EXCLUSIVE: Tongue-in-Cheek News Service Will Update this Report as Additional Information Becomes Available.
HAGERSTOWN, MD -- In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, religious conservatives scheduled a Sunday prayer vigil in this semi-rural Maryland city. Hagerstown sits in the Great Appalachian Valley, about a couple of hours west of Washington, D.C. wikipedia.org/wiki/Hagerstown,_Maryland
Leaders said they would hand out lumps of coal taken from a recently reopened West Virginia coal mine. Hagerstown is near Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, just south of the Mason-Dixon Line.
"We have faith that coal, and not hand sanitizer, will protect us in this time of need," Jerry Falwell Jr. said in a statement announcing the meeting, which is expected to draw thousands of people from around the country. "We believe that coal -- clean coal -- will set us free. By the grace of God and the actions of our beloved president, a coal mine reopened recently and gave us this bounty."
Falwell also repeated claims he made Friday on Fox & Friends. "You remember the North Korean leader promised us a Christmas present for America?" he said. "Could it be they got together with China and this is that present? I don't know. But it really is something strange going on." click here
Falwell, the president of Liberty University, a religious-based university created by his deceased father, added, "We denounce the reported statement of Ron Reagan Jr., who said the Coronavirus was God's way of punishing President Trump for years of lies, criminal behavior and abuse of power. Reagan is a liar, a damned liar who will burn in hell."
A staunch supporter of Trump, Falwell continued, "Reagan is an atheist who does not even give President Trump credit for reinvigorating the coal industry, which gives many of our brothers good paying jobs."
Reagan, in a statement, confirmed that he is an atheist. But he called the Fox News report Falwell quoted slander. "As my dear father, Ronald Reagan, might have said, "People who lie need to tear down their wall of libel and slander and myth. We need truth-telling, plain and simple, as this medical crisis gets worse. Have faith in a lump of coal if that makes you feel better. But consider practicing social distancing and using hand sanitizer too."
Meanwhile, President Trump remained hunkered down in an underground bunker in the "D.C. SWAMP!!!," according to a Twitter statement he released today. "I continue to study intelligence reports, review medical recommendations and pray by phone with evangelical leaders who will rise up Sunday at Hagerstown, near the location of a famous Civil War battlefield at Antietam."
The 45th president, who needs conservative religious support to win a second term, continued, "We must fight the Coronavirus battle as if it were a war, a war spread by a foreign enemy with help from American traitors." Trump has previously claimed that a 400 pound Ukrainian man made the virus in the home of his mother's Kiev basement. Quoting unreleased intelligence documents, the president charged that members of the "American Deep State" conspired with the overweight Ukrainian man.
Falwell and Trump have not explained why they blame different sources for causing the Coronavirus pandemic.
(Article changed on March 22, 2020 at 11:58)