A dark story comes out of an Assembly of God Church in Fort Myers, Florida. In the middle of a pandemic a mother takes her immune compromised daughter to a church party at First Assembly of God Fort Myers where she contracts COVID-19. It also turns out that the mother who is allegedly into Christian nationalism and junk science then administers the discredited drug hydroxychloroquine to her daughter. Two days after her 17th birthday Carysn Davis died in an ICU and remains one of the youngest fatalities of the COVID-19 pandemic in Florida. A child is dead in Florida and it could have been prevented. This is a story that highlights why evangelicalism is so flawed as junk science, evangelical culture, and Christian nationalism are woven together in this tragedy.
“I let myself be lured into long spells of senseless and sensual ease… Tired of being on the heights, I deliberately went to the depths in search of new sensations… I grew careless of the lives of others. I forgot that every little action of the common day makes or unmakes character, and that therefore what one has done in the secret chamber, one has some day to cry aloud from the house-top. I ceased to be lord over myself. I was no longer the captain of my soul, and did not know it. I allowed displeasure to dominate me. I ended in horrible grace.”
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 21 Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.
Ephesians 3:21-21 NLT
This is a story of neglect. This post is a tragic story of a high school student and her mother’s reckless behavior and the irresponsibility of Dan Betzer’s First Assembly of God in Fort Myers, Florida. This is also about the outrageous nature of the culture wars and how people are being harmed – if not killed. I was seeing this trickle out on social media last week but I held off from writing about it as I waited to see what the regular press said about this situation. Then The Washington Post wrote about Carsyn Leigh Davis and that was the tipping point for writing about this tragedy that took place in Florida.
Carsyn Leigh Davis and the Health Issues She Had
Carsyn Leigh Davis had a difficult life that was marked by health issues. At the age of two she battled a rare cancer, had asthma and rare autoimmune disorder. Carsyn’s life was marked by health challenges that existed. Despite that Carsyn was an active child. She was deeply involved in the youth group at Fort Myers First Assembly of God. She worked with her church to give gifts to those with other health needs. Davis also helped out in a special needs classroom and wrote Christmas cards to American troops who were deployed – most likely to Afghanistan. In high school she was active in a bowling league and choir. And was very academic and worked her way onto the honor roll. Carsyn Davis is one of those youth that strikes me as impressive. What happened is quite sad and Davis eventually became a victim of her Assembly of God church and her alleged Christian nationalist mother.
Dustin Zarick on canceling events four days after COVID-19 spread after a church party.
First Assembly of God in Fort Myers Florida Holds a Party to Celebrate Re-Opening Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic
In Florida Governor Ron Desantis let the stay at home order expire and Florida moved into the first phase of re-opening on May 4, 2020 through an executive order. He did this with the encouragement of President Trump. On the weekend of May 9, 2020 churches began to meet again and re-open. First Assembly of God Fort Myers re-opened on the June 6, and 7th weekend. First Assembly of God is led by Dan Betzer who is the senior pastor. The youth pastor is led by Dustin Zarick. The youth program planned a release party to celebrate re-opening. The party was to be held in the gym. Free food, games and a DJ were provided. Carsyn’s mother took her to the party at the Assembly of God church. At the party social distancing was not enforced and people were not wearing masks. You can see the announcement below. According to my research about 100 people in the youth program or affiliated with people in the youth program showed up. It also appears in my research on Twitter that this church has taught that COVID-19 is God’s will. So into this dangerous situation attended one cancer survivor who had asthma with an autoimmune disorder.
Carsyn got sick it appears and contracted COVID-19 most likely at this party. Several other families also became ill. Five days after the party the youth pastor Dustin Zarick announced that all activities were being suspended for fourteen days. Then what allegedly happened is that the youth pastor started scrubbing the media and deleting evidence. That picture up above is a screen shot from the New York Times that came from a video that Zarick deleted. As this situation made the press the church denied that it held a COVID party and issued a statement on July 7, 2020. You can read that statement below.
Update 7-7-2020: Press release regarding false statements about COVID-19 party at First Youth Church
Over the past 24 hours First Assembly of God of Fort Myers has been accused of hosting “COVID-19 parties.“ Nothing could be farther from the truth. First Assembly of God of Fort Myers is following all of the health protections and protocols recommended by the state and local government with regard to holding its church services. Let us be clear – media reports and postings accusing the church of ignoring protocols or actively engaging in behavior intended to expose our congregation to the virus are absolutely false and defamatory.
It is heartbreaking that a young lady who frequently attended Youth Church over the past few years has recently passed away. The church, and many members of Youth Church particularly, had reached out to her family and her during her illness, praying for her and sending video messages and personal encouragement while she was going through her illness and in the hospital. Out of respect for her family, and at their request, the church did not comment to the media about her illness and her passing. The church intends to continue to honor that request. Our sympathies go out to her entire family during this tragic period of their lives.
Nonetheless, due to irresponsible reporting and reprehensible posting of speculation and innuendo about her care during her illness, the accuracy of which is suspect, media stories have perpetuated, including unfounded claims that she attended what has been described as a “COVID-19 party“ at the church. Those allegations are absolutely false and are based upon irresponsible speculation and inaccurate information. Because those false reports have been picked up, perpetuated and posted throughout national, local and social media, the church has been subject to a relentless attack and finds itself forced to make this statement in an effort to get the truth out.
First Assembly of God of Fort Myers has always tried to be a leader in promoting caring, compassion, reason and the love of Jesus Christ in this community and throughout the world. Despite these false accusations, the church will continue to follow the lead of Jesus and hope that the actions of our love for others, and the history of those efforts, speak for us.
First Assembly of God removed that statement from its main webbing but its still on the website. This blog predicts it will disappear as well.
Washington Post Fact Checker on Hydroxychloroquine
An Alleged Christian Nationalist Mother Gives Her Sick Daughter Hydroxychloroquine
What happened next is deeply disturbing. Carsyn started to get ill. As an asthmatic she had trouble breathing and started to get what she thought was a sinus infection and a headache. Carsyn’s mother is Carole Brunton Davis who also works in the medical profession and is a licensed nurse in Florida. Carole has been deleting her social media and this information comes from the following webpage. Carole’s education is as follows. She has a degree in health information/medical records administrator/administrator from Florida Southwestern State College. Then she has a certificate in perfusion technology from Loyola University of Chicago and finally a B.S. degree in nursing from the University of Iowa. Carole worked for Adreima which in the health care industry was acquired by National Healthcare Associates in 2013. Her position is as a nurse auditor. Most nurse auditors have to be licensed nurses.
Carole from what I have discovered is also allegedly into Christian nationalism and the culture wars. As a licensed nurse on her social media she has criticized the use of face masks and has embraced junk science. It appears she is a strong supporter of President Trump and allegedly has mixed her faith and politics into one. As Carsyn started to get ill Carsyn administrated antibiotics to her daughter. Then as she started to look gray due to a drop in oxygen level she put her daughter on an oxygen machine that belonged to her grandfather for COPD. Then Carole Davis gave her daughter hydroxychloroquine. This drug has been promoted by President Trump without scientific evidence and finally the FDA stated that in regards to COVID-19 is not effective. Carsyn’s health declined rapidly as that happens in COVID-19 infections with people who have other health issues. She was taken to a local medical clinic and transferred to a pediatric intensive care unit (ICU). Carsyn’s health continued to decline she celebrated her 17th birthday in the ICU. The hospital wanted to intubate Carsyn and the mother refused and they did plasma therapy instead. Carsyn’s health declined and she died two days after her birthday on June 23, 2020. Carole Davis praised her daughter’s faith and said on a GoFundMe page that she said the following. “We are incredibly saddened by her passing at this young age, but are comforted that she is pain free.” Its important to note that Carsyn Davis was one of the youngest people who died in the COVID-19 pandemic in Florida.
Dr. Rebekah Jones Who Was Fired From Florida State Government Draws Attention to Davis’s Death
What brought Carsyn’s death to the attention of the media is Dr. Rebekah Jones. Dr. Jones became a lightening rod in the COVID-19 pandemic in Florida. Dr. Jones became a whistleblower when she claimed that the state was manipulating the data in regards to COVID-19 pandemic so that Florida can re-open earlier. Jones is a geographer who works with Geographic information Systems (GIS) who tracked the pandemic in Florida. She was critical of Florida’s illiberal leadership. This blog would like to quickly point out that illiberal is not the same as liberal. Jones firing prompted protest in Florida state government and also among other GIS professionals. Now to offer another point of view Florida is claiming she was fired for speaking to the media and not going through official channels. But in contrast to the Florida Department of Health she created her own database which competes against the Florida government one. If you would like to read more about Dr. Jones you can do so in the following articles.
- NPR, “Fired Florida Data Scientist Launches A Coronavirus Dashboard Of Her Own.”
- The Guardian, “Scientist produces own Florida Covid-19 count after being fired by state.”
- Washington Post, “Florida fired its coronavirus data scientist. Now she’s publishing the statistics on her own.”
- Tampa Bay Times, “Rebekah Jones renews COVID-19 criticism. DeSantis says it’s a ‘conspiracy bandwagon’”
While working on her database the Florida whistleblower came across the death of Carsyn Leigh Davis. She looked into the death report, her mother Carole Davis, First Assembly of God in Fort Myers and she became angry. Dr. Jones claimed that Carsyn Davis could be alive today as her death was preventable. Using her Twitter platform she blasted tweets about the situation along with screen shots of Carole Davis’s behavior and what First Assembly of God in Fort Myers stated. That drew the attention of the media which gave the situation and infusion (pardon the pun) of life. You can see those tweets below.
If you would like to read more about this situation you can do so in the following news sources.
- Washington Post, “A high-risk Florida teen who died from covid-19 attended a huge church party, then was given hydroxychloroquine by her parents, report says.”
- Friendly Atheist, “Medical Report: 17-Year-Old Died of COVID After Attending Florida Church’s Event.”
- Daily Beast, “17-Year-Old Carsyn Davis Dies of the Coronavirus in Florida.”
- Newsweek, “Florida Teen Who Contracted Coronavirus Dies After Mother Took Her to Church Party, Then Treated Her With Hydroxychloroquine.”
- New York Times, “Churches Were Eager to Reopen. Now They Are a Major Source of Coronavirus Cases.“
The Neglect is Astonishing and Troubling. And Why The Wondering Eagle is Hoping Carole Davis’ is Processed by the Legal System
When I read this and started to connect all the dots I walked around my condo in circles deeply upset. The more I thought about this the more angry I became. And while I am going to use some blunt language its because of the anger in this situation. After all the writer of this blog has asthma and is sheltering in place during this COVID-19 situation. This blog wants Carole Davis to be thrown in prison for neglect. The book needs to be thrown at her as this blog believes that she is responsible in part for the death of her daughter. I mean, WHAT THE FUCK?!? why is a registered nurse with her education promoting junk science? If Carole Davis is giving her daughter wrong medication because or her political persuasion and Christian nationalism why is she even in the medical system? Why does she have a license to practice? And as the son of a doctor why is a nurse giving antibiotics for a virus? I know enough from working with my own asthma specialist that antibiotics do not work with viruses. And why didn’t Carol Davis take her daughter to proper medical authorities at once. Why did she try and medicate her daughter or direct her medical treatment. As a Christian nationalist is her ultimate God President Trump and did she decide to show her ultimate act of faith and lay her daughter at the alter as a sacrifice to her personal Lord and Savior? This is outrageous. A child in Florida is dead and it could have been completely prevented. If Carole David has any other children the state needs to remove them. They are not safe with her at all.
Next I want to address First Assembly of God in Fort Myers. Why did a church like that hold a party in a middle of a pandemic? The sheer stupidity is incredible and I would put this act in the same category of covering up the sexual assault of child. Its almost as if this church went out of its way to create a situation that would guarantee that someone would get the COVID-19 virus. Sharing food, violating social distancing, bringing in a DJ where people sing. Didn’t the youth pastor Dustin Zarick familiarize himself with the CDC report on what happened to a choir in Washington state early in the pandemic? Someone needs to step forward and bring a lawsuit against First Assembly of God Fort Myers. This is a church that is a danger to the community of Fort Myers. Its a danger to children and also the elderly. The lack of common sense in the middle of the pandemic especially as Florida is shattering records in regards to COVID-19. When I wrote the following post, “How the COVID-19 Pandemic is Going to Reveal the Dark Flaws and Systemic Issues of Evangelical Christianity,” I knew dark stuff would emerge from evangelicalism. But I didn’t think I would see situations like this?
This Tragedy Explains All That is Wrong with Evangelicalism
For me this tragedy explains all that is wrong with evangelicalism. It shows what happens when people embrace junk science and reject actual science. It shows what happens when Christian nationalism penetrates churches. It shows what happens when Christian nationalism becomes the new gospel. This situation shows what happens when churches are reckless. And this mess reveals what happens when the Bible is misused and when a church becomes abusive. And much like sexual abuse a youth pastor is trying to cover his tracks. This tragedy is beyond words and I am angry. I am angry over what I read and processed. A child is dead and buried when she could be alive. And who is responsible for her death? This blog is calling out her mother and First Assembly of God in Fort Myers.