Saturday, July 11, 2020

Putting Assumption Aside

It has often been stated in GOP circles, especially among white evangelicals, that the mainstream media is hostile to Christianity and Christian values.

But it is far less hostile than it is indifferent to- or more likely intimidated out of- covering the intersection of Christianity and politics. With dozens of hours of news devoted to the novel coronavirus by the two credible cable news networks, CNN and MSNBC, there has been little or no acknowledgment of the story, reported by NPR, that

A Christian camp in Missouri has been forced to shut down after dozens of staff, campers and counselors tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Kanakuk K-2 camp in Lampe, just north of the border with Arkansas, closed after 41 people became infected with the coronavirus, the Stone County Health Department announced last week.

Four days later, local health officials said the number of infections had doubled, to 82. Many of those who tested positive had already left the camp and returned home, with cases in at least 10 states and to multiple counties in Missouri.

At least one case is in Stone County, where the camp is located.

"The decision to close has resulted in all campers, counselors and staff to return to their homes. [The Stone County Health Department] will be working closely with Kanakuk Kamps to identify exposed individuals and quarantine those individuals, as necessary," the county said in a Facebook post.

Kanakuk Kamps did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to its website, the K-2 camp — a program for 13- to 18-year-olds offering two- and four-week stays — is one of at least six operated by Kanakuk. "Since 1926, Kanakuk has been the Christian summer camp for over 450,000 youth," the site says.

You might suggest that this Christian camp had been unusually negligent or irresponsible, perhaps harboring the suspicion of many conservatives that SARS-CoV-2 is a hoax, or at least an overblown story.  However, that doesn't appear to be the case because

Kanakuk says it introduced multiple measures and procedures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus ahead of its 2020 season, which began May 30. These included a health screening, temperature checks and a two-week self-quarantine for campers before arrival.

This is in a state with a pro-Trump Republican governor, who four weeks earlier had boasted “Knowing what we know, we are much better prepared to deal with COVID-19 going forward. Which is why we are confident that Missouri is ready to take the next step forward. Missouri will be fully open for business in the entire state of Missouri.”

And it is happening in the America of Donald J. Trump, whose spiritual adviser, Paula White, stated in August, 2017 that the President was "authentically raised up by God" and urged Americans (as described here) "to be obedient and loyal to Trump because it is what God wants." Other, less well-known religious figures have maintained that Donald Trump was chosen by God, as have millions of Pentecostals throughout the nation.

They are wrong, very likely. It's highly improbable that God intervened in the 2016 presidential election.  "You made your bed, now lie in it." is more likely. But Republican states currently are bearing the brunt of the coronavirus and a Christian sleep away camp is stricken, a camp in which (at 3:25 of the video above) a youngster in 2018 is heard saying "my counselors definitely encourage me, to, like, read the Bible every day, pray with everybody...."

The messenger from God continues to ramp up destruction of our country while Republicans avoid questioning God's "chosen one" and the media addresses religious issues with unease and undue caution.  But a Democrat, or someone, must at least ask whether God may have intervened, and if so, how- and whether divine punishment, beginning with Donald Trump's election itself, is being meted out to the nation.

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