Sunday, March 29, 2020

Pro-Life Head of Liberty University Reopens School Against Sound Advice: Nearly a Dozen Students Now Sick with COVID Symptoms

Jerry Falwell Jr., 25 May 2009, from the Brainyquote website

Despite pleas from some of his own employees, from the governor of Virginia, from medical authorities, from people who live around Liberty University, pro-life Christian leader Jerry Falwell Jr. reopened Liberty University last week following spring break. And now this:

The Guardian Reports Today on Churches from Rio to Moscow Contining to Hold Services Despite Warnings

If it were just their own lives they were putting at risk, we might shrug our shoulders and say, "Oh, well." But their belligerent stupidity puts other lives at risk, contributing to the spreading of a virus lethal for many people in the middle of a global pandemic.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Resilience of the Human Spirit: Choirs That Continue Singing Together in Time of Social Distance — Via Technology

It's refreshing to see some singing groups around the world now modeling for us a way both to maintain necessary social distance and to keep on singing — together — via the miracles of modern technology. This is a choir in Waterford, Ireland, called Intimations.

And then there's this:

The human spirit is amazingly resilient and creative, when it allows itself to be.

As America Becomes Number 1 in World Coronavirus Infections, the "Beautiful" Idea of Packing Churches for Easter: My Commentary

An update on the story I shared with you recently (and here), about First Assembly of God church in Greer's Ferry, Arkansas, which hosted a children's crusade March 6-8, and then discovered that some three dozen church members who attended that event were infected with coronavirus: that story continues to gain international attention, as with this recent NBC news report

Friday, March 27, 2020

Thomas O'Loughlin on Mass as Theater and Eucharist as Commodity: Theological Underpinnings of These Ideas

As a follow-up to what I posted yesterday about how the aberrant Mass-as-theater theology of many Catholics is asserting itself all over again in this pandemic, some sound theological reflection from theologian Thomas O'Loughlin in an essay entitled "Reimagining the Eucharist":

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Mass Suffering and Televised Masses: Watch Me Eat for You! Watch ME!

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Washington Post Reports on Arkansas Church with COVID Infections as Warning for Other Churches: My Response

KFSM News Arkansas, "Coronavirus live updates: 236 confirmed cases in Arkansas, 1,050 negative tests thus far"

In an article entitled "'Take it very seriously': Pastor at Arkansas church where 34 people came down with coronavirus sends a warning," Julie Zauzmer reports on the story about which I shared information yesterday, about a church in Arkansas 34 of whose members now have COVID. She reports that the pastor of the church, Mark Palenske, is urging other churches to learn from his church's experience, and take the coronavirus pandemic seriously.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Rev. Wendell Griffen on Our Choice for This Season of Pandemic

And for a different (and in my view, authentically pro-life) voice from an Arkansas church, after I just shared dismal news about a church in Arkansas in a previous posting, I want to share this recent sermon from my friend Pastor Wendell Griffen of New Millennium Baptist church in Little Rock. New Millennium stopped holding services some weeks back, and Wendell is now delivering his sermons online.

News Breaks That 34 Members of an Arkansas Church Are Infected with COVID: My Reflections on the Curiously Slow Learning Curve of Churches

Jose A. Del Real, Julie Zauzmer, and Ava Wallace, "Without guidance from the top, Americans have been left to figure out their own coronavirus solution"

On March 15, Jose A. Del Real, Julie Zauzmer, and Ava Wallace reported for Washington Post

In Arkansas, the Rev. Josh King met with the pastors of five other churches on Thursday [i.e., March 12] to decide whether to continue holding service. Their religious beliefs told them that meeting in person to worship each Sunday remained an essential part of their faith, and some of their members signed on to Trump's claims that the media and Democrats were overblowing the danger posed by the virus. 
"One pastor said half of his church is ready to lick the floor, to prove there's no actual virus," said King, lead pastor at Second Baptist church in Conway, Ark.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Good Advice from Healthcare Workers in Belfast to Flatten the Curve: STAY AT HOME!

This is an excellent little video shared yesterday on Facebook by David Honeyford of Glenavy, Co. Antrim, Ireland. In case its message is hard to decipher or it seems muddled,* it boils down to the following as advice for flattening the pandemic curve, STAY AT HOME!

*Sarcasm alert

Thursday, March 19, 2020

My Reflections as Minnesota and Vermont Declare Grocery Clerks Emergency Workers

The people putting their lives on the line right now to serve the rest of us are medical personnel and also grocery store workers and people delivering goods in trucks all over the country. The latter two groups are often significantly underpaid and have few or no benefits, including paid sick leave.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Media Vita in Morte Sumus: Pandemic Wave Is Now Cresting in the US, with Dire Results Predicted by Experts for Weeks Now

My apologies for being slow to post. I am dealing with the shock of learning from my brother that his partner was hospitalized this weekend for pneumonia, and is on a respirator with sedation.

Today, they got the results of diagnostic tests, and his partner has COVID-19.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

What We're Seeing Now: Unmasking of What "Pro-Life Politics and Religion in US Have Always Meant

The photo of grafitti on a wall in Munich is by Peter Kneffel, AP, by way of The Guardian 

I'm continuing to provide information and commentary about the coronavirus pandemic, and, in particular, about the response to it in my country, the United States. I'm doing this because so much disinformation is circulating — "It's just the flu," "All these preparations and precautions are ridiculous panicky reactions infringing on my liberty," "It's a Democratic ruse to re-impeach my president," "It's a foreign virus and a foreign plot to bring my country down," "The death rate is minimal right now and this shows us that the concerns are overblown." And on and on.

Friday, March 13, 2020

"Smoking Gun: Trump Suppressed Coronavirus Testing to Keep the Numbers Low and Boost His Chances at Reelection" — More Commentary

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

In Trump Administration Response to a Pandemic, the "Pro-Life" Agenda Is Unmasked: Hasn't Been About a Meaningful Ethic of Life at All

Top headling, Huffington Post, noon, 11 March 2020.

The number of COVID-19 cases reported across the country is expected to grow in coming days as testing efforts expand.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

"Pro-Life" Christians May Yet Be the Death of Us All: Who's Driving Trump's Nonchalance About Coronavirus and Why

Yesterday, I pointed you to a recent article by Ruth Graham about why Trump-friendly Christian leaders are feeling fine about coronavirus. As that article notes, if Mr. Trump says the virus is contained and it's no worse than the flu and his "numbers" are good, his white Christian fan club will fall into formation and cheer him on — though they claim they support him to the moon because he's "pro-life," and lying about and ignoring an impending pandemic that's killing lots of people seems hardly congruent with any meaningful "pro-life" values.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Fiddling, Burning: Commentary in the Time of Coronavirus

Donald Trump is incapable of truth, heedless of science, and hostage to the demands of his insatiable ego.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

More on Forgiveness and Clergy Abuse Situation: Kaya Oakes on Need for New Understandings

A month ago, Ruth Krall offered us a valuable statement about the "sin or crime" dilemma facing religious bodies as they deal with sexual abuse of vulnerable people by religious authority figures. Should a community frame sexual abuse of the vulnerable by pastors, priests, religious authority figures primarily in terms of forgiveness? Or should religious communities begin from the starting point of recognizing that sexual abuse of minors is a crime, as they deal with these issues?

Monday, March 2, 2020

Ruth Krall on Coronavirus: "If We Fail to Adequately Care for Those Who Cannot Care for Themselves, the Door will Open to Threaten Us All"

I'd like to share with readers this morning an email that Ruth Krall sent to me yesterday, which contains some of the best commentary I've yet read on the coronavirus discussion. Ruth has kindly given me permission to share her thoughts. She writes,