Schadenfreude: An Idaho pastor who mocked the idea of wearing a mask and kept his large church open for services without requiring masks despite a mask mandate has been hospitalized with the COVID-19 virus.
Paul Van Noy, senior pastor at Candlelight Christian Fellowship in Coeur d’Alene, has been hospitalized in the ICU for two weeks with the virus, and his wife, Brenda Van Noy, is currently recovering from COVID-19 at home.
A pastor in Idaho who called himself a “no-masker” during a service and repeatedly questioned the veracity of coronavirus case reporting is in the ICU after contracting Covid-19.
Paul Van Noy, senior pastor at Candlelight Church in Coeur d’Alene, has spent two weeks in the hospital with a Covid-19 diagnosis, ministry coordinator Eric Reade confirmed to CNN.
The Spokesman-Review reports:
A Coeur d’Alene pastor who opened his large church in early May for in-person services that allowed and even encouraged unmasked congregants to gather has been recovering from COVID-19 at the Kootenai Health intensive care unit.
Paul Van Noy, the senior pastor at Candlelight Christian Fellowship, has spent the past two weeks in the ICU while his wife, Brenda Van Noy, recovered from her own bout with COVID-19 at home. Five other church staff have been infected, said Eric Reade, body ministry coordinator of the church.
Even though masks are mandated in Kootenai County where Van Noy’s church is located, the conservative Christian refused to obey the mandate and instead encouraged his congregation to not wear masks.
The Spokesman-Review notes:
Van Noy said in a July 17 post that he didn’t believe masks would prevent spread, while also claiming the church could ignore the order because it isn’t a public place. He reiterated that the virus is a threat.
“It is true that COVID-19 cases are in escalation here in our community and that the virus is real,” Van Noy wrote. “However, the panic to ‘stop the world’ or mandate public compliance … is causing untold problems and pushback that will not be helpful.”
In that Facebook post, Van Noy also falsely claimed that wearing masks doesn’t prevent Covid-19 transmission, and he urged his parishioners not to fear the “cause or effect of Covid-19.”
Van Noy is a conservative Christian pastor with a congregation of 1200 people. Despite his experience with the virus, the church has no plans to require masks. In fact, the church is planning on hosting anti-mask speakers later this month. CNN notes:
Van Noy’s church will soon host two controversial figures who’ve flouted coronavirus guidelines and questioned mask mandates: Charlie Kirk, founder of the conservative student group Turning Point USA, and Rob McCoy, a California pastor who was fined for holding indoor church services despite Covid-19 restrictions. The men will speak at services later this month to “work to make sense of what the church’s proper role in America can and should be in the face of increasing opposition and cultural animosity.”
Bottom line: Idaho Pastor Paul Van Noy, senior pastor at Candlelight Christian Fellowship in Coeur d’Alene, who previously mocked the idea of wearing a mask and kept his large church open for services without requiring masks despite a county-wide mask mandate, has been hospitalized in the ICU for two weeks with the coronavirus.