Margaret Court and her church have sparked fresh controversy with a statement telling followers they are ‘protected’ from coronavirus.
As hundreds of thousands around the world continue to contract the virus, Court’s Victory Life Church in Perth released a statement on Friday telling followers they need not worry because they are ‘protected by the Blood of Jesus’.
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“Your health and safety is a top priority for us and we have taken a proactive approach to keep our church family health and safe,” the statement read.
“We are in agreement that this Convid-19 (sic) will not come near our dwelling or our church family.
“We are praying daily for you, knowing that we are all protected by the Blood of Jesus.”
Nevertheless, the church said it will provide hand sanitiser for followers.
“For your convenience, hand sanitiser is readily available at all our sites,” the statement added.
“Our desire is for you to be informed and know that out heart is to protect and ensure the safety of all so we can continue to worship together, all out service will operate as per normal.”
The statement also contained a bible verse, reading: “No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling.”
Court’s church slammed over ‘dangerous’ claims
The statement immediately went viral on social media, with many slamming Court and her church.
Court is a senior pastor at the Victory Life Church.
3AW Radio host Justin Smith was particularly scathing of Court.
“This is from Margaret Court’s church,” he tweeted on Friday.
“They’re not afraid of getting the virus because protected by the ‘Blood of Jesus’, the assumption being that anyone who has the virus — including those who died — were not loved by their god.
“Religion is just plain bloody nasty sometimes”.
This is from Margaret Court’s church. They’re Not afraid of getting the virus because protected by the “Blood of Jesus”.— Justin Smith (@JustinSmith3AW) March 13, 2020
The assumption being that anyone who has the virus—including those who died—were not loved by their god.
Religion is just plain bloody nasty sometimes. pic.twitter.com/5dW03N0YDK
And he wasn’t alone, with many labelling the church’s claims ‘dangerous’ and ‘irresponsible’.
The church that Margaret Court founded put a statement out that they are protected from Wuhan Coronavirus by the "blood of Jesus".— 💧Nick (@nickbarnesaus) March 13, 2020
Doesn't her church know two main outbreaks that occurred in South Korea & Singapore happened in churches?
Absolute madness!https://t.co/SBPqRriF7i pic.twitter.com/pUhuvhoR0z
Not all climate deniers are Coronavirus deniers, but the vast majority of coronavirus deniers seem to be climate deniers...ignoring science is very dangerous, and that makes people like Margaret Court very very dangerous...and she’s homophobic #auspol https://t.co/g5FPKaTq0k— Richard Denniss (@RDNS_TAI) March 13, 2020
Those defending Margaret Court take a look at this https://t.co/Nt689DBFWk— Luke Dennehy (@LukeDennehy) March 13, 2020
Terrifying— Ms Amanda 🦄 (@altm1169) March 13, 2020
Good luck with that. Should you fall ill, do not go to hospital. Go immediately to the church.— Hiden (@hidenseke) March 13, 2020
Working well in Italy this theory is.— Darren Chard (@darrenchard) March 13, 2020
Tennis legends fed up with Margaret Court
Court has also been the source of major controversy in recent years with her criticism of same-sex marriage and similar conservative views.
Trailblazing tennis legend Billie Jean King recently declared she'd turn down the volume of her criticisms of her one-time Australian rival - but she wants Court to change her tune on the LGBT community.
Two years ago, King called for the renaming of the Australian Open's Margaret Court Arena after Court said tennis is “full of lesbians” and spoke out against transgender youth.
King said her response got under the 77-year-old's skin.
“She's mad at me, because she doesn't want me to say her name should be removed,” King told the New York Daily News.
“And I appreciate that. I'm going to stop probably.”
But she added she wants Court to be “more loving.”
Fellow American greats Martina Navratilova and John McEnroe voiced their displeasure with Court last month, staging a protest at the Australian Open.
The two held up a sign that said: "Evonne Goolagong Arena" in colourful typeset, pushing for the renaming of the court for the seven-time Grand Slam winner.