Until now, I’ve avoided talking about the American and worldwide response to Covid-19. But when Christians are not free to worship together on Resurrection Sunday, I feel it is time to say something.
This is not a party issue. Independents, Libertarians, Democrats, and Republicans all support shelter at home orders.
This is not an American issue. Nearly every country on the planet has agreed on the need to suspend religious liberties and other civil liberties.
The first amendment, the first of the Bill of Rights, reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Judge Napolitano tells the story of a cartoon that pictures George Washington and James Madison talking about the Constitution. Washington turns to Madison and says, “Let me get this straight. None of this counts if people get sick, right?” Napolitano said, “It is sort of a humorous way of mocking what is happening today…When the executive branch [speaking of governors] takes on itself the role of not just enforcing the law but of making up new ones—and when in the process crushes basic human fundamental liberties, like the right to travel and the right to worship—never mind on Easter Sunday, but on any time you want to worship—we are witnessing the slow death, the death in slow motion, of civil liberties, because these governors, these petty tyrants, will use this power again and again until some courageous federal court, or an outraged public, stops them.”
The Judge spoke for 3 minutes and you can watch the entire interview here.
A friend sent me a video from March 27 that questioned the medical aspects of what is happening. A professor of medicine at Stanford University, and a Senior Fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, Dr. Jay Bhattacharya (Dr. B.), who is an M.D. and has an earned Ph.D. in economics, has said that we are greatly under-reporting the number of people in America and around the world that have the virus. He estimated that over 6 million people in America alone had already contracted the virus by March 9. Dr. B. thinks that the mortality rate of Covid-19 is less than that of the regular flu we face each year.
He went on to discuss the financial impact of shelter in place orders. He said the issue is not dollars versus lives but lives versus lives. Dr. B. pointed out that during isolation, many more people die of various diseases than would normally. He also showed that with the loss of untold trillions of dollars, poverty will rise dramatically around the world and deaths by disease and poor nutrition will too. You can see his 30-minute interview here.
Just today a friend sent me a video of an April 12 interview with Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai (Dr. A.), a man with a Ph.D. in biological engineering from MIT. In the interview Dr. A. pointed out that the number of people who have died from Covid-19 are far less than are being reported. He also suggested that shelter at home hurts lots of people. He compared the response to H1N1, the swine flu, in 2009 to the response to Covid-19 today. He sees the current response as an effort by people “to suppress dissent and destroy freedom.” You can see his interview here.
We are to obey the governing authorities. However, that gets tricky when mayors and governors are giving orders that do not have the force of law behind them. When a president, governor, or mayor gives orders that are unconstitutional, then it may be time for some pastors to get some good lawyers and challenge the legality of these orders. On March 30th, three Houston pastors did just that, filing a request with the Texas Supreme Court (see here).
How effective do you think that shelter in place restrictions can be when half of the people who have the virus show no symptoms? Any one of dozens of people you have contact with during a week could be giving you the virus: mailman, UPS driver, Amazon delivery, grocery store deliveries, restaurant deliveries, your spouse, your kids, your neighbors who walk within 13 feet of you on the street, the pharmacist, the grocer, the repair man, etc.
If I die as a direct result of Covid-19, I want everyone to know that I will not blame my mayor, governor, or president. I will not blame whoever gave it to me. I will not wish I’d hidden in a cave for six months. I will take it that God decided to call me home. God is still sovereign.
I take reasonable precautions. I wash my hands a lot. I avoid touching my eyes and mouth. I wave at people instead of shaking hands on those rare occasions when I come within twenty feet of someone I know. I take daily vitamins and supplements. I race walk twenty miles a week. I get plenty of sleep and watch my diet.
I’m even submitting to what the Attorney General has called “draconian measures.” I miss eating out, watching sports on TV, going to church, shaking hands, and going to the GES office with Mark, Bethany, and Shawn.
What will we do in November when Covid-19 is back?
What will we do next January or the January after that when a new virus from the East comes to the West?
Do we plan to shut churches for six months every year?
I hope not. I, for one, am ready to get back to assembling together with other believers, as we are commanded to do in Scripture (Heb 10:23-25).