Anti-Vax Christian Broadcaster Dies of COVID at 64 - Word&Way

Anti-Vax Christian Broadcaster Dies of COVID at 64

(RNS) —  Marcus Lamb, a prominent Christian broadcaster known for his outspoken opposition to COVID-19 vaccines, has died after contracting the virus. He was 64.

“This morning at 4 a.m. the president and founder of Daystar and the love of my life went to be with Jesus,” said his wife, Joni, on a Tuesday (Nov. 30) morning broadcast. “I wanted you to hear from me that he’s with the Lord.“

Marcus Lamb preaches at Free Chapel in Gainesville, Georgia, in September 2021. (Religion News Service screengrab)

Marcus Lamb was co-founder and CEO of the Daystar Television Network, a network popular with evangelical and charismatic Christians. In recent weeks, friends and supporters had been praying for his recovery, seeing it as a spiritual attack because of his advocacy against vaccines and push for alternate treatments.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that this is a spiritual attack from the enemy,” Lamb’s son, Jonathan, said on a Nov. 23 broadcast of the Ministry Now program. “As much as my parents have gone on here to kind of inform everyone about everything going on to the pandemic and some of the ways to treat COVID — there’s no doubt that the enemy is not happy about that. And he’s doing everything he can to take down my Dad.”

Daystar has broadcast a series of programs featuring vaccine skeptics such as Robert Kennedy Jr., Sherri Tenpenny and Del Bigtree as well as a group of physicians known as America’s Frontline Doctors, who support the use of hydroxychloroquine and other alternative treatments for dealing with COVID-19. An episode featuring Bigtree, best known for his anti-vaccine film Vaxxed, and Kennedy began with Marcus and Joni Lamb sitting with their young granddaughter and defending their efforts to help people do their own research about vaccines.

“Why are we doing this?”  Marcus Lamb said. “Because God loves people and we love people.”

“And let me tell you something — God has made us body, soul, and spirit. He’s concerned about the whole person, and so are we,” he said. “And you know that the devil can take people out before they fulfill destiny and purpose — that’s what he wants to do because he hates God. So the only way he could get back at God is trying to attack God’s children.”

Joni Lamb said that her husband had diabetes and that he had been hospitalized for COVID-19 after his oxygen levels dropped. She also said that he had tried alternative treatments but was not able to recover. She said she had used the protocols that they had promoted on the program and “breezed through COVID.”

In addition to Joni and Jonathan, Lamb is survived by his daughters Rachel and Rebecca.

The issue of COVID-19 vaccines has been controversial for religious broadcasters such as Daystar. In August, the spokesman for the National Religious Broadcasters, a trade association, was fired after encouraging evangelicals to consider being vaccinated — comments his employer claimed violated the NRB’s neutral stance on vaccines.

Rev. James Merritt, a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, said he was grieved to hear of Lamb’s death. He had appeared on Lamb’s show several times to promote books and the two shared a love of the University of Georgia’s football team. He said that during his visits, Lamb was surrounded by family, describing him as a sweet man.

“They have got a wonderful, beautiful family,” he said. “It’s just a real tragedy.”

Lamb’s ministry made headlines earlier this year after Inside Edition reported that Daystar bought a private jet not long after securing a $3.9 million loan through the Paycheck Protection Plan program, funded by federal COVID-19 relief dollars. The loan was later repaid.

Daystar, which is part of the Word of God Fellowship, first went on the air in 1997, according to Daystar’s website.