Higher Power?

“We answer to a higher power.”

This is the defense that church leaders offer as California Governor Gavin Newsom (once again) puts restrictions on indoor church services because of the pernicious increase in COVID-19 cases.

Yup. As discussed in one of my earlier posts, the churches are once again complaining that they should be exempt from any and all limitations related to their services.

As most of my readers know, I’m adamantly against any “special privileges” by Christians.

And yes, believers, I’m well aware that the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”

The BIG difference is NO ONE is PROHIBITING the free exercise thereof. The powers-that-be are simply ruling that you don’t do your “free exercise” within the confines of a church building. And this ruling is backed by medical and health professionals that know far more about what’s best for Christians (and heathens alike) than any church leader.

But let’s go back to the first line of this post: “We answer to a higher power.”

No doubt this references the Christian God which no one (outside of bible fables) has ever seen or heard — contrary to the claims of believers who are certain they heard God “speak” to them during occasional moments of prayer. Or on those occasions when they desperately wanted their god to move on their behalf and “he” answered.

However, lucid and rational-thinking individuals –the ones who endorse the old saying seeing is believing– tend to utter “hogwash!” to these celestial claims.

The ONLY “higher power” that has been proven to exist are those neurons and protons that exist within one’s physical brain.

In other words, complaining pastors, it’s all in your head!

The hard truth is these church leaders are fearful of losing their source of income … and they will use whatever tactics/excuses/reasons they can come up with to justify their need.

It’s just too bad that those who are in other lines of work cannot use the same excuse to vindicate their (very real) needs during this pandemic.

Here is a question that continues to gnaw at me and no pastor who complains about “religious rights” has been able to answer: Why has this “higher power” allowed so many to die from a virus that, supposedly, “He” could have prevented?

*************************************
References:

https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2020/november/ca-church-goes-to-court-facing-350-000-fines-despite-zero-covid-cases

https://lc.org/newsroom/details/20201125dragging-the-ca-gov-to-the-supreme-court (Notice the request for donations at the end of the article.)

This Is Awesome!

Scientific American Endorses Joe Biden

“We’ve never backed a presidential candidate in our 175-year history—until now. This year we are compelled to do so. We do not do this lightly.”

I have nothing to add … except read the article.

****************************
Thanks to Gary @Escaping Christian Fundamentalism for bringing this to my attention.

The Bane of Personal Freedom

In today’s local paper there was an article about a rally that took place earlier this week related to COVID-19. Attending the rally, along with county leaders, was a Republican State Senator who announced that the purpose of the rally was “to get common minds together that are invested in freedom and liberty, people that are tired of being pushed around, people that feel disenfranchised.” He went on to say that individuals (in the county) feel they are not being heard and want it to be known that they support the local commissioners for “standing up to” our state’s governor.

Sidenote: Oregon’s Governor, Kate Brown, has issued mandates related to wearing masks, business restrictions, and outdoor crowd sizes.

One of those “local commissioners” then underscored the Senator’s remarks by telling the gathering that they do not have plans to enforce the mandates of the governor because “personal freedom” was more important. He also pointed out that our county “has done a very good job of preventing the spread [so we] don’t feel like going out and enforcing this thing on people that are already doing a good job.”

He then pointed out that not a single person in the county had ever gotten the virus at a restaurant or bar. (I’m not sure how he knows this. Inside sources, I suppose.)

Sidenote: Our county population is approximately 112,000. The case count is currently at 172 with 2 deaths. Perhaps it’s just me, but it certainly seems those distasteful mandates put into place by our governor are playing a huge role in this comparatively low count. (Actually, the count was lower and holding steady before the restaurants and bars were allowed to open.)

I know there are many reading this who agree with the sentiments expressed by these individuals. However, being in the “high risk” group, my partner and I find it exceedingly difficult to put “personal freedom” ahead of our health … and perhaps our lives.

At the same time, we’re no different than many others. We don’t like all the restrictions either. In fact, we’ve had to discontinue many activities that we enjoy in our attempts to stay healthy. Nevertheless … there’s just something about staying alive that holds a strong appeal.

What so many fail to accept is that sacrifice is sometimes necessary for the good of all.

Lebanon, America, and Politics

I just read an article by Thomas L. Friedman, who is an opinion columnist for the New York Times … and I felt it was vitally important to share what he had to say.

He began by recounting the recent explosion in Lebanon and then remarked how so many of the people immediately asked, not so much about what happened, but who did it. And more importantly, what political advantage did they gain from the event.

He then went on to point out how these questions demonstrate several similarities between the United States, Lebanon, and other Middle East countries. Of course our natural reaction is, “What similarities! The U.S. isn’t anything like the Middle East!”

I’ll let Friedman answer …

The United States is becoming like Lebanon and other Middle East countries in two respects. First, our political differences are becoming so deep that our two parties now resemble religious sects in a zero-sum contest for power. They call theirs “Shiites and Sunnis and Maronites” or “Israelis and Palestinians.” We call ours “Democrats and Republicans,” but ours now behave just like rival tribes who believe they must rule or die.

Everything is now politics — even the climate, even energy, even face masks in a pandemic.

And when everything becomes politics — and power — a society (and certainly a democracy) eventually dies.

There is no center, there are only sides; there’s no truth, there are only versions; there are no facts, there’s only a contest of wills. 

Friedman goes on to compare Trump with Bibi Netanyahu in Israel, Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, Viktor Orban in Hungary, Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey and Vladimir Putin in Russia and points out how these leaders:

… deliberately try to undermine the guardians of facts and the common good. Their message to their people is: “Don’t believe the courts, the independent civil servants or the fake news generators — only trust me, my words and my decisions.” It’s a jungle out there. My critics are killers (which is what Trump called his press corps on Friday), and only I can protect our tribe from theirs. 

There’s much more, including how Trump has met his match in Mother Nature and  COVID-19. No matter how hard he’s tried to discredit and deflect the pandemic by making it about politics, he has utterly failed.

I urge — yea, implore — you to read the article if for no other reason than to see how extremely important it is that we change the leadership in this country on November 3rd.

*****************************
Image by Pexels from Pixabay