Why Are Icons of the Music and Sports World Facing the Rage of the Pandemic Cult?

By Kevin Burke Published on November 23, 2021

Why are Hall of Fame guitar virtuoso Eric Clapton and Super Bowl winning NFL Quarterback Aaron Rodgers arousing such anger and mean-spirited responses from the media and the public?

Clapton went public after experiencing side effects from his first COVID injection, and the serious illness and disability following his second injection. Clapton shared that going public about his reaction to the injection led to public attacks, ridicule and shaming, because he dared to raise questions about informed consent and government pandemic responses.

Rodgers, when asked at the beginning of the NFL season, said that he was “immunized.” He more recently clarified that instead of getting the vaccine, he received an alternative treatment over the summer from his personal doctor to raise his antibody level. He shared that he is allergic to an ingredient in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and did not want to receive the Johnson & Johnson shot due to reported side effects.

Rodgers told People, “I just shared my point of view, and now I’m being crucified for it.”

It is really quite astonishing that a personal medical decision, or sharing about your personal injury from a medical procedure, can now elicit such intense negative reaction. Prior to the pandemic, neither man would have aroused such hostile reactions from media, their professional colleagues, and the public.

What is Driving This Hostility and Mean-Spirited Totalitarian Group-Think?

A recent podcast by Jordan Peterson may help shed some light what may be fueling this response, and offer some clues to how we can best respond to this medical tyranny.

On this particular podcast, Peterson interviewed his guest psychologist Clay Routledge. They had a wide-ranging conversation about loneliness, meaning, nostalgia, and existential psychology.

Peterson and Routledge examined the role, and power of a shared religious practice and dogmas in the development of community and culture, and the consequences when large numbers of people abandon their faith.

As Routledge pointed out:

When a population abandons religion, they don’t really become secular. They start investing in all sorts of other things … to fill that space for the multiple roles that religion was playing in their society.

They go on to discuss that as people move away from shared formal faith affiliation and practice, they often try to fill that space in political movements, new age spirituality, woke ideology, intense interest in UFOs, environmental activism, etc.

Routledge said while those things provide some personal and social benefit, they don’t do a very good job of nurturing the deeper meaning and benefits to a community and society that shared religious faith and practice provide. In fact, things like new age spirituality tend to accelerate the move toward hyper-individualism, and social fragmentation in a society.

Peterson said there is a need for people to unite around a “centralizing tendency.”

“The worship of a central spirit” as he called it, enables us to sacrifice some of our individuality to reap the benefits of a shared experience of community. It empowers us to invest in actions that benefit and bless others, and in some cases, like Moses and the Promised Land, even when we will not live to see the full fruition of our efforts.

Using this framework, let’s look at the pandemic.

The COVID ‘Existential Threat’

As a society we were told we were facing an existential threat to our personal, family and social survival. Social distancing and lockdowns were essential until vaccines would provide a safe passageway through the dark valley of death to the promised land of protection from serious illness, and a return to normal life.

Our nation’s younger generations, and especially our ruling elites, are less connected to formal religious practice. This dynamic has been accelerated by the pandemic.

But Netflix and Zoom yoga cannot replace the power of shared religious framework, beliefs, public worship and faith. This is especially true with the rich Judeo-Christian foundations of Western Culture.

In the isolation and fear of the pandemic, an anxious, vulnerable people, many detached from shared religious community and worship, zealously embrace the official narratives and propaganda from the alliance of Government/Big Pharma and Corporate Media. Sliding into a type of pandemic cult, true believers exhibit a fervor and devotion normally associated with religious worship.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul illustrates this point in her remarks to a gathering at Brooklyn’s Christian Cultural Center. Hochul shows the audience the sacred chain dangling from her neck with the word “Vaccinated” prominently displayed. Hochul proclaimed, “I wear my ‘vaccinated’ necklace all the time to say I’m vaccinated!”

This is not healthy … it’s creepy.

Like any religious cult, there is a strong reaction to those, like Eric Clapton and Aaron Rodgers, who apostatize from the true faith. There follows a collective response by cult leaders and members to shame, ostracize and marginalize those who dare challenge the official narratives and beliefs. This is the all the more intensified when this cult, as Dr. Routledge said, is filling the space once occupied by a vibrant, healthy faith.

A Healthy Response to the Pandemic

A healthy public health response to the pandemic would be continually evaluated and adjusted based on an open exchange of information flowing from the evolving research, and with the valuable input of those working on the front lines in prevention and treatment.

There would be no censorship and shaming of those with alternative viewpoints to government and pharmaceutical-sponsored research and messaging. Personal humility and a spirit of rigorous scientific inquiry would be the pillars of such a healthy response.

Contrast that with the current lock-step messaging of the unholy trinity of Government/Big Pharma/Corporate Media: Only the vaccines save lives; lockdowns and masks are essential to save lives and stop the spread of the pandemic; alternative treatments are useless and often dangerous; the unvaccinated are spreading the pandemic; vaccines are superior to natural immunity.

In a healthy society, the science informing all those key pandemic points is continually challenged, policies are flexible and adapted as new information emerges, and more research is initiated — all in the spirit of open exchange of ideas to best inform public policy as the virus evolves.

Most importantly, no private medical decisions are forced or mandated.

How to Respond to the Totalitarian Spirit of the Pandemic Cult

One essential response to the totalitarian spirit, is to form communities of connection and support.

Clapton shares:

The lifesaving part of it was I’d found a group of people who were inviting me to talk about it, because I couldn’t talk about it anywhere. As you said, there was nobody listening, and it was very, very difficult to know what to do or how to, you know — I thought I was going crazy.

The same would hold true for Rodgers who shared how he relies on trust in his own personal convictions, and the support of family, friends and fellow athletes. Such persecution is a type of revelation when you discover who are your true and loyal friends, family, and professional colleagues.

There is a growing movement of health care professionals and scientists coming together to support one another and share their clinical experience in treating those who have contracted the virus. They support fellow scientists and physicians who, like Clapton and Rodgers, are facing hostility, economic and emotional bullying, censorship and shaming by their employers and governing bodies.

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Many of those coming together for support have a strong foundation in their Judeo-Christian faith that gives them the strength and grace to endure persecution, and continue to promote the core values of their professions, and best care for those entrusted to their care.

And let us maintain a spirit of humility, and not feed the hatred and toxic spirit nurtured by this totalitarian cult. Let the peace and the love of Christ reign in our hearts, and dictate our private and public words and actions.

We can then be a safe refuge for those in the days ahead who come to understand how they have been deceived and manipulated by those perpetuating this medical tyranny, as they reach out for information and support.


Kevin Burke, LSW, is a pastoral associate of Priests for Life and co-founder of Rachel’s Vineyard. An expert on men and abortion loss, he is the author of Tears of the Fisherman and co-author of Rivers of Blood/Oceans of Mercy.

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