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Marcus Lamb, anti-Covid vaccine Christian broadcaster, dies at 64

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Marcus Lamb (r) with his wife Joni.(Photo: Daystar)

“This morning at 4am the president and founder of Daystar and the love of my life went to be with Jesus,” said his wife, Joni, on a Tuesday morning broadcast. “I wanted you to hear from me that he’s with the Lord.”

Marcus Lamb was co-founder and CEO of the Daystar Television Network, a network popular with evangelical and charismatic Christians. In recent weeks, friends and supporters had been praying for his recovery from the virus, seeing it as a spiritual attack because of his advocacy against vaccines and push for alternate treatments.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that this is a spiritual attack from the enemy,” Lamb’s son, Jonathan, said about his father’s COVID-19 illness on a November 23 broadcast of the Ministry Now program. “As much as my parents have gone on here to kind of inform everyone about everything going on to the pandemic and some of the ways to treat COVID — there’s no doubt that the enemy is not happy about that. And he’s doing everything he can to take down my Dad.”

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Daystar has broadcast a series of programmes featuring vaccine skeptics such as Robert Kennedy Jr., Sherri Tenpenny and Del Bigtree as well as a group of physicians known as America’s Frontline Doctors, who support the use of hydroxychloroquine and other alternative treatments for dealing with COVID-19.

An episode featuring Bigtree, best known for his anti-vaccine film “Vaxxed,” and Kennedy began with Marcus and Joni Lamb sitting with their young granddaughter and defending their efforts to help people do their own research about vaccines.

“Why are we doing this?” Marcus Lamb said. “Because God loves people and we love people.”

“And let me tell you something — God has made us body, soul and spirit. He’s concerned about the whole person, and so are we,” he said. “And you know that the devil can take people out before they fulfill destiny and purpose — that’s what he wants to do because he hates God. So the only way he could get back at God is trying to attack God’s children.”

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Joni Lamb said on the broadcast that her husband had diabetes and that he had been hospitalized for COVID-19 after his oxygen levels dropped. She also said that he had tried alternative treatments but was not able to recover. 

She said she had used the protocols that they had promoted on the programme and “breezed through COVID.”

In addition to Joni and Jonathan, Lamb is survived by his daughters Rachel and Rebecca.

The issue of COVID-19 vaccines has been controversial for religious broadcasters such as Daystar. In August, the spokesman for the National Religious Broadcasters, a trade association, was fired after encouraging evangelicals to consider being vaccinated — comments his employer claimed violated the NRB’s neutral stance on vaccines.

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The Rev. James Merritt, a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, said he was grieved to hear of Lamb’s death. He had appeared on Lamb’s show several times to promote books and the two shared a love of the University of Georgia’s football team. He said that during his visits, Lamb was surrounded by family, describing him as a sweet man.

“They have got a wonderful, beautiful family,” he said. “It’s just a real tragedy.”

 Sam Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, said that he had recently visited the Daystar studios to see Lamb, who was a longtime friend. He said that the Daystar network had a diverse audience and that Lamb had been outspoken about the need to address racism in the church and in society.

Rodriguez pointed to a program broadcasted on Daystar and hosted by Bishop Kenneth Ulmer, a Black megachurch pastor in Los Angeles, in the wake of the death of George Floyd.

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Marcus and Joni Lamb, said Rodriguez, were committed to addressing racism.

“They were very committed to racial unity and reconciliation,” Rodriguez said. “They are very committed to defeating the giants of bigotry and segregation.”

Lamb posted a photo of Floyd, accompanied by the words “I can’t breathe,” on his Facebook page in the summer of 2020.

“Joni and I remain committed to standing against the evil sin of racism,” he wrote on .... “The murder of George Floyd and the pain that followed have been heart breaking and I know it also breaks the heart of God.”

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Rodriguez said that he never had a conversation about COVID with Marcus Lamb and said that in their interactions, he never heard Lamb criticize vaccines. Rodriguez hopes his friend will be remembered for his legacy of ministry, not that one issue. And he expressed grief over the loss of his friend — and the loss of so many others to COVID-19.

“This thing is real,” he said. “It’s just a terrible pandemic.”

Lamb’s ministry made headlines earlier this year after “Inside Edition” reported that Daystar bought a private jet not long after securing a $3.9 million loan through the Paycheck Protection Plan program, funded by federal COVID-19 relief dollars. The loan was later repaid.

Daystar, which is part of the Word of God Fellowship, first went on the air in 1997, according to Daystar’s website.

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YouTube labels John MacArthur video on transgenderism ‘hate speech’

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Conservative Christian pastor John MacArthurFacebook

A recent sermon video by John MacArthur presenting the biblical view of gender and sexuality has been flagged as hate speech by YouTube.

Conservative commentator Todd Starnes reports that the video was removed by the platform because it supposedly violated YouTube’s hate speech policy. 

MacArthur said in his sermon that there is “no such thing as transgender”, and that there were only two gender categories – male and female. 

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“You are either XX or XY, that’s it. God made man male and female. That is determined genetically, that is physiology, that is science, that is reality,” he said. 

He then called transgenderism a “lie and deception” that was “so damaging, so destructive, so isolating, so corrupting that it needs to be confronted”. 

MacArthur preached the sermon as part of a protest by evangelical churches in Canada against the country’s recent conversion therapy ban. 

Canada’s C-4 Bill came into effect on January 8 and has caused evangelical pastors to fear restrictions on their preaching. 

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According to Starnes, MacArthur’s sermon was pulled because of his comments on the biblical viewpoint of gender. 

“Our team has reviewed your content, and, unfortunately, we think it violates our hate speech policy,” YouTube said, according to Starnes.

“We’ve removed the following content from YouTube: ‘There is no such thing as transgender. You are either XX or XY. That’s it. – Pastor John MacArthur.’”

MacArthur was one of thousands of evangelical pastors to stage the pulpit protest against the C-4 Bill by preaching sermons on the biblical definition of sexuality and gender during their Sunday services last weekend.  

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Criticizing the removal of MacArthur’s video, Starnes said he feared it will not be long before the Bible itself is confiscated or re-written. 

“In other words, YouTube affirmed the Canadian law by banning any opposition to transgenderism on their platform,” he said.

“And it won’t be very long before the sex and gender revolutionaries target the source of our beliefs – the Holy Bible. I foresee a day in American history where Bibles could be confiscated or rewritten to affirm the LGBTQIA lifestyle.” 

He quoted Jenna Ellis of the Thomas More Society, who represented MacArthur in his successful legal challenge against LA County’s Covid regulations.

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She accused social media giants of censoring Christian beliefs. 

“The big tech oligarchy in the United States is implementing the equivalent of Canada’s insane law by censoring truth and the right of pastors to teach the Bible,” she told Starnes.

“If Americans don’t stop big tech, this new Regime will circumvent the Constitution to foreclose our fundamental rights to speak and exercise religion, and the impact will be devastating.

“I stand with John MacArthur and all pastors across the world who are simply standing firm and teaching biblical truth, and I will continue to fight to protect the Church in America,” she continued.

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Children and teachers ‘could be harmed’ by conversion therapy ban

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(Photo: Pixabay)

A Christian teaching body has written to the education secretary urging the government not to go ahead with its proposed ban on conversion therapy.

The letter from the Association of Christian Teachers (ACT) to Nadhim Zahawi warns that children and teaching professionals “could be harmed by the proposals”. 

It says that children with gender dysphoria may not be able to access support, while teachers will be left at risk of criminal convictions or being barred from working with children if they do not affirm a child’s desire to change gender.

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“The definition of what can be described as ‘conversion therapy’ is expansive, and could even include pastoral conversations, resulting in unsatisfactory outcomes for children and schools,” the letter reads.

It continues, “The proposals will harm children who may need to talk about this sensitive and personal area of gender/sexuality with a school professional, especially those who want to remain in the sex category assigned to them at birth, despite feelings of dysphoria.

“Allegations leading to criminal convictions and a bar from working with children, could result for any adult who does not affirm a child into a trajectory towards changing sex/gender.

“This would inevitably mean that children will remain dangerously unsupported due to teachers/professionals being wary of criminal prosecution.”

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The government is holding a public consultation on the proposals until 4 February. 

In the letter, ACT Executive Officer Elizabeth Harewood says that a conversion therapy ban could infringe on the human rights and liberties of children by preventing them from being able to voluntarily request pastoral counselling or prayer.

The organisation said that Christian teachers should be free to “gently and graciously” express their religious beliefs on sexuality and gender when prompted by children.

It also said that the government “has a duty to protect children” from “progressive and aggressive political ideologies”, and that “nuanced discussions” aimed at helping children to explore issues of gender and sexuality, as well as feelings of “distress” around these issues, “should not be classified as conversion therapy, despite the insistence of lobbying groups”.

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“To view the complexity around supporting a child experiencing gender distress as either ‘affirm’ or ‘convert’ is over simplistic and deeply damaging,” ACT said.

“Professionals should be free to explore these issues with children without fear of acting illegally.” 

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