Lately, we constantly hear the phrase, “We’re all in this together”; however, there are many who don’t seem to buy into that. There are the hoarders, who are obviously looking out only for themselves and their families. Then there are the ignorant, who refuse to believe that this is important enough and serious enough to inconvenience the, so they ignore the advice, and even the orders, to practice social distancing and avoid crowds. They are the beach party goers, those still playing team games and those in street corner groups. There is a tendency to sit back and go – “Tsk, tsk”.
A more insidious group are those that we see reported in news casts who have found ways to take advantage of others during this crisis. The scammers are not doing harmless things. Some are just finding ways to get money through frauds like fake charity sites. Some are, in fact, leading many people to their deaths by schemes that extract money for fake cures or even collecting money from people at fake testing sites. The penalties for those people should be much more than just a fine; perhaps they should be charged with attempted manslaughter.
Some of the worst cases of ignorance may be the religious zealots and cultists who seem steadfast in their beliefs that God will somehow protect them from the virus. So, they believe that it is all right for them to continue to gather in their churches. If they were only putting themselves at risk one might be able to overlook them as harmless kooks; however, they go out into their communities after the church services, potentially spreading the virus and well as their good news.
I have posted here before about the divergence of faith and religion and the harmful effects that the hand of man in religion has caused. The latest examples of ignorance and intransigence from church leaders in Texas and elsewhere provide more fodder for religious skeptics. One minister was quoted as saying that they believe in healing by the laying on of hands and will deal with this pandemic that way. One can only hope that they avoid touching their faces while laying on hands (that hopefully have been washed).
We must all lean more heavily than ever on our faith and find ways (virtually, of course) to practice our religious beliefs, too. We can do that without endangering others. My church, like most others, has found a way to provide a church service experience remotely. I do the video each week and edit it to put in the music and graphics to help the viewers follow along. We post our services to YouTube. Other churches are using streaming services or Facebook to reach out to the congregation members with services, prayer sessions, bible studies and other church activities. Those alternatives help the participants reinforce the sense of being “all in this together” even if we can’t physically be together.
As people of faith, no matter of what religion, it is important for us all to find a way to use and share that faith to get through situations like our current one. As hard as it may be to initially accept; that includes finding ways to include those who were mentioned above – the ignorant and obstinate, the malevolent fraudsters and the religious cultists. We cannot turn our backs on them, even if they have turned their backs on us. We cannot leave them behind. If in no other way, we can at least include them in our prayers, asking God to be with them and accept them into His kingdom along with us. Only then, will we truly all be in this together.
Stay safe. Keep the faith. Share the faith.