Friday, April 10, 2020

No Real Christian Will Be Attending Actual Church Services This Weekend

The scene we could be seeing around the nation next week if people are stupid enough to believe ignorant priests, pastors that it's okay to congregate at physical church services.

Ok, let me 'fess up and admit when I read the piece in yesterday's WSJ ('Tanzania's President Puts Faith  In Group Worship To Beat Illness', p. A9)  I was convinced it was a mental aberration peculiar to that East African nation in the undeveloped 3rd world.  Only there would one expect to see such overwrought investment in superstition and supernatural bunkum. I.e. to reach such a level that the leader of  a nation of 57 million could spout such balderdash as (ibid.):

"Coronavirus cannot survive in the body of  Jesus Christ. it will burn. That is why I did not panic when taking the holy communion."

Well, in truth, you ought to have panicked- if you had half a brain and a grain of sense. But this is the same character who days ago:  "encouraged people to pray in churches  and mosques to quell a 'satanic' virus that can be cured only by divine intervention,"

No, folks, you cannot make this shit up, nor can you really fix 'stupid'.  And this moron meme now emerging in a continent with billions of people and minimal medical resources - including ventilators - to fight the COVID-19 plague.  Fortunately, as we read in the piece "other governments have taken an uncompromising stance shuttering churches, mosques and other places of worship".

But, seriously, it only takes one nation of 57 million to spoil the efforts of the rest, if social distancing is treated as a joke, or something inferior to divine "intervention".  As for the bunkum about a "satanic virus", John Magufuli - the Tanzanian leader - needs to go back to retake secondary school biology.  Then he will learn the virus is a product of Darwinian evolution - not any "Satan" - just like he is.

Now, we can laugh and howl with derision at this but before we do it's well to process another WSJ article from April 6 ('Conservative Catholics Decry Halt on Masses',  p. A11) wherein we read:

"A vocal minority of conservative Catholics are criticizing the suspension of Masses in the wake of the coronavirus, pandemic, arguing that such a crisis is precisely when believers need the church the most."

Which is total codswallop, given the "church" - from what I was taught in Religion IV at Mgsr. Edward Pace High - is the "body of Christ" which is the people.  So wherever the people are that effectively is the "church" - even if sequestered in millions of physically separated places.   Hence, the "church" isn't the padres, the popes, or even the sacraments.  And in a time like this, where thousands are dying horrible deaths, it would behoove my Catholic friends to think more of the love for their neighbors, than selfish posturing in public worship services in brick and mortar churches.

This puerile and ignorant take of the conservative RCs is also exposed when we read (ibid.):  "Critics warn if the suspensions go on much longer it will be hard to get people to attend church again once public worship is resumed".  With one nitwit, Kari Beckman (executive director of Georgia-based Regina Coeli Academy chiming in: "Isolation breeds disbelief, eventually."  Uh, no, Kari. Reason and critical thinking (as well as an IQ over 100) "breeds" unbelief.

Such imbecilic memes share a kind of sloppy thinking  with those being spread by the conservo austerity fetishists (e.g. John Cochrane) writing in the WSJ's reactionary op-eds.  I.e. to the effect that if the unemployment insurance is too generous and goes on too long "It will be hard to get people back to work - when too many will be earning much less than they got in benefits".

Both complaints are baseless but for different reasons.  The first, church service absence, because 'Hello!' -  people may realize they don't need the crutch of  services or faith any more.  The second is daft because we know jobs give Americans a purpose and identity they won't get merely by sitting at home collecting $600 more in weekly unemployment checks.  But this is how little the conservatives think of American workers, especially those earning less - the front line workers right now, e.g. in retail, grocery stores, sanitation. Those heroes for whom there shouldn't be any further hold up in a new CARES bill - because the Repukes want to give more to business (and with little or no oversight).

 Besides, it should not take an IQ at Mensa level to grasp that given we have no vaccine - and likely won't for a year and a half or more-  then rigorous mitigation is the only way to protect the population - especially the most vulnerable.  The Catholic conservatives with a yen to return to regular open services might also want to process a recent CDC report. That report noted how the virus - in a recent incident - was transmitted to the greater Chicago community by 6 infected people from one family who went to church  after developing their first symptoms.  (Another church attendee who sat within one row of them for 90 minutes also developed symptoms.)  

So as Rachel Maddow put it last night: "At least part of Chicago's big, scary epidemic may be traceable to church service where nobody did anything wrong other than go to church as normal.  "

Maddow went on to point out it's not just Chicago affected by these perverse memes and beliefs, as well as misbegotten political agendas.  In concert these have caused the U.S. to be an outlier in the number of COVID cases - and deaths.  She referred also to the case of virus clusters  in Kansas traced to church gatherings.  

Indeed, four of the twelve clusters were tracked by the state's health secretary to religious services and events.   The state's Governor, Laura Kelly, announced a needed policy to limit gatherings - including for church services - but which has now been challenged by the Repuke semi-vermin.  They have vowed to revoke the governor's  order limiting church services.  Obviously, these rats have no interest in protecting religion or church services, this is pure political posturing.  As Maddow put it: "Like they really want this now with 1100 cases and deaths rising?"  Well, uh yeah, like they really wanted Wisconsin primary voters to go out and risk infection three days ago. This is their shtick. What would you expect of two-legged cockroaches?

Thankfully, the state's health director Lee Norman had this to say in response:

"Whatever Kansas legislators do doesn't reverse what the Public needs to do: Stay home so we can beat the scourge"

Bingo!  And this applies throughout the country to whatever state or religious denomination.  Good grief, this is not a general relativity course or a Mensa admission  test, for Pete's sake!  Given there's no vaccine the only weapon we have left in the quiver to halt the spread is mitigation:   physical- social distancing. People may  not like it, but there it is,  What conditions will it take to lift the social distancing guidelines and re-open the nation's businesses or churches? Dr. David Agus spelled out 3 conditions on CBS this morning:

1- The ability to do millions of tests each week - this in direct contradiction to Trump's claim yesterday that we do not need widespread testing.   

2- We need to be able to do immune surveillance. This is a blood test (not the same as (1)) - to determine whether someone has actually had the virus or not. 

3- We need the ability to do social contact tracing.  I.e. if a person, contact does test positive, we need the ability to ask 'Who did you interact with over the last few days?'   That's because those people will need to be quarantined, kept at home. Otherwise they are potential sources to seed the disease.

When all three of these are in place and we also see fewer cases, then we can let people out in a measured way and get back to a new normal.   But we need those in place.

Thus, any efforts to jump start social congregating amount to a fool's errand. This is whether spouted by the nitwits at FOX news (e.g. Sean Hannity) to 'hurry up and open businesses", or the morons like Tanzania's leader John Magufuli and the Catholic conservatives .  In the latter case believing God will protect the congenitally dumb when they swarm into Easter (or Good Friday)  church services.  These clowns need to pay attention to what even Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church said last week:

"God gave you a brain,  and expects you to use the intelligence that you are given.".   

This is something to bear in mind over this weekend, whether one is a Jew, a Catholic, or an Evangelical.   If a Christian,  take another gander at the words in John 13:34:

"I give you a new commandment: that you shall love one another as I have loved you."

In this era of the coronavirus pandemic, no greater love for one's  neighbors manifests than pursuing the strict mitigation standards our health professionals have advised.    Something to consider when tempted by the crass or stupid to break social distancing guidelines, to enable more death and horrors to impact one's neighbors.

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