—even if so many people are not.
Today is my wife’s birthday. All we can do to celebrate is to be together, and be grateful that we found each other, and are still together, a miracle of chaos theory in so many ways. She is, and will always be my inspiration, my rock, my balance, the one who constantly keeps me from spinning out of control, and the love of my life.
1. Pandemic ethics and religion. It’s unfortunate when religions misbehave during catastrophes:
- The Pope made the fatuous comment in an interview that the pandemic offers an opportunity to slow down the rate of production and consumption and to learn to understand and contemplate the natural world. “We did not respond to the partial catastrophes. Who now speaks of the fires in Australia, or remembers that 18 months ago a boat could cross the North Pole because the glaciers had all melted? Who speaks now of the floods?” the Pope said. “I don’t know if these are the revenge of nature, but they are certainly nature’s responses.”
Whatever that’s supposed to mean. Maybe it sounds better in Italian.
- Yesterday, I turned on the TV only to see a live broadcast from one of the evangelical mega-churches, packed to the rafters, nobody wearing masks or practicing social distancing.
Irresponsible and infuriating.
About 44 percent of likely voters in the United States see the coronavirus pandemic and economic meltdown as either a wake-up call to faith, a sign of God’s coming judgment or both, according to a poll commissioned by the Joshua Fund, an evangelical group run by Joel C. Rosenberg, who writes about the end of the world, and conducted last week by McLaughlin & Associates, pollsters for President Trump and other Republicans.
David Jeremiah, a pastor who has been one of President Trump’s informal evangelical advisers, asked in a sermon recently if the coronavirus was biblical prophecy, and called the pandemic “the most apocalyptic thing that has ever happened to us.”
No, it’s really not. This “end of days” stuff is either hysteria from the ignorant whose knowledge of world and U.S. history begins in 2008, or it’s worse, deliberate scare-mongering by church leaders to goose membership. Yes, I know a recent earthquake in Utah even shook the Salt Lake Temple so hard that the golden trumpet fell from the angel Moroni’s right hand. That is exactly as significant a portent of the Apocalypse as Chris Sale having Tommy John surgery.
In other words, incredibly significant.
After I get this post up, I think I’ll go watch “The Omen”—the good one, with Gregory Peck.
2. Here it comes: Dare County in North Carolina has closed its borders to visitors and non-resident property owners in response to the Wuhan virus outbreak to limit the number of people on a narrow barrier island. The county set up checkpoints at the two bridges where highways enter the Outer Banks. Anyone who is not a resident of Dare, Currituck, Hyde or Tyrrell counties are not allowed in except those who have an emergency or are in extreme hardship. Now six non-North Carolina residents from Virginia, South Carolina and Maryland argue in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for Eastern North Carolina that they should be able to prepare their rental properties for the spring and summer season, The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk reports. The lawsuit calls for the borders to reopen right away, and asserts that the restrictions are unconstitutional, which they indeed may be.
These kinds of suits will proliferate, and simply chanting, “We’re all in this together” isn’t going to fly forever.
3. Speaking of that slogan, our local TV news team kept running an ad last night about how they would get us through the crisis with their sage advice and timely information. The spot showed smiling, unmasked reporters and staff clustering around computer screens, leaning over each other, touching and breathing in each other’s faces.
4. Nah, the mainstream media isn’t promoting fear and panic! To show how much virus deaths in the New York Area have increased, the Times has a front page chart where the red line goes all the way up the front page, past the masthead….
5. From conservative pundit Matt Margolis, we get the form of fake news called “psychic news” with the headline, “Six Reasons Why Obama Would Have Botched the Coronavirus Response.” This kind of smear click-bait has been used against President Trump for three years now; it’s just as unethical coming from the Right.
6. Two ethics-related deaths of note:
- Linda Tripp, 70, has died. She was a whistleblower and an important one, which the mainstream media encouraged the public to excoriate and mock, reaching a nadir when obese John Goodman player her in drag on Saturday Night Live. The Clintons and Monica owed her apologies, but she died still vilified.
She did inform a lot of people that Maryland was a two-party rather than a single party consent state when taping phone calls, however.
- I’m half Greek, so I knew about this guy, but I bet you didn’t. Manolis Glezos, a Greek resistance fighter who , along with a friend, tore down the Nazi flag that waved over the Acropolis in German occupied Athens in 1941, right under their noses, died last week The Nazis put a price on his head for the defiant act. From his obituary:
In the early hours of May 31, armed with just a knife and a lantern, the two crept into a cave beneath the Acropolis, silently ascended that ancient citadel high above the outskirts of Athens, climbed the flagpole on the grounds and pulled down the Nazi flag while unsuspecting German officers drank toasts near the Parthenon to celebrate Hitler’s takeover of Crete. The two young men cut the flag into pieces and buried it. “We had absolute consciousness that it was a historic moment,” Mr. Glezos told The New York Times for a profile of him in 2014. “No struggle for what you believe in is ever futile.”….When Mr. Glezos went home, his mother asked him where he had been. “I opened up my shirt and pulled out a piece of the swastika,” he said. “I showed it to her and said, ‘That’s where I was.’ Without saying a word, she hugged me and left.”