Christian responses to US Politics

Discussion in 'The Commons' started by Tiffy, Mar 26, 2020.

  1. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I thought Lowly Layman's reply was a quite respectful rebuff, actually. :)

    California is shutting down businesses again. Some Californians are still out of work from the previous shutdown, and now there's another one. Business bankruptcies are way up, mortgage defaults are way up, and the number of people in peril of homelessness and malnutrition is way up. Torturing granny? Try seeing one's own children tortured by hunger or loss of their home, and tell me again that the government isn't being draconian. :sick: Citizens must push back against this sort of tyranny. Civil disobedience is sometimes necessary, particularly if it might head off worse things (riots? armed rebellion?) later.
     
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  2. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    For the record, I am not a Republican nor a Trump supporter. And standing up for civil liberties is not the sole purview of the GOP. I object to being forced to put on a mask because there is little actual scientific basis to support such a ban and it is a burden on the poor, the sick, and the very young. I also know that this assault on freedom will not end with the mask requirement. Just as the self quarantine started as just a 2 week commitment in order to flatten the curve, yet cut to nearly 4 months later and they are talking about if--not when--our children will be allowed back to school. Businesses are shuttering and people are losing jobs at an unprecedented rate leading to poverty, depression,unrest, and a host of other social ills. And why? Bogus numbers, fearmongering, electioneering, and an irrational and unscientific pursuit not to limit disease spread but to eradicate the disease completely.
     
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  3. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    I should remind you at this point of what the writer of Revelation states at the end of his book.

    "I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book."

    We should not be too picky about what he meant by 'adding' to it, but you have accidentally 'added' something to verse 6.

    Verse 6 does not say where these martyrs will reign from, (martyrs, now presumably alive and like Christ in nature - 1 John 3:2). Earth is not specified and you are probably wrong about that for the following reason:

    In Revelation 20, verse 1 as you correctly pointed out, an angel came down out of heaven and chained Satan in a pit but since it also says he must later be released, his release also must be by God's decree just as his imprisonment is surely by God decree but carried out by just an unnamed angel, not by any other higher heavenly authority. (This puts Satan squarely in his place as being fairly unimportant by all concerned, certainly not powerful enough for Christ or God to need to be involved in incaserating him). The key and the chain are obviously symbolical. There cannot be a key to an abyss and a spirit cannot be shackled with a chain. That however was the angels purpose in coming down from heaven and so John moves on from there:

    John saw thrones, (compare Dan. 7:9-14) He does not say where these thrones were. If you are seeing a literal millennium in this passage you will probably be inclined to place them on earth, (compare verse 1). But John does not actually say this in verse 6.

    He uses 'throne' fourty-seven times in all, and except for Satan's throne (Revelation 2:13), and that of the beast (Revelation 13:2 and Revelation 16:10), all of them appear to be in heaven. John does not say how many thrones there were nor who sat upon them. But at the end of the verse he speaks of those slain for Jesus' sake as reigning during the 1,000 years, and so presumably it is these who sit upon the thrones. It is therefore just as likely that these martyred saints reign in heaven rather than on earth. Revelation simply does not say where they reign and it is not for us to add our own speculative contributions.

    Apart from pointing out that possible inaccuracy, I will not comment on the rest of your speculations. You are as likely to be right as anyone else. Revelation is a book I don't fully understand, and I suspect, (no disrespect intended), neither do you.
    .
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2020
  4. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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  5. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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  6. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    https://www.foxnews.com/health/coro...bs-not-reporting-negative-test-results-report
    Over 30 diagnostic labs in Florida were found to have dramatically inflated the number of Covid 'positive' results.
    Of course, that must have been a coincidence. No coordinated effort, mind you. O_o No conspiracy to scare people with a vast upswing in positive Covid cases. :rolleyes:
    (If anyone believes it was just a coincidence, I have a bridge I'd like to sell you, very cheap!) :D
     
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  7. S. DeVault

    S. DeVault New Member

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    This is anecdotal, but almost all the people I know who work in the medical field (one of them being my soon to be mother-in-law), really feel that there is an overreaction by the mainstream media about COVID, as well as active misinformation being spread by it. Now, these people are also, like me, pretty conservative, so that may disqualify their opinions to some people. My future mother-in-law was complaining just today that her clinic has increased the amount of PPE she is supposed to wear. She works in a building, in a rural area that operates as an emergency room, hospital, and general clinic. She made a good point. If PPE is said to be scarce for those working in actual wards dedicated to treating patients confirmed to have COVID-19, why is she getting more PPE, that she is being required to use in a rural clinic in Wisconsin than what the media claims MDs, nurses, and other medical workers are being forced to go without or re-use in hotspots like New York? Does our poor, rural county, where most serious patients are transported major cities like Milwaukee or Madison, have a better budget than NYC?
     
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  8. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    I had lunch the other day with a long standing friend who is the lead chaplain at our regional Hospital (1600 beds). His concern is that people do not take it seriously enough. He was concerned that the death of patients with Covid 19 was in his terms protracted, painful, and very hard to preserve human dignity, and in his words 'it is not a good death'. His other concern is that there seem to be a range of follow on conditions in survivors that suggests that the disease has further consequences that the simple passage of the immediate symptoms.

    I would have to say as well that the regional aspects of this are also awkward. I have another friend in Church leadership whose region has had but three cases in the course of the pandemic, all off a cruise ship, quarantined and contained. They of course have also had to experience lockdowns and all the economic consequences of the big cities, and not only the churches but also the pubs are shut.

    I would be quite certain that we don't have it all right, or all sorted, but I suspect that last place anyone needs their head at the moment is in the sand.
     
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  9. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Overreaction leads to panic, misinformation leads to ignorant and therefore inappropriate responses, complacency leads to indiscriminate and predictably unpredictable deaths. Which of these do we think need to be controlled and if possible eliminated?
     
  10. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Ah, but who gets to decide what is misinformation and what is not? Who will provide the jackboots and the cadence, that all may march in lock step?
     
  11. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    I hear the echo of the cynical "What is truth" uttered by a famous Roman Governor. A lie, is a lie whoever tells it and he who is lied to has the right to label it a lie, when it is. Those IN power and widely quoted are inclined more to display 'strategic ignorance' and issue 'alternative truths', because they have more to gain from feigned ignorance and lying than those who are powerless and voiceless.
     
  12. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    Of course the question has significant viability in our age. In the absence of an ultimate guide, each of us must make an assessment based on what we know. The problem that presents is that we do not know absolutely at the moment, and we are required to make a decision as to how to respond to the information presented before we will know.

    If the weather forecast is for rain and thunderstorms, yet when you are leaving your house the skies are blue, you have to make the decision to either leave the umbrella in the stand or take it with you. There are consequences of that decision, however they are unlikely to be life threatening or life changing, and in the main will affect you, not others.

    If the information we are called to respond to is about a virus which has deadly consequences for whole communities, and the various simple steps we can each take to thwart the transmission of the virus. There are consequences of that decision, and they may be life threatening or life changing, and in the main will affect both you and others.

    So on what basis do we make that assessment:
    • The credibility we accept/refute of the sources of the information
    • The level of acceptance of that information by others
    • Clinical statistics
    • Other information that comes to us (including the witness of others)
    • An awareness of the other issues that may cause people to speak
    • What the Holy Spirit breathes in our heart
    There is a philosophical school called Pragmatism, which in part suggests that we never have all the information, so we need to make decisions based on the information we have to hand, and be prepared to revise those decisions as more information comes to hand. In that sense all we can really say is For the time being I will make decision X. A lot of people find that entirely unacceptable.

    I am reminded of Paul's letter to the Corinthians

    For now we see in a glass darkly, but then face to face.

    It is quite clear to me that various people in this thread (myself included) have made the best decisions they can based on the information we have to hand and our various assessments of it. I can accept that, however there is a problem, and maybe here comes the rub. The decisions that we take in our situation may have consequences for others who have taken different decisions. So I need to ask myself some serious questions about what love calls us to do. It is not simply a philosophical discussion over a couple of ports - it is actually about whether or not I should take decisions that may well put others in harms way.

    I can be very cynical, yet I am not sure that I see Pilate's question as a cynical abuse of power, so much as the genuine struggle we all face, and especially this in power, when wrestling with matters of moment.
     
  13. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Has Covid-19 been as deadly as is claimed? For an answer, I referred to a 2008 study of influenza mortality rates that are adjusted for population (deaths per 100,000) in the US. Based on this data, Covid has to this date been on par with the 1968-'69 pandemic and not as bad as the 1957--58 flu pandemic. We did not engage in drastic measures such as shutdown in those pandemics. (The 1918 flu was multiple times worse than anything we've seen since, including this current pandemic.)

    Of course, deaths are deaths. Any illness can be deadly to someone. People have literally died of infections caused by scratches during man's history. But illnesses cause death generally because they are the "last straw" for someone with co-morbidities or a weakened immune system (the latter can often be due to select or non-select malnutrition). In the case of the current virus, the mortality rate has struck the elderly (75+) far harder (nearly 60% of total Covid deaths) than any other group; I saw one estimate that nearly one-half of those elderly people would most likely have died within the year from other causes anyhow because they have had nearly 3 co-morbidities on average.

    The news media and select health 'officials' (including WHO) have scared the population into the belief that catching Covid is almost an automatic death sentence. Most people are scared silly of this virus. But in fact it isn't much different in mortality rate per 100,000 population than a bad flu season... and no one panicked about those flu seasons. We all just took sensible precautions; at-risk and symptomatic people voluntarily self-isolated, and people washed their hands more often and covered their mouths when coughing or sneezing.
     
  14. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    Let us trust and pray that this pandemic is contained and does not become as deadly as some earlier pandemics. Of course at this stage it is difficult to know that answer, as we are still on the upward curve, and indeed in part the result will depend in part on our response. Certainly in Australia during the 1918-1920 Spanish Flu Epidemic there were a number of measures taken, including the shutdown of many establishments including pubs and churches, isolation, social distancing, and heightened hygiene procedures.

    I note that it does not need to be worse that the Spanish Flu Epidemic to be worthy or our consideration, response and prayer.
     
  15. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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  16. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    The rules we face on return to worship (and we may well lose that right again soon as we face a new wave) are communion in one kind, Contactless greeting of peace, no hymns, no loud responses, 4 square meter rule, use sanitiser of entry, full clean after each service, must book to attend with name address and phone number.

    I am quite sure that Canada and China do have more in common than just their names both start with the letter "C", but perhaps not in the manner that you suggest. Eastern Orthodox Communion Practice is not well understood in the west, and I can easily see why it would concern health experts.

    The Ontario Ministry of Health has issued COVID-19 guidelines advising to “suspend activities that increase risk of disease transmission, including” the “sharing or distributing materials or objects, which may include but is not limited to: books, communion, microphones, prayer mats, prayer shawls, water, etc.”

    The guidelines additionally ban “indoor singing activities and choir service” and require churches to be filled at 30 percent of capacity. The Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Toronto of the Patriarchate of Constantinople published a powerful video of Fr. Fanourios Pappas informing his congregation on July 5 that he could not administer the holy Eucharist.​

    I think we should not seek to be alarmist about this. Is this anti christian or is it perhaps simply government trying to keep people safe? There is no doubt that these are challenging time.
     
  17. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    When a government presumes to stick its nose into the church's doors and dictate to the church how (or when) they may conduct services and masses, it does not bode well for the churches in that nation. What a government will do one time, they will feel free to do again -- perhaps more severely -- should they feel moved to do so by current events. It doesn't have to be an event which some Christians view as legitimate, such as a viral outbreak. It could be a growing anti-Christian public sentiment, a desire to shut down dissent against some popular sin, or something else.

    The USA is the only nation I'm aware of that has codified a significant measure of protection against government intrusion for the benefit of religious groups. Even that protection is not bulletproof. But at least the US government should be the last one to seize de facto control of churches for its own designs.
     
  18. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    I would agree that the US Constitution, together with the 1st amendment, is some of the best protection provided to people of faith. The Australian Constitution does not have such provision, though section 117 is often attempted, but it is the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights where we must find out greatest protections, and I commend Eleanor Roosevelt for her exceptional work on that document.

    Current actions impacting Church life could be seen and painted as all sorts of things, or they could represent the Governments seeking to preserve their citizens against the unseen predator. I don;t think we help the cause of Christ if we overplay our hand in these things. Christians should also be seeking to protect those who are vulnerable.

    Go forth into the world in peace.
    Be of good courage.
    Hold fast that which is good.
    Render to no one evil for evil.
    Strengthen the fainthearted.
    Support the weak.
    Help the afflicted.
    Show love to everyone.
    Love and serve the Lord,
    rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit;
    and the blessing of almighty God,
    the Father, the † Son, and the Holy Spirit,
    be among you and remain with you always. Amen.​
     
  19. AnglicanAgnostic

    AnglicanAgnostic Active Member

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    But as I have said before, not of people who have no faith. Athiests are still the largest group in America that can be legally discriminated against.
     
  20. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    Why do you feel that way?