Measles outbreak linked to faith-healing Texas megachurch
Lying to people about the efficacy of medicine is a special kind of evil.
The current measles outbreak in Texas — which has sickened at least 21 people in the northern part of the state — has been linked to a megachurch that encourages faith healing. The Eagle Mountain International Church has a relatively high population of unvaccinated congregants, which allowed the highly-contagious virus to spread rapidly among them.
Texas’ state epidemiologist reported this week that he has traced the origins of the outbreak, which first emerged about two weeks ago. After a man became sick with measles while traveling to Indonesia, he passed the infection to the other attendees at the megachurch — which repeatedly attracts over a thousand people each Sunday — when he returned home. Measles spread to the congregation, the staff, and a daycare center on church property.
Even though the Texas county where the church is located has an overall vaccination rate of about 98 percent, state officials note that Eagle Mountain International Church includes a “pocket” of people who aren’t vaccinated. The children who contracted measles there are homeschooled, so their parents haven’t been required by state law to get them their measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine. That’s likely because senior pastor Terri Pearsons has expressed unfounded skepticism about vaccines in the past, repeating the widely debunked conspiracy theory that they can lead to autism.