Religion Gone Viral

A work of satirical fiction which attempts to explain why many Americans reject masks, social distancing, and vaccinations so vehemently by imagining world where Covid is viewed as a savior…

by: Frederick Foote

Letter to Francis Marsh from an unknown source received in September 2021.

[Francis Marsh is a cultural anthropologist/sociologist from Oakland, California who has hosted the popular podcast “Social Change” since 2018.] 

Dear Francis Marsh,

I have listened to your podcast for over a year. I love your work and think you will find the story I am sharing with you interesting, and one you might wish to broadcast. Just be careful.

I know you’re going to find this hard to believe, but there are people right here in the Bay Area who are worshipping the Covid-19 virus. I have no idea how many there are or how widespread their congregations.

When I first learned of these religious outliers back in June, I thought maybe they were worshipping the virus for doing God’s work. Assuming God’s work was to frighten the flock back to the worship of a deity. However, I soon learned that was not the case. They were worshipping the virus as God, or as a God.

At considerable risk to myself, I was able to obtain a copy of one of their hymns, which I have included below. Apparently, these zealots believe that death from the virus is a sign of God’s grace and will guarantee the victim a place in heaven. If my speculation is correct, it could help explain why some people reject masks, social distancing, and vaccinations so vehemently.

Again, I urge you to approach this secretive sect with extreme caution.

 — A Fan

Battle Hymn of the Virus

(With apologies to Julia Ward Howe)

Mine eyes have seen the glory
Of the coming of the Virus;
It is trampling out the vintage
Where the grapes of wrath are stored;
It hath loosed the fateful lightning
Of Its terrible swift sword;
Its deadly truth is marching on.

Chorus
Glory! Glory! Viralujah!
Glory! Glory! Viralujah!
Glory! Glory! Viralujah!
Its infectious truth is marching on.

I have seen Covid-19 in the watchfires
Of a hundred circling social media camps
They have built It an altar
On the evening news and vamps;
I can read Its righteous sentence
By the dim and flaring computer and TV screens;
It’s a doomsday machine marching on.

Chorus
Glory! Glory! Viralujah!
Glory! Glory! Viralujah!
Glory! Glory! Viralujah!
Its destructive truth is marching on.

It has sounded forth the trumpet
That shall never call retreat;
It is sifting out the carcasses of men
Before It’s judgment seat;
Oh, be swift, my unvaccinated soul, to answer It’s call ;
Be jubilant, my defiant feet to reap Its deadly toll;
Our mutant Virus is marching on.

Chorus
Glory! Glory! Viralujah!
Glory! Glory! Viralujah!
Glory! Glory! Viralujah!
Its contagious truth is marching on.

In the beauty of the microscopic world
It was born across the sea,
With a gory bosom
That transfigures you and me;
As It kills to make mockery of men,
Let us die to support It again and again;
While our King Covid is marching on.

Chorus
Glory! Glory! Viralujah!
Glory! Glory! Viralujah!
Its death march goes on and on, and on.
Glory! Glory! Viralujah!

Excerpt From a secretly recorded service at the King Covid Church of Petaluma, California, on March 26, 2022, received by Francis Marsh on March 30, 2022.

Viralujah! Amen! King Covid is in the house! Oh, yes, It is. Yes, It is! King Covid is here. It is here working its way through our congregation. It is among us seeking out those who have been chosen to join 13-year-old Carol Goodell in the land of Eternal Light, free of pain and suffering and forever basking in the eternal glory of King Covid.

Can I get an amen?

AMEN!

Now, please turn to the person on your right and your left and give them a hug and a kiss. Please don’t be embarrassed or jealous, or hesitant, for we are transmitting the Virus that will take us home to glory.

You see me walking among you, exchanging kisses with men, women, children, and babies in arms.

Being infected is our communion with our God. It displays its love by living in us. Even if the Virus does not select you for eternal rest this time, your time in its heavenly embrace is assured. It has marked you with its loving touch.

Can I get an amen?

AMEN!

Viralujah! Viralujah! Viralujah! 

Oh, yes, yes, pass it on. Pass it on. Pass it on.

I feel the Virus among us right now! This very moment.

Can I get an amen?

AMEN!

Randel and Peggy Goodell stand up. Look upon Carol’s parents, who protected her from vaccinations and took every opportunity to expose her to the infected even at odd hours of the day and night. Now hear this. The Goodells found a way to sneak Carol into the Covid-19 ward at University Hospital. They’re going to share that secret with this congregation today. Can I get an amen?

AMEN!

Now, our servers are beginning to bring out the roast lamb, tri-tip, steak, fish, vegetables, fruit, and every manner of liquid spirit. Remember, this is a celebration of Carol Goodell’s ascent to that higher realm. This is a going home celebration in her honor.

You know and understand that every intimacy increases the opportunity for infection. So, take advantage of this opportunity and this celebration. Don’t hold back. Be generous with each other.

 Can I get an amen?

AMEN!

What the hell? A microphone—

[End of recording.]

Francis Marsh interview with Reverend Reba Ward of the Antioch, California First King Covid Church of Antioch on April 2, 2022.

Francis Marsh: Today, our guest is Reverend Reba Ward of the First King Covid Church of Antioch. Reverend, thank you for being here with us today. Could you explain what Covid-19 virus worship is? This is an entirely new and alien concept to many.

Reverend Ward: Of course, First, let me thank you for giving me this opportunity to bring our worship out of the shadows and give your listeners a chance to understand why this is the fastest-growing religion in the Bay Area and probably in California.

Francis Marsh: Reverend, why do you think this is the fastest-growing religion in the Bay Area? What kind of authority do you have for that kind of statement?

Reverend Ward: Well, first of all, there is a San Francisco Chronicle article of two weeks ago that counted 150 King Covid churches in Berkeley, Oakland, and San Francisco. And just last week, the Bay Area Council of Virus Ministries met for the first time, and there were representatives from 230 churches from those three cities. And back in February, the Los Angeles Times published an article on the virus ministries and said they were the fastest-growing religion in Los Angeles County.

Francis Marsh: Fascinating. Now, what exactly is King Covid Church all about?

Reverend Ward: First of all, the world is in an existential crisis that we have never faced before. Climate Change is advancing far faster than scientists had predicted. Secondly, the reactions of the developed nations responsible for most of this Climate Change have not and will not effectively address this transcendental problem. These so-called leaders are too busy protecting their vested interests. Thirdly the growing gap between the have and have nots within nations and between nations will increase tensions, frictions, and conflicts. Our future is bleak, bloody, and tragic. Our options are few.

FM: So, what are your options?

Here

Reverend Ward: Suicide is one option. However, many of us have moral or religious beliefs that prevent us from following this path.

Resignation and turning to the drugs of despair is another option.

However, Covid-19 is our God’s option. God’s way of rewarding those deserving souls with an avenue to everlasting life. Those taken by King Covid will not have to suffer through the coming strife and turmoil.

Viralujah!

We do not oppose those who seek vaccinations, masking, or social distancing. They have a right to pursue their own life objectives as long as they don’t impose their morals and standards on us.

FM: That is a lot to absorb. Are you saying that the Covid-19 virus is an act of God to select his chosen ones?

Reverend Ward: No. Now, this is hard to grasp. God is in the details, in the smallest units of life. God is the Virus. When we are Its host God is in us. God is offering us a way out of an untenable situation. 

FM: I have to work on that concept. Why is this virus God concerned with human wellbeing?

Reverend Ward: King Covid is concerned with preserving all life. The best chance for nonhuman life to survive is to reduce the impact of humans on nature. The quickest way to do that is to eliminate billions of humans immediately. Some humans will survive, but King Covid is fighting for the survival of all life. 

Viralujah!

FM: This is not what I expected. So, basically, your God stands for the principle of preserving life even if it means near elimination of a species. In this case us.

Reverend Ward:  Yes. Every soul harvested by King Covid is rewarded with eternal life in the hereafter because they helped preserve life on this planet. And every infection is a promise of eventual redemption.

FM: Okay, you have my head spinning. Let’s change directions for a minute. Have you heard the tape from the King Covid Church of Petaluma? There seem to be legal and moral issues involved with that Church. A parishioner snuck into a hospital Covid ward to expose a child to the virus. And that child later died of a Covid-19 infection. And at the end of the tape, there appears to be an orgy of some kind taking place.

Reverend Ward: I have heard that tape. It has, as we say, gone viral, thanks to your show. Our ministry at Antioch opposes breaking or sneaking into hospitals to expose anyone to the virus. However, we will defend to the death a parent’s right and obligation to guide their children’s lives.

Viralujah!

FM: So, you approve of exposing your children to the infected?

Reverend Ward: It is our obligation to see if our children are among the chosen. Not all children exposed to King Covid die from it. In fact, the vast majority don’t but all the infected will eventually receive their heavenly reward.

Viralujah!

FM: But some kids might have survived absent your virus exposure. Aren’t you killing your kids that could have lived?

Reverend Ward: No. We aren’t killing them. King Covid is liberating them to a better world.

FM: Why not let King Covid do its own work without your intervention?

Reverend Ward: Humans with mandatory vaccinations, masks, and social distancing have altered the natural selection order.  We are a tiny push to offset these unnatural interventions.

FM: Wow! We are almost out of time, but you will be back with us next week to continue this conversation, right?

Reverend Ward: Of course. I would be delighted to return with, news of  Delta, Omicron, and variants to come that will demonstrate the true power of King Covid. 

Viralujah!

Oh, as to the orgy question. Why don’t you come and see for yourself?

Viralujah!

FM: That is a scary invitation. However, I look forward with dread and anticipation to talking with you next week. Thank you all for listening, and I welcome your questions and comments at fmhsocialchange@gmail.com.

[End of interview.]

[Marsh went missing on or about April 7, 2022, and their location is unknown. The above documents were collected as part of the investigation into their disappearance.]

 

Frederick K. Foote, Jr. was born in Sacramento, California, and educated in Vienna, Virginia, and northern California. Since 2014 Frederick has published over three hundred stories, poems, and essays, including literary, science fiction, fables, and horror genres. Frederick has published three short story collections, For the Sake of Soul (2015), Crossroads Encounters (2016), and The Maroon Fables and Revelations (2020).

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1 Comment

  1. says: Elaine Zentner

    The first read, I thought, “This is really out there”. By the third read, I thought, “I’ve seen those members around.” Nice job, Mr. Foote. Thanks for the new nightmare.

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