Hillsong head honcho is being slammed from all sides after announcing that one of his congregants pass away from the novel coronavirus last week, with critics saying that the embattled leader didn’t do enough to promote the vaccine, and in fact would frequently flout the rules or speak against it.
It has been a long year for Houston, who has consistently seen himself in the secular spotlight after a string of scandals has seen him close churches and lose several American pastors- so much so that two Hollywood films have been greenlit to cover the saga.
Now, he’s back in hot water again after publicly mourning the death of Stephen Harmon, 34, a much-loved congregation member who attended Hillsong for the last decade after being given a scholarship to Hillsong College in California. Harmon very publicly boasted and insisted that he would not take the COVID vaccine- writing on Twitter “If you’re having email problems, I feel bad for you son., I got 99 problems but a vax ain’t one.” Harmon seemingly also resisted medical intervention, advice, and assistance while in the hospital.
Brian Houston made the announcement of his death on various social media sites, but then later took down most of the mentions after facing intense backlash.
Elaborating further on the event, Houston told CNN
“Any loss of life is a moment to mourn and offer support to those who are suffering and so our heartfelt prayers are with his family and those who loved him….
On any medical issue, we strongly encourage those in our church to follow the guidance of their doctors, While many of our staff, leadership and congregation have already received the COVID-19 vaccine, we recognize this is a personal decision for each individual to make with the counsel of medical professionals.”
Houston is not wrong. The fact that Harmon passed away from COVID after consistently and continuously refusing to get vaccinated is a tragedy, but it is completely to be expected that a percentage of some people who get it will pass away, particularly if they have co-morbidities. If anything, his death is a rarity in that it happened to someone so young.
The decision to get vaccinated is adiaphora and a personal choice, and not something worthy of condemnation. (unless the vaccine is using fetal cells) If someone refuses to get vaccinated from it or anything else and then passes away from it, they will bear the burden and brunt of those consequences.
Some people will not get vaccinated from COVID and will die from it. Some people will get vaccinated from COVID and will also die from it. The fact that Harmon publicly condemned the virus and then passed away from it is mildly ironic, but his death should not be laid at the doorstep of Houston.
Realistically, this shouldn’t even be a news story. There are a lot of things Brian Houston should rightly be criticized over. Like, a lot of things, but this isn’t one of them.
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