It’s an instantly memorable image: a young girl, blonde hair in a tight braid, staring at the camera with a goofy smile on her face. Her arms are posed at odd angles, each pointer finger aimed directly at her shirt. It reads “Spoiler Alert Jesus Wasn’t Vaccinated.”
The picture was posted by Twitter account Christian Nightmares, which is exactly what it sounds like. Everything about the photo seems primed to make people mad online. Anti-vaxx thinking — an exceedingly dangerous, absolutely insane ideology whose tendency to cause preventable death might be outstripped only by its tendency to cause outrage — is only half the reason the photo sucks.
The other half? It’s emblematic of that small but pernicious strain of Christianity that’s bent on denying reality, from the effectiveness of vaccines to the physical evidence of evolution. Believers like this don’t seem to care if others suffer consequences; for them, righteousness is all that matters, and if you don’t go to Bible study you deserve what’s coming to you.
The body language of the girl wearing the shirt, from the exaggerated smile to the finger guns aimed at the slogan, reinforces her supreme confidence in her opinions no matter how medically incorrect or intolerant they might be. In other words, she’s setting herself up to be completely and utterly roasted on the Internet.
And that’s exactly what happened, as Twitter users from around the world aimed their snark at this girl with a variety of different tactics.
Some used what might loosely be called “theological arguments.”
Others had more “medical” takes.
And then there were the straight-up jokes.
It’s all sort of satisfying — a feeling related to but not quite the same as schadenfreude — but in the end empty. Because, as the doctors and public health officials who’ve been fighting anti-vax ideology know, jokes might make the tellers feel better but they’re useless in actually changing minds and making everyone safer.