more about the truth.

          August 29, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
        • Red

          You need attention that bad? Wow. Well keep replying. Have a nice life... God is the greatest.

          August 29, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Tom Brady is the greatest.

          August 29, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
        • FatSean

          God ordered the Hebrews to commit genocide. You worship the Original Hitler. HAND.

          August 29, 2013 at 10:34 pm |
        • Athy

          Red, you seem to be somewhat challenged in the clear-thinking department. How old are you? Twelve, maybe?

          August 29, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
        • tallulah13

          What an ingrate - crediting your god for the work done by real, identifiable human beings. Some people have no decency.

          August 30, 2013 at 1:00 am |
    • snowboarder

      exactly how did god give man vaccines? oh yeah, man developed them through hard work.

      August 29, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
      • Red

        How would I know how God did it? I'm not God.

        August 29, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          You also don't know that he did it as he didn't do it.

          August 29, 2013 at 10:14 pm |
        • sybaris

          You have zero evidence for how it made it and you have zero evidence that it made it in the first place. It's okay.

          August 29, 2013 at 10:16 pm |
        • snowboarder

          @red, thanks for the laugh.

          August 29, 2013 at 10:20 pm |
    • sybaris

      By your logic your god gave us rapists, murderers and thieves as well.

      Gotta take the good with the bad

      August 29, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      With that rational god gave us abortions too...god is therefore pro choice.

      August 30, 2013 at 12:07 am |
      • Sokesky

        Considering that a fairly high number of pregnancies end via miscarriage (aka "spontaneous abortion"), I think you could say a lot of things about God and abortion.

        August 30, 2013 at 12:09 am |
        • Sara

          God does seem to be a pretty big fan of abortion. Not only does he use it often, but he apparently rewards those aborted with a free trip to heaven with out being tested in the great life eternal torment or joy challenge.

          August 30, 2013 at 12:12 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Exactly Sara, I had a pro-lifer ask me "what if your Mom aborted you"...she was stunned when I said it would not have bothered me in the least...why should it?

          August 30, 2013 at 12:29 am |
        • Sara

          lol...good answer. If they were right about god, it would've been the best deal ever. If there is no god, then where would "you" be to care. This oneof the prime examples of wacky religious logic.

          August 30, 2013 at 12:36 am |
        • Actually, Sara, since they're not baptized and haven't accepted Jeebus - they're hellbound

          No pre-born babies in Heaven. Sorry. They still have original sin, they haven't been baptized, and they haven't accepted the Lord Jeebus Cripes as their Holey Saber. Or something. Anyway, they're going to hell because Christians insist that only by accepting Holy Jeebus can one enter Heaven. All Jews and Hindus and Zoroastrians and Native Americans Naturalists and Buddhists and Scientologists are going to hell. And Catholics. And Jehovah's Witnesses. Neither of them are really Christian. Mormons either. ALL GOING TO HELL.

          In fact, more are going to hell than are going to heaven. Satan wins – god loses. HA HA!

          August 30, 2013 at 12:47 am |
        • HotAirAce

          Seems like an appropriate time and place to remind folks that 80+% of abortions each year in the USA are had by believers – not necessarily Babble Humping christians, but believers nonetheless.

          August 30, 2013 at 12:51 am |
        • Krhodes

          Sara "lol...good answer. If they were right about god, it would've been the best deal ever. If there is no god, then where would "you" be to care. This oneof the prime examples of wacky religious logic."

          Really...wacky logic? This from someone who supports the taking of life...amazing. BTW...if we take a life ...is that the same as God doing the same?

          August 30, 2013 at 12:55 am |
        • Sara

          @Actually, I am not aware of any Christian sect that believes aborted fetuses go to hell. If you have a link to any group saying this could you please pass it on?

          August 30, 2013 at 12:59 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          =>"BTW...if we take a life ...is that the same as God doing the same?"

          Why yes it is. Christians like yourself constanly argue that morality is objectve. If that is the case the same morality applies to your god.

          Otherwise you are just arguing for Divine Command theory...i.e. might makes right. And there is nothing moral about that...

          August 30, 2013 at 1:33 am |
    • Susan StoHelit

      I'm an atheist – but I see your point.

      It's not hard to look at this from the other perspective, no reason to battle a perfectly good position just because it isn't founded on the exact same facts.

      If you're a believer, you of course think that god created everything – not only the intelligence of the scientist, but the ability of our immune system to be 'taught' with a dead virus.

      Why not accept that perspective as reasonable for someone who believes?

      August 30, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
  20. Dina

    Left the Christian church as a teenager when it freaked me out that these people COULD NOT think for themselves. They simply did what they were told by the flavor-of-the-month leadership. Creepy.

    August 29, 2013 at 9:59 pm |
    • Lionly Lamb

      Church..? Which one..? The manmade churches or the Godly made churches which are our bodies..?

      August 29, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
      • snowboarder

        probably that one.

        August 29, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
      • Nance

        How many people name their bodies "Christian church"? What the hell do you think she meant?

        August 29, 2013 at 10:20 pm |
    • EA

      Sorry for you bad experiences. Not all churches are like that.

      August 29, 2013 at 10:38 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.