There has been a measles outbreak in Tarrant County, Texas. That in itself is surprising, given that measles is extremely rare in the U.S.
But what makes this outbreak of 10 confirmed cases even more unusual is that it appears to be coming from the Eagle Mountain International Church, also known as Kenneth Copeland Ministries.
Pastor Kenneth Copeland has promoted a debunked theory that measles, mumps and rubella vaccine can cause autism.
His daughter, Pastor Terri Copeland Pearsons, delivered the bad news last Wednesday to the congregation, notes the Dallas Observer.
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In response to the measles outbreak, Pearsons tried to convince churchgoers that medical science isn't totally evil because much of modern medicine is in the Bible:
Why did the Jewish people, why did they not die out during the plague? Because the Bible told them how to be clean, told them how to disinfect, told them there was something contagious. And the interesting thing of it, it wasn't a medical doctor per se who took care of those things, it was the priesthood. It was the ministers, it was those who knew how to take the promises of God as well as the commandments of God to take care of things like disinfection and so forth.... Many of the things that we have in medical practice now actually are things you can trace back into scripture. It's when we find out what's in the scripture that we have wisdom.
However, the plague struck Europe, not the Middle East where Israel is, notes the History Channel. The plague was not about "being clean" and "disinfection," but was actually a deadly microbe carried in the stomachs of fleas that lived on rats. When the rats died out, the fleas jumped to humans for hosts.
Pearsons also told the congregation that the church was hosting free vaccination events and urged them to get vaccinated.
The church's website is also offering information from the heath department on vaccination and news about how the church is working with health department officials.
Sources: Dallas Observer, History Channel, EMIC.org