Covid Politics and the Christian Faithful
By Fred Comella
“God humbled you, …that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” – Deuteronomy 8:3
I know a lot of you are weary of COVID talk, however we are still in the clutches of this virus, and worse, the clutches of those we’ve elected to show the way through it. Now I always remind friends and believers, that as a Type 1 diabetic, I’m fully aware of the risks associated with this illness, and how they may adversely affect someone like myself with an underlying condition. And I’d be lying if I told you that didn’t concern me. Nevertheless, I’m also a patriot, who understands with equal clarity, that the cure must not be worse than the disease, and that this nation under God must not be sacrificed at the altar of science, politics and a big government ideology.
The last couple of months have been a whirlwind to be sure. If I may sum up, it appears a Godless regime covered up the mishandling of a contagion, either with our government’s foreknowledge or not, initially thought to be transmitted when Godless people eat things they shouldn’t. That same Godless regime was then content to conspire with the World “Health” Organization to cover up their accidental/intentional actions, all while initially allowing international in and out of the “hot zone” air travel, thus promoting the spread of what is now known as COVID-19 to just about every corner of the globe. Now this is just a snapshot of a much bigger picture, complete with lots of associated and so far unanswered questions.
Cut back to the United States, where, as a result of COVID, we are witnessing the greatest assault on a free society since 1930’s Germany. Say what you will about who you think is to blame, though I would add that this is a Presidential Election year, and it’s easy to read and know the intentions of the party seeking the White House. Regrettably, many in the opposition party, along with their cohorts in the press, clearly have some pretty questionable intentions, and have failed on every level to recognize how important it is for a constitutional republic to speak with one voice in difficult times. Nevertheless, and as we reflect on the last 70 or 80 days, we’re beginning to see the effects of complacency and not checking our elected officials and our government as a whole when it comes to their claims that they’re “looking out for our best interest”. We’re also seeing the definition of “essential” being worked and re-worked in order to re-define our treasured societal and cultural norms, with many faith-based, and more specifically Christian leaders being left out of the conversation. Watching the nightly news is like watching the history channel, as we see the vast contrast between the states whose governors are mindful of our rights, and those who are not. We are also confronted with the reality of an economy on life-support, and which will likely falter permanently if not allowed to re-start very soon. Even “America’s Doctor” Fauci now concedes the models were grossly inaccurate, and that prolonged closures and shutdowns will destroy the country. Well thank you for that doctor…
Now as a Christian, I am more inclined than ever to recognize our nations Biblical Foundations and the freedom Christ provides, both to our nation and through our salvation in Him. (2 Corinthians 3:17) Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And this is why I study history such as I do. I also understand that “big government” cannot thrive where the Lord is. Liberal Progressive leaders in this country and around the world continue to demonstrate their frustration with Christianity and the church. And as we’ve witnessed, not just in the past few months, but rather the past few decades, they seem bound and determined to remove the impediment of Christ, so they may promote an ideology of zero accountability, zero responsibility and zero recourse, accept by way of government policy put forth by Godless “leaders”. But you and I know, He will not allow this in the end.
In the meantime though, “We the People”, citizens of the “greatest arrangement for human kind under God” the world has ever known, must stand fast and protect our freedom, and more specifically, the freedom to gather and worship our Lord and Savior in a church of our choosing.
Most of us have heard our Governor in Rhode Island, Gina Raimondo, go on about how she’s a Catholic and all, and feels the pain of not being able to go to church. But we all know the Governor’s positions on a host of issues make that claim rather disingenuous to say the least. And we all know the lame attempts politicians use to rationalize their actions, quoting the Bible out of context and the like, to make their case. Nevertheless, this is the person who has taken the politics of COVID and run right over your Constitutional and civil rights with it. You see, like many East Coast governors, Raimondo has embraced the “science” of the argument, and under the guise of protecting you from that which you don’t understand, and with the most elitist and egregious tone, crushed the state of Rhode Island’s economy under some of the most unconstitutional, draconian and wholly unnecessary executive orders and directives I think we ever seen. Abortion clinics, strip clubs and liquor stores are essential, but churches are not. If this doesn’t make you pay attention, I don’t know what will.
Now for some quick background and facts. First, Raimondo is a very wealthy term-limited governor who will likely only have to deal with lawsuits resulting from her actions. And with plenty of like-minded attorney friends, she’ll be a lot better off than the owners of the small businesses destroyed by her “executive orders”. Moreover, she likely has national political aspirations, thus the more left of center she is, the more she would appeal to those looking to build a shadow cabinet around “Sleepy Joe Biden”. The kicker here for Rhode Islanders, and frankly anyone who cares to do the math, is that fully 80% of the COVID “related” deaths in my home state have been in nursing homes or other congregate care facilities. And while according to the state, we’ve lost 538 souls to COVID, ALL of which are a tragedies for those families, this number represents barely 0.05111% of 1,052,567 RI residents. Just for context, had we lost a full 1%, (God forbid), that death toll would have been more than 10,000. Now has mitigation helped with these numbers? Somewhat, I’m sure. However, I think most folks would agree in hindsight, that a much more targeted approach to the hot spots and nursing homes would have been preferable, likely producing more positive results and been less devastating to the local economy. This was Florida’s approach and they have done well. Let’s face it folks, what little, “Little Rhody” had left, as a result of decades and decades of political malfeasance, is going fast.
So, as I don’t want to get caught in the weeds here, it’s important that every Christian do their homework and understand what’s at stake. Please know that you must do your part to keep this virus in check until it runs its course or can be suppressed medically. But also know that our leaders are not necessarily focused on what’s truly “essential” in the lives of those who’ve sent them to office and who pay their secure salaries. In these times, it’s ESSENTIAL we be with our Lord and Savior so we may hear the Word and seek His love and guidance. To that end, I spoke with my pastor Dave Aucoin of Abundant Life Assemblies of God recently on his efforts, and those of other Massachusetts and Rhode Island Pastors, to get our churches open. The “Good News” is, those efforts are beginning pay off.
“PD” and I talked about how MA Governor Charlie Baker is one week ahead of Governor Raimondo with regard to churches and allowing 40% capacity this weekend to RI’s 25% beginning on May 30. He also reminded me that while it’s absolutely the right thing to open restaurants in RI, as the industry is in crisis mode, “Man does not live by bread alone”, and churches should be open as well. PD forwarded his newsletter to me and the following is something I hadn’t even thought of: “But it is not just church services that have been affected. With COVID-19, there’s never been a greater demand for clergy involvement in ‘end of life’ situations, and yet pastors are not even allowed to meet with people near death in the hospitals or nursing homes for prayer and counsel. Funerals are limited to 10 or less and that is certainly not sufficient to meet the needs of a grieving family.
Family Policy Alliance of RI has circulated a letter to be sent to the Governor asking for 2 things. First – That churches be listed as ‘ESSENTIAL’ services/businesses. Second, for representation from the ‘Faith’ community on the Governor’s Strategic Planning Committee”.
PD has been a driving force with the new Family Policy Council of RI, and it’s encouraging that folks like my pastor have seen the benefit of an organization like that of Massachusetts Family Policy Institute in our state. As we rise to face the challenges of the secular onslaught, all of us should do what we can to help these organizations.
PD also put me in touch with other Pastors around the New England area to get their input. I know many of you know Pastor Dave Therrien of New Hope Christian Church in Swansea MA by way of his radio program on WARV 1590 AM and 92.7 FM. Well, Pastor Therrien explained to me that nothing is more “essential” than God’s Word, and that he and his church have been preparing for some time and were scheduled to open this weekend regardless of the governor’s directives. Pastor Dave told me that enough is enough, and that New Hope will hold two services with social distancing and other safety measures already in place.
I also spoke with King’s Grant Fellowship’s Pastor Bob Rosinski who only reinforced the thoughts of Pastors Therrien and Aucoin with regard to churches as essential aspects of our lives. And he mentioned how he felt PD’s letter to the Governor, as well as Catholic Bishop Tobin’s input may have spurred RI’s governor to move ahead with reopening churches, albeit in such a restricted fashion. But he also brought up something I hadn’t been considering. Many, like myself, run to church on Sunday as it prepares me for the battles of the week ahead. I depend on my pastor’s word and the Word of God to help me live more like Him going forward. There are still others, who struggle with mental illness for which the only cure for them is found with their church families during weekly services and Bible studies. It made me think about the healing Words of God and how the state would truly be in trouble if it weren’t for the church as a place of refuge for those who struggle with mental illness, drug addiction and alcohol. Well that’s all in flux right now, and the governors of these blue states had better get ready for another kind of healthcare “surge” if they continue to separate folks from their creator.
Pastor Bob also reminded me that he was from New Hampshire, and that despite his desire to work within the scope of the governors guidelines, his New Hampshire roots of “Live free or die” were getting to him, and that this crisis has become as much of a Constitutional crisis as it is one of a pandemic. I would add here, that the President has gone on the record and deemed churches as essential nationally, and threatened to step in if states continue to suppress them. For our governor’s part, just more nonsense about “not being ready”. As of the writing of this piece churches in RI remain closed until the weekend of May 30th.
PD had also sent me a copy of a petition which I will attach to this article. We are asking all to send it directly to the governor’s email address as soon as you can. Here is just a few lines from that petition.
“We are thankful for your leadership during this COVID-19 crisis. We have been publicly praying for you and all of our elected officials during our streaming services. You have been given unusually heavy responsibilities at this time. We recognize that and have been praying for you as the Bible encourages us to do.
As pastors and church leaders, we care deeply for the health and welfare of our congregations and our communities. We do recognize the dangers and uncertainties surrounding COVID-19 and we have supported the extraordinary measures we and our congregations are having to take. However, as you move to reopening Rhode Island, we have the following requests:
- Classify Churches as “essential” services.
- Allow Churches to function at 40-50% of normal seating capacity.
- Trust Churches and respect their 1st Amendment Rights.”
In the end, history (and God) will judge those who’ve exploited this “pandemic” for personal or political gain. Truly lives have been lost because of their recklessness and lust for power and control. All I would add is that be it mathematically, and even scientifically, we’re clearly not getting the full picture from those we’ve elected to give us that picture. And while I won’t minimize this illness or put aside those we’ve lost, this nation was not built to run on fear, and it will collapse under the weight of ideologies which run contrary to our heritage and Christian beginnings.
Let science do its thing and may God guide their hands. But in the meantime, open our nation in the safest way possible, and without excuses and lies to cover for bad governance. And let God’s faithful return to church, where they may worship in His love and mercy. Prayer is needed, and fast…Be well, be safe and God bless.
Please sign our petition at familypolicyalliance.com/ask-the-governor and it will be sent to Governor Raimondo instantly.