I’m going to reflect a little bit about government and experts and news, three entities which have recently received an inordinate amount of attention from the rest of us earthlings who are not in government, who are not “experts,” and who are not journalists.
On government, my position remains that Romans 13:1-5 still applies to me, an American citizen, even if we live in a supposed “democracy” and we do not live under the narcissistic, authoritarian emperor Nero. “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.” Governors and mayors and presidents and their respective bureaucrats have been wrong before and they will be wrong again. I am a soldier in the army of the Kingdom of God, and that is where I receive my marching orders. I take the position that it is my responsibility to pray for my government, to try to extend honor, and to pay taxes. Sometimes it’s tough to honor the government, but that doesn’t mean I should throw away the instructions and move towardsdishonor. I just don’t think that is my calling, and I pray I can honor even when they are blatantly wrong.
On “experts,” I’ll pivot briefly to meteorologists. For about twenty years I have been skeptical of meteorologists, especially when big storms may be approaching. In New York, whenever a hurricane is predicted to land in the south and “may” work its way up the East coast, the meteorologists love the limelight and spend minutes on television and radio mapping out the scary models of what could happen. I turn them off. Radio, television, whatever, I figure these meteorologists love that they are finally considered important so they kind of rise to the occasion and their self-importance turns me off. We were in Ohio when Hurricane Irene was slated to hit NYC hard, and those in NYC canceled church much to my chagrin. A few trees fell and church could have easily been held. Oh well. But a year or so later, in 2012, the “experts” rose up and predicted Hurricane Sandy, and it was a devastating hurricane (superstorm) that hit NYC. It didn’t hit their worse-case predictions, but it was still really bad. So there we have it. 20 years of skepticism of meteorologists, and one big Superstorm Sandy that kind of validated their role.
With today’s COVID-19 crisis, I have friends who have doubted the epidemiologists from the beginning and have been largely correct in their skepticism, at least in most of America. The dire predictions of the experts have not played out, at least not yet in most of America. (Side note, if we take the rate of NYC deaths per capita from COVID-19 as of 04/12/2020 and translate that across the country per capita, we'd already be at 270,000 deaths, so they are not as off as people think when you look at our region here in NYC). I’ve only listened to Dr. Fauci maybe 5 minutes total on two separate reports he gave, and I have never listened to Dr. Birx. It sounds like their scary models and possible scenarios are being down-graded weekly. So it seems they have been very wrong, and the skeptics may have been proven right. We are not through the crisis yet, so I’m reserving my analysis until it’s over. I actually hope that the experts are proven wrong. I’m very grateful to God if the numbers of deaths from COVID-19 come in at a much lower rate than was expected. And today, I do not feel any compulsion to reject or defend the “experts”. We need experts. Sometimes they are way wrong, and sometimes they are dead right. I don’t feel the need to find another “expert” to prove the “experts” were wrong, so I don’t share news feeds and citizens reports and “Dr. _______” reports that expose the “experts.” Hey, it is even possible that the experts were in line to be correct, but the prayers of God’s people downgraded the threat and God heard from heaven, forgave sin, and healed the land. I honestly don’t think that scenario is a far out, implausible theory. So there you have it. I am grateful for experts. They DO get it wrong many times. In the case of COVID-19, if the USA is able to get out of this crisis with only 60,000 deaths, I’ll spend more time praising God than petitioning for new “experts” or new government or new ____________.
On news, I don't have much to say. I have a suspicion that whatever was considered my primary sources of trustworthy news BEFORE this crisis probably became even more my primary sources, and I am even more skeptical of the underground alternative news sources than before. And I have a suspicion that many of my friends who only went to alternative news sources and decried the “lame stream media” before have now only had their fears and suspicions confirmed. We have to intentionally engage one another in this time, especially as Christ-followers, or we will miss each other and may end up making the dangerous mistake of calling each other the enemy.
A long monologue, I know. These are some of my thoughts on this. I was going to post this on Facebook and open it up for others to respond. People certainly do not have to agree with me. And you do not have to only present cogent, lucid, logical arguments one way or another. Emotion is fine because emotion affects all of us in this. But it would be helpful if the comments would remain civil. In fact, if you have something to say, I request that civility and love be higher motivators than proving yourself “right” and the other “wrong.” I don't really trust Facebook for civility and love right now, so I'm just putting my thoughts here.
Son of the Father, husband to Sandy, father of six amazing gifts, Bronx brother, active participant in Believers in Jesus Church, insurance adjuster, occasional runner