John Cooper, the frontman and bassist for the Grammy-nominated Christian rock band SKILLET, has railed against President Joe Biden's latest vaccination push, calling it "tyrannical" and "totalitarian."
Earlier in the month, Biden announced sweeping new federal vaccine requirements mandating that all employers with more than 100 workers require them to be vaccinated or test for the virus weekly, affecting about 80 million Americans. An additional 17 million people who are in federally funded healthcare facilities will also have to be fully vaccinated.
On Monday (September 20), the Memphis, Tennessee-born Cooper, who lives in Kenosha, Wisconsin, addressed Biden's mandate in the latest episode of his "Cooper Stuff" podcast. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "All that's going on here is an insane power grab. This is just an attack on Western values, on freedom, on the things that built the West — that's all that's going on about this because when you look at the data, when you look at the stuff being said, it is such absolute nonsense, it is such absolute lies, it is such bullying tactics and tyranny and totalitarianism that you can't help but to ask questions. Even if you believe that vaccines are good, you have to look at what's going on and say, 'Okay, there's something really nefarious going on.' That's all that this is."
Referencing Biden's comment during his September 9 speech that his patience with the tens of millions of Americans who are not yet vaccinated "is wearing thin," Cooper said: "Your president is losing his patience with you. You're the problem. You're probably a bigot and you're probably a phobe of some sort and you're the problem and you hate people. Just ask the woke Christians. You won't be able to tell what they say because their mouths are full of woke cookies.
"What is happening is a revolution against the West, against American values," John repeated. "But, really, what is at the bottom of that is Christianity. That's why we are on the chopping block. I want to encourage you in your faith so that your eyes are open that you see what is actually going on.
"You don't have to agree with me about everything. Absolutely fine. I've never taken some harsh stance on vaccines. And even when I talk about masks, I've said what I think about masks and things like that. I have grace for you to do what you think is right. That is absolutely fine. What I am against is this absolute tyranny that is happening, this totalitarianism that is absolutely happening, and now we see it with these vaccine mandates."
Cooper added: "I do believe these mandates are absolutely tyrannical and they're totalitarian — there's no question about that. The move for leftist authoritarianism right now is absolutely insane. What's happening is that the leftist authoritarian power, that's where the power is in the Democratic party that has hijacked the liberal movement… Old-school liberals are not into the leftist authoritarian stuff, but the leftists have hijacked that party."
The 46-year-old SKILLET frontman, who says he is "not vaccinated," also publicly wondered why officials have been reluctant to speak about the fact that recent studies have demonstrated the power of natural immunity acquired by previously having the virus. According to The Washington Post, a 700,000-person study from Israel three weeks ago found that those who had experienced prior infections were 27 times less likely to get a second symptomatic COVID infection than those who were vaccinated. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on CNN this month that he's unsure if people who were naturally infected with COVID-19 had a lower risk of contracting the virus compared to those who received the vaccine.
"They're lying to us," John said. "That's the end of the conversation to me. Why are you lying to us? We also know this — that there are a lot of complications, a lot of people that have had adverse reactions to these vaccines. You're not allowed to say [that]; it gets you kicked off social media. And it also looks like that many of the people having these adverse reactions, it seems that if you had COVID and then got the vaccine that you might actually be more likely to have an adverse reaction. So, in other words, you might actually be putting yourself at more risk by getting the vaccine if you already had COVID, according to the data we have now. Why aren't they saying that? Why is Doctor Fauci not saying [it]? He's the lead guy. 'The science.'
"'The science' means nothing to me," John continued. "I got zero poops for 'the science,' 'cause they don't even believe what they're saying. It's not about data for these people; it's about religious dogma. They are lying to you… Why are they lying to us? There's something going on."
In his speech, Biden touched upon the fact that although people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are highly protected against severe infection, hospitalization and death caused by the virus, there are still coronavirus cases among the fully vaccinated — so-called "breakthrough" COVID cases. Referring to the quarter of eligible Americans — some 80 million people — who have not yet gotten the vaccine, Biden said: That 25% can cause a lot of damage, and they are."
Cooper addressed Biden's comments on "Cooper Stuff", saying: "We're watching this speech. Within 60 seconds, 75 seconds, the president is saying two different things. He's saying, number one, 'The vaccine's amazing. It's a miracle cure. This is the way we get out of this. It's gonna heal the land. It's gonna help everything. It's absolutely awesome.' 90 seconds later, he's saying that if you're unvaccinated, you're putting everybody at risk. … Both of those things cannot be true. I'm not even saying whether I think the vaccines are awesome — I'm not saying that; you do whatever you wanna do; that's above me — but you can't say both of those things. You can't say they're absolutely awesome and they really work, but the unvaccinated are putting everybody at risk.
"If you're vaccinated, double-vaxxed, you still can get COVID, you still spread COVID," John said. "There's even some data out of the U.K. that is suggesting that if you never had COVID but you got vaccinated, you are actually more likely — by far more likely — to contract COVID-19 than someone who actually had it once. By far."
Cooper then once again floated the conspiracy theory — one that is regularly promoted by the anti-vaccine community — that vaccines are a tool of government control.
"When you look out at what's going on right now with my spiritual eyes on, as we all should have as Christians, what I really see going on is a campaign of propaganda and lies and fear. To me, this is a spiritual issue. Yes, it's a physical issue — people are actually dying from COVID-19; that's a real disease; I'm not saying it's not; that's obviously real — but, to me, it's not really a pandemic of COVID, it's a pandemic of fear, which is a spiritual matter. It is a thing that locks you up into fear, that makes you so crazy… It is a pandemic of fear to keep you locked up, to keep you absolutely locked up that 'I am so afraid that I will give up anything to keep me safe. Government, keep me locked up, keep me isolated.' Start pointing fingers at people that don't mask, start pointing fingers at people that [don't get vaccinated], pointing fingers [at people who] wanna go back to work, pointing fingers at people that — fill in the blank. Keep me absolutely locked up in fear. A lot of Christians have fallen into this too, because we have forgotten that we don't have a spirit of fear. That's what the Bible says: 'Christ did not give you a spirit of fear but a power, love and a sound mind.'
"When I look at all this stuff with the crazy mandates, the crazy stuff they're trying to do, to not [give people the opportunity] to have a job anymore, I just look at this and I just think, shame on the government, shame on big media, shame on Big Tech," Cooper added. "Can you not see at this point that all of these people are joined together in leftist authoritarianism to try to grab more power over your life?"
A Fox News poll released Sunday shows clear majorities of Americans back mask and COVID-19 vaccination mandates. 54 percent of people favor proof of vaccination in indoor spaces like restaurants and gyms while 66 percent said they favor businesses requiring masks for customers and employees. 67 percent said they support mandating that students and teachers wear masks in schools. According to the poll, which included interviews with more than 1,000 registered voters conducted between September 12 and 15, 56 percent of voters supported Biden's directive to companies with more than 100 employees to require proof of vaccination or regular testing.
Dr. Arturo Casadevall, chair of molecular microbiology and immunology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told CNBC that COVID-19 vaccines "are extremely safe," noting that the risks of the side effects from the vaccines are significantly lower than the health risks posed by the virus. "COVID, on the other hand, is deadly, unpredictable."
COVID-19 vaccines have been studied in humans for more than a year now, and more than 174 million people have been fully vaccinated in the United States alone. There are several robust safety monitoring systems in place for these vaccines that can detect the very rare adverse events.
With the original strain of the virus, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were about 90% to 95% effective in preventing symptomatic disease. As a result of the delta variant, that efficacy rate has dropped to 66%. Still, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that unvaccinated people are almost five times more likely to contract symptomatic COVID compared to a fully vaccinated person.
Fully vaccinated people are 29 times less likely to be hospitalized because of the virus compared to those are unvaccinated, according to a study released by the CDC.
Research shows that fully vaccinated people experience milder symptoms and are half as likely to develop several symptoms in the first week of illness compared to unvaccinated people.
Various polls have consistently find that Democrats are much more likely to report having been vaccinated than Republicans, and Republicans are much more likely to say that they definitely do not want to get vaccinated.
In various interviews over the years, Cooper has said that he "always had faith in God" and that his mother was a "Jesus fanatic." He also claimed that he was willing to put his career on the line to take a stand for Christ.