Does being wealthy and privileged alter one’s capacity to care?
By SUSAN K. SMITH
Crazy Faith Ministries
It has been striking to me to listen to the president and those who are aligned with him express so much more concern for the state of the economy than they have for the hundreds of thousands of people who are suffering because of coronavirus.
I have also recoiled from the statements given by some pastors and governors that they will not issue orders for people to shelter in place to help curb the spread of the virus, as reported by The Los Angeles Times and Vox.
I keep wondering, how it is that people can care so little not just about themselves, but also about the people of their families and of this country? How can anyone think it’s OK to challenge the virus – when the virus has already wrought so much illness and death – for the sake of defying the government? They are citing the fact that in this country we have “freedom of religion,” but does that right make it all right to expose others to illness and death, as The Times noted?
Attorney General William Barr, citing his desire that the American economy be jump-started, made a comment in The Washington Post that people don’t need to be going home and hiding under their beds. I’ve not heard him utter a word of concern for those who cannot stay at home, or a word for the health care workers and police and ambulance workers, the bus drivers and transit workers, who are staying on the battlefield, so to speak, to the detriment of their own health to help the rest of us?
From the beginning, it feels like this country discounted the virus and its power. The 1918 Flu Pandemic happened so long ago that Americans have forgotten – if they ever knew – how devastating that event was in terms of human life and the American economy. They have forgotten that funeral homes ran out of coffins, that mass graves were dug because there were so many bodies, and that the economy literally tanked.
America likes to believe that bad things cannot happen here and is on record for having ignored warnings from governments on medical and military crises. America was warned in 1941 when the Japanese were planning an attack on Pearl Harbor but ignored it, according to The Telegraph. Likewise, America was warned about a possible attack on Sept. 11, 2001, a CNN article noted.
America was criticized for its response and reaction to the Ebola outbreak in this country as well, according to NBC News.
In a word, America seems to think it is immune from the type of devastation of humanity we have seen in so many countries. We have never had whole cities wiped out, as Europe had. Except for our shameful immigration detention centers, we have not had mass dislocation of American citizens, although during the Great Depression, an estimated 2 million people succumbed to homelessness, Glogster.com noted.
That so little attention is being shown to the plight of people who are suffering makes me wonder. How can a nation that claims to be Christian be so unconcerned with the lives of so many American citizens? All I hear is the desire to get the economy back up and running – and not so much the small businesses, but instead, those giant corporations who have already benefited from huge, permanent tax cuts and stock buybacks.
In the name of the Jesus people claim to love, where is the compassion? I have been looking for it and simply have not found it nor seen very many people in high places seeming to be concerned about it.
So much for being Christian and pro-life.
Rev. Dr. Susan K. Smith is the founder and director of Crazy Faith Ministries. Her latest book, Rest for the Justice-Seeking Soul, is now available through Barnes and Noble and Amazon. She is available for speaking. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.