51 Comments
Jan 5Liked by Bethel McGrew

You've written the best piece on Collins ever written. It's long needed to be said about him. I've nothing but disdain for him going back to the heydays of the ID debate. He's a bad actor through and through.

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Jan 5Liked by Bethel McGrew

Thank you for attempting to hold Collins accountable … I no longer use the titles of those whose hippocratic oath “first do no harm” was quickly set aside, as you’ve rightly laid out, in favor of doing everything within their substantial amount of power to stop any discussion or allow any treatment with re-purposed drugs — and in addition trying to actively destroy the reputations of those that disagreed with the “one size fits all” narrative. DESPICABLE!

Using scripture as a means of coercion is something I’m still having difficulty coming to terms with as it put strain on my own family relationships which has yet to be overcome. Now is time for self professed Christians like Collins to model true humility and repentance … not impressed thus far.

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I gave Collins the "benefit of the doubt" for a brief period. I assumed Collins was a good but flawed guy. Now, there's just too much evidence that he's a bad guy. He's probably good to his family and doesn't kick the the dog, but he is, or became, a very bad guy in his lofty position. He should apologize, and never be in a position of power again.

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Jan 5Liked by Bethel McGrew

Thanks for this. Need a lot more from a Christian perspective - This guy made it a moral issue, thus blaming the unvaxxed for covid deaths.

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Well, to some degree they were. The anti-vaxxer crowd spread all of this propaganda and lots of people died because of it. You an anti-vaxxer?

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I wasn't before Covid. I am now. Francis Collins, and the rest of the gang, can take the credit.

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You a Kool-Aid drinker?

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Read Drs Mccullough, Kory, Marick, Cole, the list goes on … Del Bigtree ‘s podcast “The Highwire” is particularly good — everything they say is backed up with data unlike the pronouncements of media and government agencies.

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Jan 5Liked by Bethel McGrew

Collins' apology was a weak sauce apology if there ever was one. He expressed no genuine sorrow or contrition for the havoc his policies visited on multiplied hundreds of people who were not at any great risk of dying from Covid.

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Jan 5Liked by Bethel McGrew

Wow, thanks for the update. Corrosive and unrepentant christians are the worst kind. A little humility goes a long way.

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Jan 5Liked by Bethel McGrew

Thank you for such a well-written piece - I agree with you whole heartedly.

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Jan 8Liked by Bethel McGrew

I don't know what else to say except bravo and thank you. I don't accept his apology either because it wasn't an actual apology. It was similar to what I try to do when I go to Confession - talk myself out of my sin. One day he will have to truly come to terms with is role in this debacle and when he does, he will really need prayers.

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Bethel, this is an amazing piece on Collins and the aftermath of Covid policy. Thank you.

I have a son who is a Chief Medical Officer and oversees hundreds of doctors in a huge medical foundation. I heard his stories of doctors who retired due to the frenzy of fear, those who refused to work the parking lot opportunities for vaccinating patients, the doctor whose wife was an "insane" public health officer in charge of some of the most restrictive public policy. Fear reigned. He considers himself an expert on covid policy as he did Tuesday meetings for two years with groups of doctors, read research papers, oversaw treatment of thousands of patients while walking on eggshells due to the politics of the area. I am being deliberately vague. He is in California.

My other son's wife called this week with her latest health update. Shortly after being vaccinated, she developed the frightening and painful symptoms of Recurring Polychondritis and amazingly was diagnosed quickly. (Boston area) RP is a very rare autoimmune disease where the body attacks its own cartilage. Patients often aren't diagnosed for years since many doctors have never seen a patient w/RP and these poor people wander around wondering what is really wrong with them.

Last week she saw a new rheumatologist who was very interested in her history of being symptomatic shortly after vaccination and that a severe flare hit after the first booster. This doctor's husband is an epidemiologist and she said that a spike in autoimmune disorders seems clear since the covid vaccinations. I share this because it seems that the trail of physical destruction yet to be noted, researched and reported is FAR from over. BTW, RP can be fatal but always dramatically changes the life of the patient. It is awful. Meanwhile, as they continue doing battle with insurance companies regarding this strange diagnosis, some hospitals in MA are again requiring masks in hospitals. And now I have to silently scream at Fauci, Collins and their cohort of highly paid elites who are complicit in this unfathomable mess.

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Jan 7Liked by Bethel McGrew

I am very sorry to hear about your DIL. That is truly terrible. So many people have so much for which to answer.

I'm a nurse who started her career at the height of the AIDS frenzy and I remember a similar campaign of fear being deployed, but nothing as extreme as what we saw with Covid. I still can't quite believe we lived through the last 4 years.

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I would enjoy hearing more about those experiences from you. Thanks for commenting!

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Jan 8Liked by Bethel McGrew

I, too, am a nurse and was a fairly new one when we received our first identified AIDS patient at Vanderbilt. The whole hospital was on edge with anxiety. And I remember the raw fear as we had to learn to insert IVs wearing gloves, believing at that time that the loss of dexterity would increase the likelihood of an accidental slip that could be fatal. I moved to psychiatry a few years later and there I came to resent the gloves for an entirely different reason: our AIDS patients were painfully isolated, and the protective equipment eliminated any possibility of offering what seemed to be the therapy that might have been most helpful: the occasional human touch. Almost twenty years after those initial US cases I was working on an AIDS project with an NGO in southern Africa, developing an HIV/AIDS "stigma" workshop. ARV drugs were now available but we could not get them distributed because we could not get people to admit they had AIDS, even though we knew the prevalences were running at 14% at least. Our workshop got gratifying positive evaluations from the participants, but what really turned the tide was Nelson Mandela's announcement that his son had died of AIDS. It united him with the suffering people and put a rapid halt to the stigma that was previously pervasive. Fear of disease and especially fear of isolation in terrifying times is endemic to the human condition. All the greater reason to choose for our leaders and policymakers trustworthy people who understand the absolute importance of helping people to stay calm and connected with one another, and to remain hopeful even in the face of unwelcome truths.

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So, clearly I need to do a podcast with both of you now.

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Jan 6Liked by Bethel McGrew

I read this right after uploading a piece about political apologies in general: https://open.substack.com/pub/wollenblog/p/some-notes-on-political-apology?r=2248ub&utm_medium=ios&utm_campaign=post

Not clued in on the Covid controversy, but I’ve always steered clear of Collins’ writing—from what I’ve heard from him, he always struck me as one of the less original/interesting thinker at BioLogos. Great writing as always!

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He's incredibly overrated. Interesting piece! I think I can picture an apology Francis could have given that would have better satisfied your four conditions. It just wasn't the apology we got, unfortunately. At the root of it is the fact that he refuses to acknowledge his basic sin, which was pride. The fact that he's still daydreaming about Chinese totalitarianism makes this clear.

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Excellent piece, Esther! My daughter, whose husband is a newbie military doc who has bought hook, line, and sinker into the jab, sent me a video of Christian leaders saying that it was the Christian thing to do to take what some of us now 'lovingly' call, the poison poke. Pretty sure Collins was one of them in the video hawking the jab. And, then to 'seal the deal', my daughter reminded me that a pastor, whom we both adore, had once sang Collins' praises years earlier from the pulpit about something or other he had said, I don't remember what. Anyway, my doctor son-in-law ended up saying some hateful things to me regarding my stance on COVID and the jab, including that doubters like me could cause docs to commit suicide. Needless to say, this whole thing has put a wedge between us. It breaks my heart because my 3 grandkids are caught in the middle. Things are a bit better now, as long as we don't bring up the "C" word when we're in the same room.

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The Covid fiasco has divided so many families, along with the general "woke mind virus" regarding trans and the D.E.I. mindset. It does seem that a great spiritual delusion has spread throughout the earth.

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Absolutely!

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I'm really glad you've made some information about vaccine injuries available. I hope it will help counter the appalling "anti-disinformation' propaganda that is still in play.

Tragically, we have likely barely begun to see the long term harm done to the health of those who trusted the Francis Collins of this world and submitted in good faith to the experimental gene therapy presented as "the covid vaccine.' Prof. Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi, in this emotional but also informative speech to a conference of German politicians, presents something of the magnitude of the disaster, which he believes amount to medical crimes. https://twitter.com/_aussie17/status/1728754579091927287?s=20

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This opinion piece on Francis Collins is very very interesting. I think it shows how the enemy seeks to influence the faithful (and how he succeeds). It shows how the faithful can become vulnerable to the enemy's lies. It is painful to read: I think it exemplifies the church's vulnerability to Satan but very few are making that connection because there is a general ignorance about the way the enemy works.

The bible says of Satan that "we are not unaware of his schemes" so I don't think we should continue as if those schemes have no relevance to our way of being and action. We should certainly not obsess about his schemes and we should not assume that his schemes are behind every twist and turn of human experience. Satan is not omnipresent and his power is seriously constrained (essentially because there is no combination of violence and lies that will prevail over God's love and light). Even so, I think the bible expects us to be aware, not to be afraid, but to seek to consciously engage in the spiritual conflict.

I am convinced that the delusion we see in the world marks a significant change in tempo for the cosmic conflict between God and Satan. (The covid fiasco presents just one example of delusion, albeit a very important one.) We humans should recognise the shift in tempo and act accordingly. We just have to. It is a moment to be seized; it is what we should be watching and praying for. Most Christians are not thinking along these lines and that leads them to perplexity and naive activity based on presumption and assumption.

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Why I do...vaccines! Whatever the fall out, lots of people are alive today because of the work of Francis Collins and others like him...

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I used to honestly and sincerely trust and accept that vaccines were possibly the single, greatest health intervention in human history. I am no longer as confident for reasons too numerous to mention here, but let's just say the Covid debacle has revealed the wizard behind the curtain, so to speak.

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Not necessarily…the data is still coming in … Read Drs Mccullough, Kory, Marick, Cole, the list goes on … Del Bigtree ‘s podcast “The Highwire” is particularly good — everything they say is backed up with data unlike the pronouncements of media and government agencies.

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Well, I'll take Francis Collins's side on this one. I don't think you remember the horrors of April 2020 in places like NYC where the spread was uncontrolled, people were dying rapidly, and we had no idea what this thing was. Hindsight obviously offers us the opportunity for Monday morning quarterbacking, but I for one am glad that Collins, Fauci and others were focused on the disease and trying to combat something that killed over a million Americans. Looking back, all of us wish we could of and would of some things differently. In retrospect, I think the best policy would have been not to close up everything but put a strict N95 mask mandate in place and let people go about their business should they wish to. But the real problem is all of the anti-vaxxer anti-masker crowd who refuse to take responsibility for the lives they harmed in all of this. I don't think Collins needs to apologize for anything. I think you and all of your far-right companions have a lot of apologizing to do.

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I guess you missed the part where my mother took the vaccine without even thinking much about it, precisely because our family wasn't "anti-vaxxer," and had her health permanently ruined. But thanks for not reading!

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We could trade barbs and anecdotes back and forth forever. My pastor's son died of Covid-19 because he was unable to get the vaccine (it was when they were making the vaccine available by age groups and people in their 30s were just being allowed to get it). So you are not the only one with family and friends harmed by Covid-19. I was a participant in the Moderna trials and had opportunity to talk with some of the best medical professionals with experience in this kind of medicine. Is the Moderna vaccine perfect? No. But in most cases, it kept people out of the hospital who would have otherwise died. But you Trump folks don't seem to give a flip. I find it deeply tragic when any person created in the image of God suffers and/or dies including your mother. It's horrible. I just wish all of you far-right folks had the same compassion for the million or so who died from this horrible disease. Perhaps that can be your next column.

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Jan 5·edited Jan 5Author

I'm sorry about your pastor's son. But my point was simply that you don't seem to have read the actual column. Also, my family are not "Trump folks," thanks.

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Really bizarre that you think the reason why things went so badly with covid is because of the “anti-vaxers”.

In Countries like the UK, opposition to the vaccine was non-existent. Masks were universally enforced for longer than in the US. It didn’t matter. Just as many people (in proportion) died.

In fact, the numbers look slightly worse than those of Sweden and American states like Florida, where the lockdowns were minimal, schools didn’t close, and most people kept showing up at the daily jobs.

You might have known about the above if you weren’t too busy shutting down everyone who disagrees with you and labelling them as “Trump folks”, “far-right folks”.

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Jan 5Liked by Bethel McGrew

Life is much more nuanced than creating categories and labeling people anti-vaxxer or Trump folks.

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Normally I don’t respond to folks that throw vitriolic labels out, but feel compelled to perhaps persuade you to listen to Drs Mccullough, Kory, Marick, Cole, the list goes on … Del Bigtree ‘s podcast “The Highwire” is particularly good — everything they say is backed up with data unlike the pronouncements of media and government agencies.

I am sorry about your pastor’s son but perhaps if he’d been given the chance to use one of the treatments that were being successfully applied but not reported on he might have had a chance outside of the vaccine.

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Donald Trump is apparently not "Trump folks" since he advocated everyone be vaccinated and was quite proud of the speed with which the vaccines were developed. Anecdotally, my husband heard Trump speak in Cullman, Alabama where the crowd roundly booed him (Trump, not my husband) for encouraging everyone to get shots and boosters.

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I'm afraid you are trading in exactly the kind of irrational ad hominem and stereotyping that characterized Collins' oversight of the pandemic. You accuse Dr. McGrew of insensitivity to covid-19 deaths based on nothing other than your own inability to digest what she's actually said, and having misconstrued her remarks go on to confidently place her in your ironically simple-minded taxonomy of simpletons, i.e., "Trump folks." Please understand: pointing out that the covid shots did not perform according to the North Korean-like mantra of "safe and effective" at rollout does nothing to diminish the value or tragedy of those who lost their lives to the virus, but shows instead how such tragedy was compounded by a one-size-fits-all approach to an experimental medicine that unsurprisingly went on to damage many people who did not need it and were coerced into taking it anyway.

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Yes, let's revisit places like NYC in April 2020 where they were doing things like:

1)transferring infected patients into the one population we knew AT THAT TIME were the most vulnerable to the virus (i.e. nursing homes - Andrew Cuomo, et al, take bow); and

2)first denying ANY TYPE OF CARE and then forcing ET tubes down a sick patient's throat and killing 90% of them.

Further, you need to read up on the emails and documents coming out about how the crisis was handled and accept that they lied to us from the beginning. We are in January 2024. There is simply too much information available which argues against any good faith at this point. The only apology I owe is to my kids for not fighting harder on their behalf.

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Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU. I love your writing - here and in World Mag. As someone who was disowned by an old friend for being "selfish" in not taking the shots, and as someone who knows a whole list of vaccine killed/injured in my social circle, one of the least forgivable things for me in the past few years was the weaponization of so-called religious leaders. Thank you for calling it out so clearly.

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