Sunday, March 29, 2020

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.

I find the belligerent stupidity of many "pro-life" Christians in response to this pandemic breathtaking to watch. When you'd expect followers of Jesus to respond with compassion for others, with concern about keeping people safe, sound, and alive (all of that seems part and parcel of any meaningful pro-life ethic, doesn't it?), with the intent to bend over backwards to adhere to guidelines devised to serve the common good and to show solidarity with all of us trying in every way we can to flatten the pandemic curve:

What they have to offer, instead, is belligerent stupidity.

They have taken the gloves off on social media and in articles sprinkled through right-wing Catholic and evangelical journals, right-wing political journals, demonstrating that they will not be moved by any of above. 

They have numbers to care about, after all, glorious numbers. Look at the numbers that packed our cathedral only weeks ago. They'll be back!

No statements of concern about the numbers of people they put at risk when they insist on continuing to trot off to said cathedrals for gatherings. No statements of concern for the numbers of people they put at risk by refusing to model social distance for the community at large.

No statements of concern about the numbers of people dying in droves right now, numbers that will grow and grow, especially due to the refusal of some of us to do as medical authorities tell us and shut gatherings down.

Just, Look at my numbers. Look at the numbers that pack my cathedral. Look at the numbers that will be back there very soon. 

Look at me performing showy piety for you. Look at me, refusing to bend to the libs who want to make something of this pandemic. It's my church, and if you raise concerns about any of this, I'll let you know in an instant that you are anti-Catholic and ill-disposed towards religion. 

(By the way, for a parallel fixation on numbers, see the tweet the president of the US sent forth at 12:38 pm today — I refuse to link it — bragging about how his "numbers" are continuing to rise.)

If we had previously been in doubt about the aberrant, theologically jejune theology undergirding the religious practice of many US Catholics today, we need doubt no longer: it's all as simplistic, as eminently stupid, as we have long suspected.

The world is evil, and salvation reaches us only in the confines of the fortress church, via the mediation of ordained priests. The evil secular world keeps trying to shut religion down. When the churches close, religion, faith, prayer — all the spiritual practices — fly out the window. 

I'm not going to allow that to happen, even when medical authorities tell me that continuing to hold gatherings in my church may well put other people at risk — and will certainly model the opposite of social solidarity in a time of serious crisis when social solidarity is desperately needed. I'm not going to give in to the evil secular world with its liberalism.

I'm a pro-life Christian, after all.

For your Sunday edification, another video of people singing together (a hymn, in this case: "Hallelujah," Sacred Harp 146) with creative use of technology — behaving responsibly — in the middle of this pandemic. 

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