Christians who oppose masking have ‘the spirit of the antichrist’, says religion teacher

Obery M. Hendricks Jr., a religious teacher at Columbia University, noted last week that Christians who refuse to wear masks are possessed by “the spirit of antichrist”.

“These people are not fulfilling their gospel responsibility. They are raping it. They are spitting in their faces,” Hendricks said. “It’s anti-biblical. It’s anti-Christian. And I’ll go further…what we see reflected in their attitudes, actions and statements is what 1 John calls the spirit of antichrist. “

In Christian theology, the term “antichrist” can refer to a particular human adversary who will appear shortly before Christ’s return, but it can also refer to any person or force that opposes Christ and his teachings.

Hendricks made these comments on Reverend Dr Howard-John Wesley’s YouTube show Can I push it? Wesley is pastor of the 8,000-member Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia.

“[W]When you look again at those conservative, right-wingers who say ‘You’re infringing on my freedom by making me wear a mask’…they don’t understand that they’re violating the biblical principle of accountability to our brothers and sisters,” said Hendricks to Wesley.

He went on to claim that Franklin Graham, Paula White and Robert Jeffress – all prominent evangelical supporters of former President Donald Trump – also had the spirit of the antichrist.

This is not the first time that Hendricks has attributed this spirit to right-wing Christians. A 2020 the profile quoted him as saying “the spirit of the antichrist is unleashed by right-wing evangelicals’ embrace of Trump’s personified and articulated discourse of evil”.

Hendricks is an elder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, a self-proclaimed democratic socialist, and the author of Christians vs. Christianity: How Right-Wing Evangelicals Are Destroying Our Nation and Faith.

According to his biography, he served on a State Department task force under Secretary Hillary Clinton and delivered a final blessing at the 2008 Democratic Convention.

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