Yet “Antichrist” Pope Francis Walks the Streets of Pandemic-Ravaged Rome Free of the Virus . . .
Dr. Taylor Marshall, the notorious reactionary and conspiracy theorist, is on record arguing that the “coronavirus” is “a sign of divine judgment.” He did this in a video entitled, “Catholics and Corona: No Public Masses in Rome or Italy until APRIL 3 2020”: dated 3-9-20. This video was excerpted into a much shorter one called “Is Coronavirus a Sign of Divine Judgement?” (3-10-20).
Dr. Pedro Gabriel, in one of his uniformly excellent and helpful articles at the website, Where Peter Is, has already offered a scathing rebuke of this thinking (“Dr. Marshall and the coronavirus: suffering people deserve better!”: 3-14-20).
I want to highlight one particular aspect of Marshall’s claims. He wanted to make the argument that God (particularly as revealed in the Old Testament), exhibits wrath against sin, including (sometimes) diseases, and that the coronavirus is an instance of this. He goes on at length mocking those (“modernists” et al) who don’t believe in this general attribute / behavior of God.
I for one certainly do believe in it, and have written at great length about it (“Does God Ever Judge People by Sending Disease?”: 10-30-17), as part of my effort in teaching about how God’s judgment works, in many papers on the topic. Dr. Gabriel also acknowledged that this is a truth revealed in the Bible:
It is indeed true that there are many biblical examples of natural disasters and diseases as a manifestation of God’s wrath. I certainly do not exclude that this can be a reason why suffering exists in some cases.
He goes on to argue that “this is just part of the story” and that the overall picture: taking all of the Bible into account, is far more complex and multi-faceted. Again, I wholeheartedly agree. This has been my own “take” as well, in writing about both judgment and the issue of sickness and suffering, and how God (and our own sins) are related to that.
But back to my particular point. I submit that if Taylor Marshall wants to appeal to the Old Testament and God’s particular wrath, then he has to consistently abide by his interpretation. If he wants to argue Old Testament and what it teaches about judgment, then that is the hill he chooses to die on, and he must defend it. I can play that “game” with him if he likes (though we know he avoids me like the plague: no pun intended!).
I’ve already laid out much of this data in my article on this very topic. To be totally fair about this, Marshall and his friend Timothy Flanders, in these videos (I have dialogued fruitfully with Timothy now four times, and he has been a class act), acknowledge that God’s wrath and judgment (even if it is applicable to the current pandemic), strike a lot of “innocent” people. Timothy stated near the end of the abridged video:
This falls on many innocent souls who had nothing to do with any of this stuff [Marshall agreed, saying, “right”]. [8:11-8:16]
This is absolutely right, and (again) I have noted it many times in my apologetic treatments of God’s wrath. But if Taylor Marshall wants to appeal to Old Testament passages about God’s wrath, then he has to squarely face and incorporate the many that single out sinful individuals and groups in particular for judgment. Here’s an extensive sampling:
Exodus 9:11 (RSV) . . . the boils were upon the magicians and upon all the Egyptians.
Exodus 15:26 . . . “If you will diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give heed to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases upon you which I put upon the Egyptians; for I am the LORD, your healer.”
Leviticus 26:21 Then if you walk contrary to me, and will not hearken to me, I will bring more plagues upon you, sevenfold as many as your sins.
Numbers 12:9-10 And the anger of the LORD was kindled against them, and he departed;  and when the cloud removed from over the tent, behold, Miriam was leprous, as white as snow. And Aaron turned towards Miriam, and behold, she was leprous. [
Deuteronomy 7:15 And the LORD will take away from you all sickness; and none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which you knew, will he inflict upon you, but he will lay them upon all who hate you.
2 Kings 15:5 And the LORD smote the king [Jeroboam], so that he was a leper to the day of his death, . . . (cf. 2 Chr 13:20)
2 Chronicles 21:18-19 And after all this the LORD smote him [King Jehoram] in his bowels with an incurable disease.  In course of time, at the end of two years, his bowels came out because of the disease, and he died in great agony. (cf. 21:15)
2 Maccabees 9:5 But the all-seeing Lord, the God of Israel, struck him [Antiochus] an incurable and unseen blow. As soon as he ceased speaking he was seized with a pain in his bowels for which there was no relief and with sharp internal tortures —
Acts 12:23 Immediately an angel of the Lord smote him [King Herod], because he did not give God the glory; and he was eaten by worms and died.
Now comes the part where it is very difficult to apply such passages and actions by God to the current pandemic, with the interpretation that alleged “idolatry” with regard to supposed “pachamama” gods in the Vatican garden (that I and others have refuted over and over) has brought it on. We shall assume this is true for a moment, for the sake of argument, and in light of the above Old Testament passages that Marshall and Flanders directly appealed to.Why is it, then, that the alleged purveyors and promoters of the “idolatry” (folks like, oh, Pope Francis and other Vatican cardinals and bishops) are not suffering, whereas the very person who tossed some of the statues (falsely alleged to be “Pachamama”) into the Tiber River, and who has been lionized for doing so (Alexander Tschugguel), has himself sadly caught the virus?
Isn’t that the opposite of what we would be led to expect, according to this conspiratorial hypothesis? Taylor Marshall announced in a video dated 3-15-20 (“Urgent Corona Prayer Request for Alexander Tschugguel”), that he has been struggling mightily with a terrible fever (even after being released from the hospital) and is in a “bad way.”
I wish him all the best, and urge prayers and penances on his behalf. He seems like an earnest, sincere, pious, and zealous young man. He was dead wrong about this, but that’s of course beside the point, as to wishing him a full recovery. In fact, I would like to apply my current acute suffering of right shoulder pain to the souls of Alexander and all sufferers from the virus: especially those who are critically ill.
I am not — repeat, NOT — claiming that he is a subject of God’s wrath (though he could possibly be, just as is true — or could eventually be true — of any of us). Austria currently has 1,332 cases of this quite non-discriminatory virus, and, sadly, Alexander is one of them. Please pray fervently for his full recovery. Since young people are the least affected by this virus, he very likely will get well.
What I am contending is that if Taylor Marshall wants to argue this way about God’s judgment, and apply it to the current pandemic tragedy (complete with absurd, ludicrous charges that the suspension of Masses — even in pandemic-ravaged Italy? — is also part of God’s judgment), then he has to explain this anomaly of the “good guy” being afflicted and the arch-enemy “bad guy” and antichrist, Pope Francis, walking the streets of Rome virus-free thus far.
After all, God struck down kings; He (the same God Who did all that stuff as revealed in the inspired revelation of the Old Testament) can dispose of a supposedly wicked, evil pope just as easily. If Pope Francis were one-tenth as bad as the mountain of lies and calumnies and scurrilous slander about him would have it, arguably he should have [biblically] been devastated by God and eaten by worms (or some similar such horrible fate) no later than five years ago.
Explanation of Coronavirus Statistics (Dr. JD Donovan) [3-26-20]
Mini-Debate on Laying Blame for Lack of Knowledge of Coronavirus, and Irresponsibility (vs. Jon Curry) [Facebook, 4-5-20]