Anti-Gay Arkansas Senator Hospitalized with COVID-19 After Railing Against ‘Draconian’ Mask Mandate

Arkansas Republican state Sen. Jason Rapert, who earlier this year proposed for defunding PBS in response to gay actor Billy Porter’s appearance on Sesame Street, has been hospitalized with COVID-19.

Rapert, a Christian Nationalist who introduced a bill calling for a federal anti-gay marriage amendment in 2017 — two years after Obergefell — recently appeared at a mask-less church service in Missouri, the Friendly Atheist reports.

The Arkansas Senate announced Thursday on Rapert’s Facebook page that he’s hospitalized with pneumonia and has tested positive for COVID-19, but is “responding well to treatment.”

“This is a difficult time for my family, but we know that God is with us always,” Rapert said in a statement. “We’re sincerely grateful for the many prayers of love and support that have been expressed on our behalf. We have all been doing our best to wear a mask, social distance and be careful like everyone else. This virus is serious and can attack anyone regardless of age or general health. I look forward to a full recovery because my caregivers and the medical staff have been taking very good care of me. Please join me in prayer for all those afflicted with this illness, their families and all those caring for them.”

More from the Friendly Atheist: While Rapert has sometimes advocated for the use of masks, he’s also been pushing the same Republican talking points decrying the pandemic as some sort of hoax and writing off sensible precautions as liberal overreach. When the governor of the state finally issued a mask mandate earlier this week, Rapert said he opposed it on principle.

Rapert wrote of Republican Gov. Asa Hutchison’s mask mandate: “There is no question that Covid19 is serious and can be very deadly for those with underlying conditions and the elderly. But the fact is 99% of our nation has not been afflicted and this pandemic is no worse statistically than other severe outbreaks we have endured without draconian measures isolating the healthy and shutting down our entire economy.”

More of Rapert’s recent coronavirus-related social media posts below.

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