When Quiverfull Beliefs Run Public Policy: Pence and the Corona Virus

When Quiverfull Beliefs Run Public Policy: Pence and the Corona Virus February 27, 2020
Screen cap from a CNBC news report on the Corona Virus.

Yesterday President Trump announced that he was assigning the task of dealing with the looming threat represented by the Corona virus to Vice President Mike Pence. This is all well after our president got rid of the team that deals with emerging pandemics and stripped a large amount of funding from the Center for Disease Control. Actions of a man clearly not interested in public health in any way.

I kept thinking about this most of the evening yesterday after it was announced the first case of ‘community spread’ of the COVID19 had happened in California. This is the first time that there has been a transmission of unknown origin of the virus in the U.S.

Yesterday night I did my weekly grocery shopping in a place filled with American tourists, likely some from that area, and I could not help but worry and be concerned. While there’s not been a case diagnosed in Costa Rica it is likely going to happen eventually. This is high tourist season and the area is chockablock filled with Americans, Chinese, Japanese, Italians and people from around the world.

So what’s the deal with Pence? Why am I even mentioning this. For several reasons.

First, Pence belongs to a church that was affiliated with my old Quiverfull church. Their theology on sickness is that most people bring on their own illnesses, and that prayer is the only effective means of healing, much more so than going to the doctors. Illness is viewed as “God’s punishment” more than shifting bacterial strains, or genetic predispositions. It’s all your own fault! Generation sin is blamed, so is the wrong thought life, rebellion and many other things that simply are not true.

When you substitute prayer only for health care people die. Pence has already proven his track record of mixing his faith in with the realities of  health care. As governor of Indiana he drug his feet on actions to stem the rise of HIV cases and a large ratio of folks in his home state ended up being diagnosed with new cases of the disease. He suggested prayer only.

At the same time Pence went way out of his way to try and shut Planned Parenthood down in Indiana at a time when PP provided testing for HIV. It was one of the most drastic spreads of HIV in the nation based upon percentages.

Mike Pence is in no way a public health expert. When he’s been involved with public health crises people suffer. So what does our president do? Appoint him to oversee the looming crisis. Trump is in serious denial over the threat, so he appoints the least effective person in his administration to do something about it. But what did we expect from someone who confused Ebola and Corona Virus in his speech yesterday?

I predict that the administration is going to use this emergency as a means to further restrict immigration and as the justification for closing our borders, while people die from prayer and lack of treatments.

What can you do to prevent catching and transmitting the virus? The same good protocols we use during influenza outbreaks, copious hand washing, using sanitizing disposable wipes on things like shopping cart handles and doorknobs in public, masks in crowded public places and doing what you must to keep you and your immune system healthy. Try to stay well. Practice good hygiene.


Speaking of poor hygiene, a quick note on the latest Nicole Naugler controversy. Originally I was going to write about what’s happening in Nauglertown, but why give Nicole her jollies. She’s embroiled in an internet-wide fight with the world after she posted photos on her blog and Facebook page of her young daughter’s “dreadlocks”. I saw the photo everyone is outraged over and it looks like one giant unwashed dreadlock, like what happens when someone neither washes or brushes their hair for months on end. Like a “Hello, CPS” type situation.

Judge for yourself. Here’s a screen cap from one of the Facebook sites discussing the dreads.

Lazy parenting or a valid cultural response? You decide.

A quick look at Nicole’s blog and Facebook show she’s doing a more extreme version of what many QF cultural enforcers do, deliberately trying to whip up attention by any means possible. I think she likely thrives on negative attention. Why else would she have directly contacted me 3 years ago demanding I interview her and tell her real story? Sorry, I do not feed what seems like mental issues. There will be no Naugler interviews here.

Yesterday Nicole said she is personally suing me for a piece I wrote well over a year ago that’s been freely available and Google-able for that time. Here’s the deeply darkly comedic aspect of that. She was slipped the easily findable links by one S Curre, who appears to be Lori Alexander’s husband Ken. Ken is likely lurking under a fake troll name on Twitter S Curre. Classy.

I decided that Ken was likely S Curre after seeing a flood of postings.

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NLQ Recommended Reading …

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement by Kathryn Joyce

I Fired God by Jocelyn Zichtermann

13:24 A Dark Thriller by M Dolon Hickmon


About Suzanne Titkemeyer
Suzanne Titkemeyer went from a childhood in Louisiana to a life lived in the shadow of Washington D.C. For many years she worked in the field of social work, from national licensure to working hands on in a children's residential treatment center. Suzanne has been involved with helping the plights of women and children' in religious bondage. She is a ordained Stephen's Minister with many years of counseling experience. Now she's retired to be a full time beach bum in Tamarindo, Costa Rica with the monkeys and iguanas. She is also a thalassophile. She also left behind years in a Quiverfull church and loves to chronicle the worst abuses of that particular theology. She has been happily married to her best friend for the last 33 years. You can read more about the author here.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • otrame

    Three of my grandchildren are currently wearing dreads. They do not look like that. Not anything like that.

  • Raging Bee

    That’s unbrushed hair, full stop. And I would NEVER have been okay with it, at any age I still remember.

    I do remember not liking it when my hair was brushed, because it was tangled and it hurt to untangle it. I probably did a lot of whining and made my mom miserable whenever she brushed it. Maybe Nicole decided not to make any effort and just said “it’s dreadlocks” instead? No, that’s lame parenting.

  • Tawreos

    I predict that the administration is going to use this emergency as a means to further restrict immigration and as the justification for closing our borders, while people die from prayer and lack of treatments.

    I am sure that Pence will find a way to blame this on the gays2 and crack2 down on them because reasons.

  • Tawreos

    The same good protocols we use during influenza outbreaks, copious hand washing, using sanitizing disposable wipes on things like shopping cart handles and doorknobs in public

    Hand washing yes, but not the sanitizing wipes. They claim to kill2 99% of germs, but that is in the lab, like in a petri dish. In live use, it is more like 40-50% of germs. If the germ doesn’t die it will become stronger than it was originally. The better advice is to avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth until you have had a chance to wash your hands. That’s my take, do as you will.

  • Tawreos

    Because there is a difference between laziness and intent.

  • HematitePersuasion

    We can just rename it Penceavirus. There, all fixed!

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    Fair enough. Had not thought about making germs stronger. Been using them since my first bout of MRSA upon my infectious disease doctor. Will have to reconsider it now.

  • Tawreos

    I wonder if Mother would approve.

  • French Pandora

    It depends if it is a “male” or “female” virus.

  • Raging Bee

    Forgive the ignorance, but how, exactly, do dreadlocks “work?” What does one do to get them?

  • Tawreos

    You weren’t the only one wondering. =)


  • Tawreos

    Hopefully I will never know because I never go the chance to ask and I am certainly not going to assumes its gender. =)

  • Jim Baerg
  • Jennifer

    Those are a lot of details I didn’t know. Thanks!

  • Pennybird

    Listening to the news report this morning, I had to wonder if it is god’s punishment for impeaching Trump.


  • Raging Bee

    Not sure if that’s what the Rastas do, but okay…

  • Pennybird

    The evisceration of national security departments is the endpoint of Republican policy. Remember, government is the enemy, and it needs to be made small enough to drown in a bathtub, yada yada yada. So Trump is dutifully acting like a good Republican, while we all learn the hard way why we have government professionals in the first place.

    Just to note a similarity, the people who die from Covid 19 tend to be older and in poor health. This also describes a wide swath of Trump’s support.

  • swbarnes2

    Citation for “become stronger” needed.

    Note, I do not mean “show evidence that a population exposed to antibiotics will become resistant”, that’s obvious. But evidence that bacteria become stronger after being exposed to a non-antibiotic disinfectant.

  • Raging Bee

    When I was that poor girl’s age, we called that sort of hairstyle a “rat’s nest.”

  • Tawreos

    I’m bald so It is all completely beyond me. =)

  • swbarnes2

    I think part of the issue here is that some people’s hair is naturally more suited to dreadlocks than others. I think if your hair is more suited to it, you don’t need much product to keep them in dreads, so it’s easier to wash your hair. If your hair isn’t really suited for dreads, then I think washing your hair can undo them easily.

    That looks like a mat.

  • AFo

    I remember reading about Indiana’s HIV outbreak and thinking Pence was the worst possible person to be in charge. He probably still thinks AIDS is “the gay2 disease” and they deserve it. I can’t imagine his coronavirus response is going to be any better.

  • Friend

    The Indiana outbreak was related to needle1 use by Opana1 users.

    “ I don’t believe effective anti-drug1 policy involves handing out drug1 paraphernalia1,” he [Pence] told the Indianapolis Star at the time. Despite assurances from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that it is an effective way to halt the spread of infections and diseases such as HIV1 and hepatitis1 B and C, Pence said if state lawmakers tried to send him a bill for a needle-exchange program, he would veto it.
    As cases spiked, Pence reportedly turned to prayer.
    After 75 people were confirmed to be HIV-positive, Pence announced he would allow a 30-day needle1 exchange.

    So I guess the principle is sacred until it isn’t.

  • Whitney Currie

    That poor girl’s hair is in no way working toward dreads. Dreads take work; they don’t just happen when hair “gets to the right stage”. I would take a good bet her hair smells horrible, too; she may not even notice thanks to nose blindness. At a guess, it’s going to have to all come off, because that is just a mass of knots and dirt. If the girl is having some sort of issue with tangles, there are several high quality detanglers around. I’ve had issues with that myself, and use the Honest Company’s Sweet Orange Vanilla detangler for the first comb out after a shower, the stuff works well for me and smells like an orange creamcicle. (I have very long hair.)

    I wish I could say it surprises me that Trump has put Pence in charge of Coronavirus response. There’s a part of me that honestly somewhat wishes that people like Trump and Pence would be the ones to get really sick, but we know that even if they did get sick they’d be in the very best of medical care and probably won’t suffer the worst symptoms. Pence is going to get people killed, and he’s going to get away with it because it’ll be impossible to prove. That’s the way he likes it.

  • Friend

    There’s a concern about hoarding masks in case of a shortage. A lot of the masks are made in China, where many factories are shut down and supply chains disrupted.

    And those surgical masks? If you’re not sick, you don’t need to wear them — and you certainly don’t need to buy every box your local pharmacy has in stock.

    “The main point of the mask is to keep someone who is infected with the virus from spreading it to others,” Brewer said.

    The CDC agrees, writing on its website: “CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases.”

    (I’m guessing that the guidance varies for people with chronic respiratory problems, lowered immunity, etc.)


    Wash your hands regularly. Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze. And when you’re sick, stay home from work or school and drink lots of fluids.

    The CDC recommends washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after using the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose or sneezing. It also advises not to touch your eyes, nose and mouth and to clean objects and surfaces you touch often.


  • otrame

    Basically, you take a small strand of hair and twist it until it makes a bit of a rope. Repeat all over your head. Now people with straight or only slightly wavy hair will have to use some hair product to make the ropes stay twisted, and it really doesn’t work very well. You have to start over after each shampoo. The hair of black people is especially suited to this. Once each dread has “set,” which takes a bit of work over a period of several days, they stay in rope-form. At least some work has to be done to prevent untwisting for a while, depending on how curly your hair is, but eventually the hair is locked into to the rope by becoming rather felted. As the hair grows, you just twist each dread to include the new hair. You can wash your hair just as often as other styles. If the dreads get too long you can trim them. My granddaughter dyed the ends of her dreads bright orange and they look really cute.

    What that picture shows is not dreadlocks.

  • Raging Bee

    So it DOESN’T involve just neglecting your hair and letting it get all matted? ‘Cuz I think there’s some white people who need that bit clarified.

  • paganheart

    Yesterday, I saw one of my neighbors coming up the stairs with four boxes of surgical masks in his arms (I live in a condo complex). I overheard his wife ask him what he intended to do with all those masks; he said that he figures he can make a lot of money selling them on Ebay when COVID-19 hits our community.

    This is what not having a conscience looks like…I have to admit, I had some pretty violent thoughts…

  • paganheart

    My guess? It finally affected Pence personally. Someone he knew turned up HIV-positive…a relative, a friend’s child, someone he couldn’t just brush aside as one of those evil sinners who deserved their fate. It’s like Rob Portman, the GOP Senator from Ohio who was strenuously opposed to LGBTQ rights, until his own son came out as gay. Or President Ronald Regan, whose response to HIV and AIDS when it first emerged in the USA was criminally negligent and downright cruel–he thought it was god’s way of punishing gay men–and didn’t change until his wife Nancy’s longtime hairdresser was diagnosed with AIDS.

    Men like Pence tend to lack empathy and compassion for others not like them; they can’t understand the pain and trauma of an issue and change their minds on it unless it hits them in the face, sometimes quite literally (and sometimes not even then.) Pence is no different. His efforts on the COVID-19 outbreak will be too little, too late, unless someone close to him succumbs to it. That’s my prediction, anyway.

  • otrame

    There are a LOT of things that some white people need clarifying.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    My daughter was just here, and she was worrying about getting the masks since they are sold out in the States and she sometimes travels for work. I walked her into the pharmacy here where we bought the number she thought she might need for roughly ten cents each.

    I have a sturdier one, a Vog mask with the hepa filter. It runs about fifty bucks on Amazon. I am wondering if its going to be hard to even get those. The CDC just posted something telling people they don’t need masks, but this is a complete turnaround from the many years they urged people to wear them during flu epidemics.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    I have known whites to do it by adding things, like sticks and bits of wood, to make it happen. But you have to be intentional about it to do proper dreads. I don’t know what’s going on in that photo.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    I am still going to be wearing my Vog mask in public now in crowded situations. CR has people quarantined with possible infections.

  • Friend

    I think that’s wise, given what you have shared about your medical situation.

  • B.A.

    A rat’s nest too.

  • Friend

    Do you think this is a recent change by the CDC?

    I see a provider in a hospital fairly often. For several years the guidance has been for sick people to wear masks. For others it is an extra precaution. One time my provider had a cold; she wore a mask, but I did not. At the time I wasn’t at heightened risk of infection, so this seemed like an OK approach.

    At that hospital, masks and hand sanitizer are prominently displayed in the lobby and at every check-in desk, along with signs explaining the guidelines. I’ve seen staffers hand masks to patients and instruct them to put them on.

  • Friend

    That’s h0rrifying.

  • otrame

    I know exactly what is going on with that child. She has not had her hair brushed in a long time. A minimum of several weeks. CPS really needs to be notified. If for no other reason than mats like that clump hair together in a way that hurts.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    I’m not sure what the change will be, but the new rules where all information on the outbreak must come through the government frightens me. China has likely lied about the infection rates and now our government is posed to do the same.

    On a happy note I just checked Amazon. While they are mostly out of the disposable masks, and a few people still have the disposable ones at gouging prices there are plenty of well made hepa filtered ones available in the ten to fifty dollar range available.

  • SAO

    If your hair is straight, you basically take locks and snarl them. People who do it deliberately, do it so the have locks the thickness of rope. It usually looks like frayed rope, too. African hair will hold its shape much better and may not need to be snarled. It looks much better, too.

    That girl’s hair does not look like any attempt at styling, rather a lack of brushing or cutting. In the state it is now, I doubt it can ever be unsnarled, not without hours of painstaking work that would be painful.

  • Saraquill

    All I can think about is how the US handled the Spanish flu. I wrote a paper about it under the subject Urban Disasters.

  • SAO

    Pence’s role is to make sure the head of infectious disease — a world class expert — does not say anything to the public that might be bad PR. The stock market had the 4th largest drop in its history in the past few days, thanks to worries about corona affecting supply chains. Part of Trump’s pitch for re-election is that the economy, as measured by the stock market is doing well.

    In short, Pence is a PolitKom — Politichesky Kommissar in charge of propaganda.

  • WallofSleep
  • WallofSleep

    “… what happens when someone neither washes or brushes their hair for months on end.”

    I know this wasn’t a question, but I’ll supply an answer anyway: the matted hair can easily become infested with parasites.

  • Friend

    Yeah, I’m not sure that funneling all messages through one person is ever a good idea, or workable. Expecting a few off-the-record comments, as well as observations by all the experts who are not a part of government.

  • WallofSleep

    There’s hope for you yet (to grow dreads somewhere other than your head)…


  • WallofSleep

    Stay safe!

  • Yeah, what happens if Pence gets trapped in a closed room alone with a female virus?

  • You can’t make this stuff up.

  • Sassafras

    BINGO! I have black coworkers with dreads and braids, and NONE of them look like that matted disasterpiece! Poor kid is probably gonna have skin infections.

  • Oh my cats, that tangled mane is painful to look at!

    Those aren’t dreads, that’s just nasty unwashed white-girl hair. Ew.

  • A lot of hard work, actually. It’s why I ultimately chose to not even bother trying.

  • TheBookOfDavid

    Effectiveness of sanitizing products depends heavily on the active chemical compound. A broad range of household cleaning and personal hygiene products used to include triclocarban or triclosan compounds, which eventually developed resistant strains of bacteria. These are now being phased out of the industry, in favor of alcohol based hand sanitizers, which neutralize both bacterial and viral pathogens.

  • Saraquill

    The poor frozen food…

  • paganheart

    No doubt. I know a woman and her wife who are foster-to-adopt parents to three siblings. When the kids first came to them, they were absolutely filthy; their meth-addicted biological parents hadn’t bathed them in months. The little girl, who was about eight at the time, had hair that was a matted, tangled mess much like the Naugler girl. She also had a terrible case of head lice (so bad that within days, everyone else in the house had head lice as well.) It was so bad that they ended up just cutting it all off and shaving her head. She had boy-short hair for months, and even today as a teenager, she prefers to wear her hair in a short, kind of pixie style. Her moms think she was so traumatized by her “bird’s nest” hair that she just never wants to have long hair again, ever.

    That isn’t “lazy parenting” on the Nauglers part, that is gross and profound neglect. Period. Hopefully CPS is still keeping an eye on this family…

  • persephone

    If you told him it would make his d**k fall off, he’d turn the entire defense budget over to fighting it.

  • persephone

    I think they’re going to have to work something really oily, like cooking oil, through her hair and gradually comb it out with a large toothed comb. But I don’t see that happening.

    There could easily be sores9 on her scalp9 under that mass of filth9. Dogs that look like that get shaved.

  • persephone

    There’s a company that makes specialty products for dreads, including wax-based product for twisting the locks.

  • persephone

    My hair was kept short until I was 9, when I agreed to take care of it myself. My mom was not going to spend time brushing and washing it that she didn’t have to.

  • persephone

    I just happened to buy a large box of basic masks about 2 1/2 years ago, because I have a dust allergy, so I wear them when I have to clean dusty areas or sort through boxes in the garage. I gave some of them and some nitrile gloves to a coworker who was going to mail them to a relative in Hong Kong.

    I also saw a tweet from a doctor who said they’re having trouble getting masks because people are buying them up to sell for 10x the original price.

  • persephone

    We’re seeing a lot of cases and possible exposures because someone that has it went through LAX.

  • Zeldacat

    It looks really awful. I think cutting it off is the only realistic thing to do at this point. Poor kid.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    I am seeing that on Amazon. Masks that go for ten cents each here listed for 2 dollars each now

  • Desperate Ambrose

    “As governor of Indiana he drug his feet on actions to stem the rise of HIV cases. . . .”

    Well, that because they were all deviated preverts, so they deserved to die.

  • Last night, trump at another non-stop presidential rally since he was sworn into office in 2017, in S.C. said “Corona Virus was a Hoax.” The same day he puts Pence in charge of it and also the day trump put an information blackout on future Corona Virus updates. “But I have the Yugest brain. In fact I know more then the experts. That’s why I got rid of about 2/3 of the pandemic emergency team, cut the CDC the last 2 years in a row and got rid of all the research scientists.”

    If Nicole’s daughter were one of those dogs whose hair mats like in the picture, the law would classify it as neglect, or in some cases of older people, they are unable to care for their pet properly. A child whose hair is so matted is a breeding ground for skin conditions, lack of cleanliness, as hair harbors germs/bacteria, head lice would love it, even fleas. It is neglect, as her hair is not well taken care of. A person can have dreadlocks that are neat, clean and not the mess we see in the picture. I feel sorry for that child. If she is neglected in one area, what other areas in her life are lacking as well ? A clean house to live in, enough food to eat, seeing a doctor when it is necessary ? This child will need her hair shaved down to her scalp and start over to get rid of that matted mess.

  • Cynthia

    FYI: https://www.forbes.com/sites/tarahaelle/2020/02/29/no-you-do-not-need-face-masks-for-coronavirus-they-might-increase-your-infection-risk/?fbclid=IwAR0Xyb_bwGMaRpX1jUITTXjtyczPqJll_3lMbGv9zcJ4XV71rTO1GGrutks#53f56655676c

    This article was posted by a friend of mine who is a doctor here. We have a few cases of the virus here (just north of Toronto), but they are well contained and the system seems to be working. I guess we learned from being the only North American city to get hit hard by SARS.

    We do see a lot of Asians wearing masks here, but I suspect that is partially due to a desire to avoid stigma.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    I think tomorrow I’m going to have to do a best practices story here. I am seeing QF enforcers starting to make the wildest claims on how to defeat the virus. Disinformation is harmful.