Two prominent evangelical Christian leaders—Greg Laurie and John Hagee—have announced they’ve tested positive for COVID-19. Both pastors had attended separate high-profile events at the White House in September, though it’s unclear where they contracted the disease. Both men report feeling okay and have requested prayers.
John Hagee Attended Signing of Abraham Accords
John Hagee, the 80-year-old leader of Christians United for Israel, tested positive for COVID-19 on September 25, according to a spokesperson, and immediately began isolating. During worship on October 4, Hagee’s son Matt revealed the diagnosis to congregants at the church he and his father pastor—Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, which has 22,000 members.
“It was one, discovered very early, and two, his medical team has him under watchful care, and three, he’s feeling well enough to be frustrated by anyone in a white coat with a stethoscope,” Matt Hagee said. He also mentioned his father “has been diligent throughout this entire COVID pandemic to monitor his health.”
Pastor John Hagee and @CUFIActionFund Chairwoman Sandra Parker are attending the historic peace agreement ceremony at the White House between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain! 🇺🇸🇮🇱🇦🇪🇧🇭#Israel #UAE #Bahrain pic.twitter.com/P41LJx4BTm
— CUFI (@CUFI) September 15, 2020
Greg Laurie Attended SCOTUS Announcement
On October 5, Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside and Irvine, California, shared news of his COVID-19 diagnosis. Laurie, 67, attended the nomination ceremony for President Trump’s Supreme Court pick, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, at the White House Rose Garden on September 26. That same day, he also attended the Prayer March on the Mall in Washington, D.C.
Photos from September 26 show Laurie wearing a mask at times but not at others. After receiving his diagnosis, “I chose to first tell those I was directly in touch with and the congregation I pastor,” he says.
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The Prayer March in Washington, DC today was a burden that God put on the heart of @Franklin_Graham.
He was surprised along with all of us how many people showed up. Park Rangers estimate 100,000. It was so amazing to be there and see it in person. pic.twitter.com/K8PtQxCirT
— Greg Laurie (@greglaurie) September 27, 2020
In Monday’s video message, Laurie reported having a fever, feeling fatigued and achy, having an altered sense of taste, and being bored. “I just want to get out again, doing what I’m called to do,” he says. “With God’s help and your prayers, I expect to get through this.” Laurie adds that “If the President of the United States can get [COVID-19], obviously anybody can get it.”
Don’t ‘politicize’ the Virus, Says Greg Laurie
Experts have labeled the September 26 Rose Garden ceremony a “super-spreader” event, because at least 11 attendees have now been diagnosed with COVID-19. Besides the President and First Lady, several members of Trump’s staff, three Republican senators, and the president of Notre Dame University also have tested positive. But the White House reportedly has no plans to conduct contact-tracing of the event, at which few people wore masks.
Laurie was sitting near Chris Christie, the former New Jersey governor who also has tested positive. But Laurie says he doesn’t know where he contracted COVID-19 and warns against blaming the White House. “Unfortunately, the coronavirus has become very politicized,” he says. “I wish we could all set aside our partisan ideas and pull together to do everything we can to defeat this virus and bring our nation back.”
In March, as the pandemic began, Laurie told congregants “God is bigger than the coronavirus” and “the viral fear about it may be worse than the virus itself.”
This week, Laurie told Christianity Today, “I have always believed COVID was a pandemic and have tried to encourage people to take it seriously. Clearly, the scientists believe that the virus is contagious enough that it merits a vaccine.”