Coronavirus is no joke — and tragically some folks are finding that out the hard way.
Stephen Harmon (not pictured), a member of Hillsong church known for his viral anti-vaccine tweets, died of COVID-19 on Wednesday after a month-long fight with the virus and pneumonia. He was just 34 years old.
It’s important to note that while he was also battling pneumonia, COVID notoriously acts like a match for other illnesses, making them even worse. Plenty of people have died just with COVID, and plenty of people have died with COVID and other illnesses present, but ultimately, COVID is the cause.
The megachurch’s pastor, Brian Houston (above), confirmed Harmon’s death and its cause on Twitter, after getting word from his son Ben Houston, writing:
“Ben has just passed on to us the devastating news that our beloved friend, Stephen Harmon has passed away from Covid. Heartbreaking.”
The Los Angeles native was a Hillsong College graduate who spent weeks posting — and joking — about the coronavirus vaccine, even up until his last breath. He famously tweeted on June 3, less than two months before his death:
“If you’re having email problems, I feel bad for you, son. I got 99 problems but a vax ain’t one.”
It’s unclear if Stephen’s views derived from his church organization’s beliefs, but they certainly don’t run counter to them. Hillsong’s YouTube channel currently includes a video discussing the pros and cons of the vaccine, basically telling followers it’s up to them.
We do know the main congregation in Australia is firmly against locking down religious activities even another quarantine is needed — so like the megachurches here in the US, we guess they are fine risking their flock’s lives??
Stephen’s views on the vaccine were incredibly clear. While he did not want to be called an anti-vaxxer — he described himself as “pro information” — he was clearly against the push for people to get vaccinated. Even as his condition worsened rapidly in the hospital, his controversial opinions on the global pandemic were unwavering. Using Twitter and Instagram to connect with a combined following of 7K people, the writer shared in early July:
“Biden’s door to door vaccine ‘surveyors’ really should be called JaCovid Witnesses. #keepmovingdork.”
He also targeted Dr. Anthony Fauci by uploading a meme (below) along with the caption:
“When you can’t trust the Bible cause it was written by man, but you trust the CDC/Fauci guidelines cause they were written by man. Makes total sense”
When you can’t trust the Bible cause it was written by man, but you trust the CDC/Fauci guidelines cause they were written by man. Makes total sense. pic.twitter.com/JqUeZGpr5w
— Stephen Harmon (@stephenharmon) May 26, 2021
What doesn’t make sense is believing science and faith can’t co-exist! We mean, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is a Catholic — and he’s fine trusting God and vaccines at the same time! It’s not like Christians have some rule against bandaging wounds or something.
In June, Harmon continued his ranting by mocking vaccinated individuals, saying:
“Since everyone is a social construct these days & folks out here identifying as different races than they’re born as (Rachel Dolezal now Nkechi Amare Diallo) I’ve decided that I, now, identify as a 6-3 D1 collegiate athlete. And, if you prefer, I’ll identify as vaccinated, too.”
Ugh. It’s so frustrating to see someone act so casual about a very real and very life-threatening illness killing thousands around the world… especially to know the very thing they were mocking would soon take their life.
It’s unclear when Stephen contracted COVID, but it’s chilling to see that even up until his final moments, he was firmly against taking basic precautionary measures against the virus.
Days before his death, he updated loved ones, revealing he’d been placed “on max oxygen” and was “struggling to function.” He asked for prayers as he determined whether or not to go on a ventilator, explaining:
“Please pray y’all, they really want to intubate me and put me on a ventilator. even the slightest movements and my heart rate skyrockets and oxygen dependency increases. and please, I’m not asking for anyone’s opinion on intubation, I’ll make my own choice, I’m asking for prayer.”
He later added:
“If you don’t have faith that God can heal me over your stupid ventilator then keep the Hell out of my ICU room, there’s no room in here for fear or lack of faith!’ #ThingsIAmAboutToScream.”
Ultimately, he decided to seek assistance from the ventilator, but the decision came too late. In his last tweet, he expressed:
“I’m choosing to going under intubation, I’ve fought this thing as hard as I can but unfortunately it’s reached a point of critical choice & as much as I hate having to do this I’d rather it be willingness than forced emergency procedure. Don’t know when I’ll wake up, please pray.”
We’re thinking of Harmon’s family and friends in light of this devastating loss. Mostly we hope this serves as motivation for those still undecided to get vaccinated, whatever your religious beliefs. Not because it’s about “winning” or political sides or being anti-religion — we just want everyone to be safe.
[Image via Stephen Harmon/Instagram.]