Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Scott Adams, COVID-19 and Easter Services

I'm starting to lose my interest in watching Scott Adams (Dilbert cartoonist).  Early on in the Wuhan virus crisis, he stated that he wanted to present a positive outlook and avoid negativity.  He says we are all in this together.  And for the most part he follows that.  But sometimes he's a bit inconsistent.

Let's take an example or two.  Remember when President Trump talked about how hydroxychloroquine was a promising therapeutic?  And a day or two after, several democratic governors decided to outlaw the use of the drug for COVID-19 patients?  I think Nevada was the first place, and it's governor said that he wouldn't allow the use of an untested and dangerous drug for COVID-19 patients (paraphrased).  Well, for some reason Scott was asked about it, and he speculated that it must be because they didn't want a run on drugs that were needed for malaria and lupus.  He completely ignored the actual statement.  It was pretty obvious to all that the democratic governors were trying to oppose anything that might make President Trump look good.  I think since then Scott has talked about the media's drive to oppose the drug.  Of course soon after that the democratic governors said of course, they were restricting hydroxychloroquine to avoid shortages for lupus and malaria patients.

I guess a bigger peeve I have with him is that he does not discuss democratic push back on President Trump's initiatives.  In fact, while we all may be subject to the impact of the virus, we are NOT "all in this together."  And Scott seems to downplay any Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS).

But that is his choice.

What I really wanted to focus on today, was his comment about attending Easter Service.  Somebody, I think, asked him what he thought of people doing an in-person service.  He made statements (paraphrased) that it was the equivalent of someone killing their grandmother or attending Satanic services.  And I've made it sound way worse than Scott did, so I hope he forgives my awful paraphrasing--but both "killing grandmother" and "Satanic services" were in there.

But I think his statements are nuts and pretty much unforgivable.  First, let's look at the government and CDC's guidelines.  Wash your hands frequently, stay six feet or more apart, and where masks when you are going to be near others.  They also say no large gatherings; which I took as meaning stop gatherings because people don't stay six feet apart.  I'll also add in the nearly universal dining-in ban.  Our local restaurants had started eliminating tables to get the six feet distance before our state's dining-in ban was ordered.  I've assumed the ban was to avoid multiple people touching tables and chairs where someone has coughed.  But I also occasionally cough when I eat too much (a variation on indigestion).

So, can churches meet those guidelines?  Sure, except for the <10 person gathering, but they can even meet the intent of that.  First, make services by reservation so you know and can limit how many will attend.  Have a 6' to 6' line to get in to the service.  Mark available seats and have one usher.  All seats will be at least 6' from every other one with perhaps some near doubles for couples.  This might reduce seats from say 300 to 30 or so.  You would have say 5 services in a day.  Plenty of time in-between to allow leisurely entry and exit.  No exiting cars while anyone is near.  Everyone wears masks, gloves, and preferably long sleeved shirts and pants.  All pews are wiped down between every service.  Eliminate hymnal singing (minimal air movement) and prayer books.  Use projectors as needed.  Have more presentations, prayers, and individual singers on stage. Skip the schmoozing before and afterwards and keep the services succinct. Anyway, if the government's guidelines are correct, it can be done safely.

Now think about the people that want to come.  I reduced the 300 to 150 (over 5 services) since I'm guessing at least 50% would rather not take any risk and attend services.

But Scott said attending was essentially killing your grandmother.  But suppose your grandmother is in isolation?  The precautions I describe above are at least as effective as going to the grocery or Home Depot.

Your grandmother might even attend herself.  If she's 87, she might want to attend Easter and hear the resurrection story one more time in her life.

Then there's the single person or couple that is isolated at home, working from home or out of work, and only going to the grocery.  They may get to chat with another grocery shopper that don't know for a few seconds.  They hear nothing but bad news on the TV.  Trump is killing the country with his bad decisions.  Going to church is uplifting and often gives hope.  Saying they cannot go violates the constitution and is just morally wrong.  Sure, the elite think a psychologist is better than a pastor, but most people cannot afford online sessions with a psychologist.  And the psychologist is unlikely to speak about God and their faith.

Anyway, it should be a person's choice.  Assuming the church takes adequate precautions.  Worshipers could attend without risk of killing their grandmother.  Most will not be Satan worshipers.  Scott should apologize.

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