The Gospel of Sherri Tenpenny: COVID-19 Misinformation Meets Christian Nationalism

By Jack Jenkins
Sherri Tenpenny COVID
Dr. Sherri Tenpenny testifies before an Ohio House of Representatives health committee, on June 8, 2021. (Video screen grab)

Testifying to Ohio state legislators in June, an osteopathic doctor from Cleveland suggested that COVID-19 vaccines could “magnetize” people’s bodies, or, alternatively, allow them to “interface” with cellphone towers.

“They can put a key on their forehead and it sticks,” Dr. Sherri Tenpenny said during her testimony before members of the Ohio House of Representatives considering a proposed ban on vaccine mandates.

Medical professionals, of course, have spelled out that the coronavirus vaccines don’t do anything of the sort, and video of Tenpenny’s remarks — shared widely on social media — quickly became a case study in how conspiracy theories and misinformation have spread during the pandemic.

But less attention was paid to the ominous religious warning Tenpenny issued earlier in her testimony.

“For those of you who say you are Christians, what will your life review look like at the end of your life?” Tenpenny asked the lawmakers. “Will the Lord say to you: ‘You coerced people into being injected with this gene-modification technology that irreversibly disrupts your chromosomes?’”

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It was a glimpse into the curious gospel of Tenpenny, a key figure in an increasingly vocal, faith-fueled movement that blends anti-mask and anti-vaccine sentiment with QAnon conspiracy theories and Christian nationalism.

Tenpenny is a veteran anti-vaccine activist, but her expanded reach since the pandemic began has landed her on the Center for Countering Digital Hate’s “Disinformation Dozen” list, a group that researchers deemed responsible for 65% of anti-vaccine misinformation on social media platforms.

Her inaccurate claims have exasperated politicians and scientists struggling to curb the virus’s spread. President Joe Biden lambasted the “disinformation dozen” in July, accusing them of “killing people” with questionable claims via social media. Tech giants, too, have responded: Tenpenny claims much of her content has been removed from Facebook, Instagram and other social media websites.

K.C. Craichy, bottom, a pastor and head of LivingFuel, prays over Dr. Sherri Tenpenny during her Instagram live program “Happy Hour with Dr. T.” (Video screen grab)

“Happy Hour with Dr. T,” a semiweekly Bible study on Instagram Live, survived, however, and Tenpenny has suggested the program — and the pandemic — coincided with a shift in her faith.

Tenpenny, who did not respond to requests for an interview, has explained in happy hour sessions how she was raised as a fundamentalist Christian before bouncing between Lutheran, Methodist and Catholic traditions. For much of her life, she said, she wasn’t an “on-fire-for-God person like I am now.”

Her spiritual outlook took a sharp turn in January of 2020, however, when she decided to leave her past as a “lukewarm Christian” behind.

“I finally said, ‘OK, God, I’m in — 100% in,’” she said.

In practice, this personal revival has fostered a rotating agenda of spreading unfounded claims about COVID-19, Christian nationalism and references to conspiracy theories derived from the QAnon movement, which accuses a secret cabal of satanic pedophiles of ruining the world.

In one session, Tenpenny implores God to release the U.S. from the “tyranny of the mask,” argues America is founded “on your word” and expresses hope it will “return” to being “one country under God.” In another, she refers to vaccines as a “bioweapon to damage your children” created by “satanists” who allow Black Lives Matter and antifa activists to operate as a “front” to “drive socialism through the heart of America, which turns into communism.”

She concludes: “You can’t be waffle-y anymore. You can’t be a ‘sorta’ Christian. You’re either going to have to be in or out; you’re either going to wear a mask and be obedient or you’re not. You’re going to take the vaccine or you’re not. You’re going to stand against the globalists and the satanists or you’re not. And I think God is calling his people to do that.”

Tenpenny has had on her show K.C. Craichy, a pastor and head of LivingFuel, who reportedly held multiple events in 2020 that spread COVID-19 misinformation; Sam Rohrer, onetime Pennsylvania state lawmaker turned president of the American Pastors Network; Jill Nobel, a spiritual life coach; and Dr. Jim Meehan, a Tulsa ophthalmologist and blogger who has cast aspersions on mask use.

“I’m a huge fan of yours, and I can see God working through you,” Meehan said during his appearance, which included Tenpenny suggesting vaccines could potentially lead to the creation of Manchurian candidates.

Sherri Tenpenny
Sherri Tenpenny (Video screengrab / InfoWars)

Tenpenny, who said she prays with her patients, appears to have established a base among that portion of white evangelicals who make up the largest religious subset (28%) of “vaccine refusers” in the U.S., according to PRRI.

Tenpenny’s forthcoming book, “The Day the Doctor Told the Truth,” is slated to be published by Brad Cummings, a recent happy hour guest who owns Shiloh Road Publishers and who earlier helped found a publishing company, Windblown Media, to publish the popular Christian book “The Shack.” Cummings was instrumental in that book’s success and went on to help produce the movie based on it.

Last month, Tenpenny got a rousing response at Bards Fest, a Christian nationalist gathering in St. Louis organized by Scott Kesterson. In her presentation, the doctor claimed the shots have no medical benefit, make people sick and amount to a “sin” because getting one involves “bowing to fear.” She also encouraged listeners to use debates with family about vaccination — which she said should focus on a loved one’s “addiction” to fear — as an opportunity for evangelism.

“How many stories are in the Bible about (Jesus) healing leprosy? Leprosy back in the day, when Jesus was alive, was an incurable deadly disease,” she said. “Don’t you think he might be able to take care of you in COVID, too?”

Tenpenny went on to frame vaccine proponents as murderous descendants of the biblical Nimrod (“They want every one of you either subjected to satanic rule or dead”) and encourage listeners to pull their children out of school (“Grab your kids and run”).

It’s an unusual theology shared by many of the guests she invites onto her happy hours, guests who often match her proclivity for mixing faith with anti-mask or anti-vaccine sentiment. 

“Dr. Sherri, I’m not going to put on a mask. Can I tell you why? Because the Ten Commandments tell me that I should not bear false witness against my neighbor,” said Dave Daubenmire, a former high school football coach who was once sued by the American Civil Liberties Union for allegedly leading his team in prayer and distributing Scripture to players. “I know they don’t work.”

(There is ample evidence, including a massive randomized study recently conducted in Bangladesh and currently in preprint, that masks help limit the spread of COVID-19.)

The precise scope of Tenpenny’s influence is unclear, but a few days after Bards Fest, Tenpenny and Daubenmire announced a new joint venture with the inspirational speaker Ohio Brett. They reportedly hope to raise $100 million to create “Christian training centers” that will equip their trainees to protest businesses that have donated to Black Lives Matter activists and support those who “speak out against this global government tyranny.”

When she announced the initiative on her happy hour, Tenpenny declared: “We can change the course of America.”

Jack Jenkins is an award-winning journalist and national reporter for the Religion News Service. 



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58 thoughts on “The Gospel of Sherri Tenpenny: COVID-19 Misinformation Meets Christian Nationalism”

  1. Those spreading this type of misinformation are instruments of foreign adversaries that seek to exploit the impact of disruption.

    Sadly, I don’t know if many in on the conspiracy theories and assertion of so called rights will be persuaded otherwise

    1. It doesn’t help when Janet Parshall in the first hour of her program last Friday railed about our Christian “rights” being threatened, while not referencing the 10,000+ in the United States that had died of Covid in the previous 7 days, almost all among the unvaccinated.

      1. Osteopathic doctors are board certified to practice medicine, just as MD’s. Don’t pan the profession just because of this person.

  2. I see that the Roys Report is pushing liberal disinformation. Dr. Sherry Tenpenny is a national treasure and hero. 47 studies have shown masks don’t work, and millions are dying or being injured by the vaccines. Ivermectin works, Hydroxychloriqen works. I am so disappointed in Julie Roy’s allowing this kind of reporting.

    1. Well, say what you must about masks, different treatments that might work to treat covid, etc., but don’t try to argue that a woman who has said that vaccinated people “can put a key on their forehead and it sticks” is really a beacon of truth and scientific accuracy.

    2. You speak truth, Jim.

      In typical liberal-leftist fashion, Sherry Tenpenny is being mocked and marginalized for not following the script. And really, IF your mask and vax work like you were told they would, who cares what Sherry thinks or does?

    3. Did you know that Dr Tenpenny is a “polio denier”? She believes that the severe effects attributed to polio (paralysis etc) was actually due to use of DDT. DDT wasn’t in use until the 40s. So, how did President Roosevelt and my uncle contract polio decades before that time?

      Dr Tenpenny is opposed to ALL vaccinations not just covid.

    4. Barbara disbrow

      The CDC , Fauci is in the pockets of big pharmakeia. Francis Collins and fauci did gain of research, covid was created on a computer. To create fear and push a gene therapy injection.The whole scamdemic is a LIE and the churches drank the koolaid.and took the bioweapon. . And disappointed in the lack of discernment in the comments. Thank you for yours. The wheat is being separated from the tares. It is a spirit of antichrist beast system being promoted by this injection, and many Christians are deceived. . Next an article will come up on this site denouncing Dr. Peter Mcullough.

  3. I just wrote a nice (apparently a little too long) two paragraph comment – yet the system kicked it out and would not allow it.

    so here is the too short version – “I agree with Yvonne G.”

  4. I’m a Christian. I’ve been vaccinated. And I can’t get a key to stick to my forehead (not that I’d want to).
    I’ve never heard of this person and obviously haven’t missed anything. These absurd comments aren’t even entertaining, just very depressing. Sheesh.

      1. Your right. I don’t want to hear it, because it’s nonsense. Millions are not dying or being injured by the vaccines.

        No one is censoring you either. You’ve had two comments approved here.

        1. Gordon H,

          EU/USA /UK–
          38,488 Covid-19 injection related deaths
          6.3 million injuries reported far in August 2021 VARES

          EU to 28th August 2021 –
          23,252 Covid-19 injection deaths
          over 2.1 million injuries per EudraVigilance Database

          1. Gordon H,

            So it is data manipulation when it doesn’t agree with the narrative, but all of your sources are impeccable, without conflict of interest, and trust worthy?

          2. Andrew,

            The key point of the article for me was not about data manipulation, but rather about the fact that the data from VAERS and the Eudravigilance is unverified. Anyone can leave a report on them, so the raw data found on them needs to be verified.

      2. Me too. Something is off. Something is off on this reporting. It’s quite obvious this reporter has a huge bias and is essentially slandering Tenpenny. I hope Roy’s Report will look into this.

  5. I have been helped by Dr. Tenpenny’s information on immune system prophylactics and treating symptoms of “Covid-19”. ( I don’t know
    about the magnetic claims.)

  6. This is obviously a hit piece against Dr Sherri Tenpenny, a researcher who is loved by thousands. I would like to see Tenpenny debate this slanderer.

    1. Is what is mentioned in the article an accurate account of her statements, or is it all fabricated?

      Whether she is loved or not by others has no correlation with what she said (or didn’t say)

  7. She merely asked people to repent of taking the vaccine without knowing what was in it, because it alters DNA and came from research involving aborted babies.

    Telling people to get experimental treatments in order to “love their neighbor” is more of a false gospel.

    1. The claims have been answered or debunked numerous times over. It’s amazing to me that people keep repeating them willy-nilly at this point.

    2. Sara: google how many medications we use daily come from fetal tissue. Ever take most aspirins? Another evangelical scare tactic and for most Christians I know (evangelicals are the crazy uncles and aunts of Christianity) the shots and the masks aren’t anything to fear.

  8. Julie, this is a yahoo crackpot nobody and you know it. Why not expose Beth Moore who teaches that you should feel guilt at the color of skin that you were born with?

    1. The Roys Report is not a “discernment” blog that examines everyone’s theology. I published this particular story because it’s news. But I’m not going to start examining the theology of every evangelical leader. I’m a journalist, not a theologian.

      1. I didn’t realize Jack Jenkins was a theologian. It was bad news and Roy’s Report is going to take a hit for using it.

          1. Well Julie, I don’t think it was a story describing her theology, it was a hit job. When you have a writer using Center for Countering Digital Hate as a source, surely you know that any group that has “hate” in their title are everything them claim to be against.

          2. The bigger story and a great insight into everything wrong in Christianity is:

            They reportedly hope to raise $100 million to create Christian training centers that will equip their trainees to protest businesses…

            She wants to create a political group and the money that comes with it.

          3. He added his opinion with this Fox news link discounting their mask claim

            (There is ample evidence, including a massive randomized study recently conducted in Bangladesh and currently in preprint, that masks help limit the spread of COVID-19)

            Is that objective reporting?

  9. Is there even one scientifically proven case of a vaccinated person who has actually placed a key on their forehead and it stuck magnetically?

    1. She is trying to tie in the “mark of the beast” on the forehead, to the vaccine, which would cause some to view the vaccinated as satanic. Truly evil rhetoric designed to divide, get money.

    2. Barbara Disbrow

      There are scientific proof of deaths from the vaccine and permanent disabilities. Is that good enough?
      The defender at children’s health defense .org shows the VAERS every week. And that is greatly underreported. Dr Peter Mcullough has teens that took the jab and he watched their hearts rot before his eyes. But no one reports on that. Just keep romans 13 and bow to the state.

  10. The title of this article alone shows the inability of the journalist to research the subject(a) thoroughly. Clearly a hit piece. Very disappointing to see published here. Increasingly, this appears to be a site less concerned with love, justice and truth; prioritizing something else in return.

    1. Barbara Disbrow

      I agree. The medical industrial complex is in control here. Julie is on to the evangelical industrial complex. But the medical is far worse.

    2. Very true Krista, There seem to be many articles like this on this news outlet. There is a serious growing problem with lack of discernment in the church, both when it comes to accepting the official narrative and with accepting counternarratives. I don’t know why a doctor would testify about what she saw in a YouTube video. No doctor should be making claims like that unless they have used the scientific method to see it for themselves. Obviously anyone who tried testing the claim will see that the vaccine is not magnetizing people’s bodies and making silverware stick to them. But that doesn’t mean everything this doctor stands for should be judged in the same way. More importantly, the damage being done by the official narrative is astronomically more significant than anything false this doctor has said. Where are the articles about the true culprits behind this virus, who actually are responsible for millions of deaths, the same people who are using the virus to take away our rights and impose tyranny on us. If you don’t see the fascism this virus is being used to implement, if you can’t see this is the warm up for the mark of the beast, you have no discernment.

  11. Journalists are not the final judge and jury to judge opinions and beliefs- right or wrong. I trust my brothers and sisters in Christ to sort out stuff like this. Stop being a part of cancel culture. This isn’t hidden so we don’t need your help to report on it…unless this is revealing your own bias.

  12. The “key” claim is an inversion of the original claim of magnets sticking to the arm post shot (apparently due to the leaky vaccine causing an iron buildup in the injection site).

  13. Jack Jenkins is a reporter who graduated from Harvard and “is featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, New Yorker, CNN, MSNBC and a Netflix Docu-series”. Julie, have you “fact-checked” his reporting? Have you investigated his past affiliations? How can we trust his motives?

    1. Jack has written some excellent articles for The Roys Report and he is a competent journalist who adheres the the standards of the profession. I can’t judge his motives; only God knows a person’s heart. But I have not known any of his facts to be incorrect. If you know of any facts that are in question, please let me know.

      1. One sided reporting is not competent journalism. Jack is not reporting all the relevant facts. One example:

        There are dozens of mask studies around the world that prove masks are not effective against this virus. He conveniently only mentions one study which supports his point and the official narrative (and let’s not even discuss the type of masks people wear! The majority sport a flimsy fabric mask which only reduces oxygen to the wearer, and offers practically no protection for anything at all).

        From Peter McCullough M.D(Professor of Medicine at Texas A & M College of Medicine, Author of 35 Peer Reviewed publications on Sars-Cov 2 Infection, world renowned authority on COVID and editor-in-chief of two major medical journals):

        “1) The virus is about one micron in size. The mask filters out three microns, even the really good ones. So the virus moves in and out of the mask very easily

        2) there have been 12 randomized trials, that is our gold standard, including most recently the Dan Mask trial, showing public masking has no benefit.”

        Jack neglected to report these important facts in his article.

        1. Travis Hutchinson

          Dr McCullough is not a world-renowned authority on COViD. He is an internist and a cardiologist. That doesn’t mean he’s wrong about anything, but authorities on COVID are immunologists and virologists. His argument that masking is ineffective against COVID because the virus is smaller than the membrane of the masks makes me pretty suspicious of his scientific judgement because that would be an argument against masking across the board. I guarantee you that if he’s in a surgical theater, and he may not have the training for that either, he’s wearing a mask. The reason is that most viruses travel on moisture droplets out of our mouths and noses and those droplets ARE significantly reduced by wearing masks. That doesn’t mean that we should all be wearing masks, but the science behind some of his claims is faulty.

  14. The maelstrom of anger catalyzed by this article, as witnessed in the responses of so many of the readers, simply demonstrates the horrible mess that in which Evangelical Christianity in America currently finds itself enmeshed.
    The only word that comes readily to my mind is “toxicity”.

  15. What is the definition of “Christian Nationalism?” I can’t find it on Wikipedia. When I learned about nationalism in college, it was taught in relation to WW1. Are all Evangelical Republicans now “Christian Nationalists” in addition to all being “racists,” (regardless of their skin color)?

  16. Chuck Chillingworth

    The unsolvable problem is our social media outlets give an instant platform to people who just have an opinion. They are vetted only after the fact when the damage has already been done. Ms. Tenpenny has by her own admission only been a committed Christian for less than 2 years and should never been granted the platform she has. Paul warns about this. It’s dangerous for the new Christian and dangerous for the church. Mike LIndell has the same problem; new Christian and big platform. But it seems impossible to put the toothpaste back in the tube. Evangelicalism is in crisis because it has become as much a socio-political and economic movement as it has a representation of an authentic relationship with God. Time for reflection church.

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