Measles, a disease with the potential to kill, was thought to have been totally eradicated in the United States as recently as the year 2000. Its demise was a blessing of modern medicine and came about through a rigorous childhood vaccination program.
But not everyone is happy with the notion that the government, or in this case schools, can mandate that children be vaccinated, and over recent years there has been a strong pushback against mandatory vaccinations for childhood diseases. Not surprisingly some politicians have taken to pandering to the anti-vaccination crowd as they look for votes anywhere they can be found - and malcontents may tend toward being loud and obnoxious, but they do vote.
As the anti-vaccination movement has begun making inroads in this country, measles has reappeared Last year there was a record 644 cases in the United States. This year there have already been 121 cases of measles reported in a total of seventeen states and the District of Columbia - a number that is well on its way to surpassing last year's record.
This week there was an interesting story out of Texas regarding measles. Texas mega-church pastor, Kenneth Copeland, who has been a voice in the anti-vaxxer's movement, became suddenly quiet when it was revealed that there are now ten cases of measles in his church alone. Copeland's daughter, Terri, who is a preacher in her father's ministry, has announced that free measles vaccinations are now available at the church. Copeland's ministry is blaming the measles outbreak on a visitor to the church - but that is, after all, how epidemics work - and most churches are eager to have visitors.
Apparently the word of a charismatic minister alone is not enough to protect children from measles, just as a museum dedicated to the religious notion of "creationism" does not offer sufficient protection to keep an on-duty employee from being harmed by lightening. The lord works in mysterious ways, and one of those ways appears to be childhood vaccinations.