bureaucracybusters

WASHED IN THE BLOOD OF THE VIRUS

In Bureaucracy, History, Law, Law Enforcement, Medical, Politics, Social commentary on April 17, 2020 at 12:56 am

Coronavirus is ravaging the country.

But in Ohio, churches are exempted from the statewide stay-at home order that bans mass gatherings during the pandemic. Even worse, some churchgoers are defiantly continuing to attend services—and even claiming they are immune from the disease. 

A CNN reporter asked members of the Solid Red Rock Church in Monroe, Ohio, why they risked infection for themselves and non-members in the community.

“I wouldn’t be anywhere else,” a woman said.

“Aren’t you concerned you can infect other people if you get sick inside?” CNN’s Gary Tuchman asked.

“No,” the woman responded. “I’m covered in Jesus’ blood. I’m covered in Jesus’ blood.

Yet Ohio is not the only state whose citizens have defiantly put their own lives—and those of others—at risk.

Jack Roberts, a 76-year-old preacher at Maryville Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky, told the Courier Journal that he would rather face a fine than close his doors. 

“I don’t want to battle with anybody,” he said. “What I’d like to do is just preach the gospel, and that’s become more difficult as time’s gone on. And it’s truthfully what I plan on doing.”

Some officials, however, are not turning a blind eye to irresponsible behavior—even if it is committed by church pastors.

In early April, Rodney Howard-Browne, the head pastor at Florida’s The River Tampa Bay Church, was arrested for holding services during the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister charged him with demonstrating a “reckless disregard for human life” after he held Sunday services in violation of county orders calling for social distancing. Soon after that, the megachurch lost its insurance when the insurance carrier canceled it.

So what’s going on here?

First, despite the claim of the Solid Red Rock worshiper that she was “washed in Jesus’ blood”: Crucifixion is an extremely painful way to die—but hardly a bloody one. Nails are driven into the wrists and ankles of the condemned, and s/he is left to die of slow suffocation.

Second, it’s hard to find traces of blood in a man who died more than 2,000 years ago—and whose body can’t be recovered.

Third, for all the reverence Americans have for the Christian religion, few of them dare to examine these two fundamental truths about the Bible:

  1. Its stories cannot be independently proven, and
  2. Many of its stories violate the most fundamental notions of common sense.

Consider these examples:

  • Adam and Eve meet a talking snake. (Presumably it spoke Hebrew. When was the last time a zoologist had a serious discussion with a serpent?)
  • Noah saves the world’s wildlife by stuffing them into an ark. (Sure—untrained wild animals are going to meekly walk, two-by-two, into a huge building. Then they’re going to let themselves be caged. And Noah and his family must store a huge variety of food for each type of animal for an indefinite period of time. And the sheer stench of all that animal urine and feces would have been horrific.)
  • Moses parts the Red Sea. (Some scholars believe “Red” has been mistranslated from “Reed,” which is like upgrading “the White Quail” in Moby Dick to “the White Whale.”)

Image result for Images of Moses parting the Red Sea

Moses (played by Charlton Hestono) parts the Red Sea

  • Lot’s wife becomes a pillar of salt. (A human being can be turned into ashes, but not salt.)
  • Samson kills 1,000 Philistines with the jawbone of an ass. (Even Arnold Schwarzenegger at the height of his physical strength couldn’t kill so many men—except with a machinegun.)
  • Daniel is thrown into a pit of lions—but survives because an angel closes their jaws. (This sounds inspiring—until you remember that didn’t happen when Christians were thrown to the lions by the Romans.)
  • The will of God violates physical laws. (Jesus turns water into wine and raises Lazarus from the dead; Jonah lives inside a fish for three days; Noah dies at 950 years.)
  • Jesus rises from the dead. (There have been near-death experiences, but there has never been a documented case of someone being certified as dead who came alive again.)
  • Jesus will return more than 2,000 years after he died to wipe all evil from the earth and usher in a paradise for his faithful followers. (There has never been a case in recorded history of anyone returning from the dead decades or hundreds of years later—let alone more than 2,000 years later.)

“The Transfiguration of Jesus” as painted by Carl Bloch

Americans live in an age of rockets and computers. Yet millions of fundamentalist Christians (and Jews and Muslims) continue to believe stories written when men believed the Earth was flat and the sun revolved around it.

The Constitution guarantees “freedom of worship.” But it does not guarantee freedom to irresponsibly put the lives of others at risk. 

At least some states are prepared to stand fast for public safety against social irresponsibility.

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