And the body count mounts in our culture wars.
The godsend of a vaccine took our nation from 4,000 Covid deaths daily in January to under 100 in July. It’s back above 1,000 again and climbing fast as the virus races unchecked through the unvaccinated.
Consider: 1,000 precious lives lost every day because people have been convinced their lives are nothing more than fodder in someone’s culture war.
I used to wonder how in heaven’s name Jim Jones got his “Christian” cult members to feed poison to their children – their children! — and then drink it themselves, leaving 918 dead. Or how “religious” leaders convinced devotees to blow up their bodies and end the sacred lives of those around them, too.
Now we know. We watch it in our society day after day.
Political, social, religious, and media figures declare a culture war and rouse their constituents, congregations and viewers to engage in a fight to the death – their own death. They see their followers’ lives as nothing more than collateral damage.
And for what purpose? So the warmongers can amass yet more power, influence and money. They lust for better ratings, more votes, fuller collection plates, and more sway over their masses.
Treating precious lives as collateral damage
The “religious” war mongers trouble me the most. Preaching that “true believers” won’t get sick spreads death and misery among the people they’re supposed to love and nurture.
The various warmongers have one thing in common. They know people will react strongly if they’re made to feel they’re under attack from someone or something, and whether it’s true doesn’t matter. Truth is always the first casualty of war, including culture wars.
Of course, they never actually enjoin the battle themselves. Other people wind up on ventilators, not them. They’re vaccinated and out of harm’s way, with access to treatments their followers can’t get. They want to benefit from the war, not die in it.
And so we see people drink the poison and pledge allegiance to a lethal denial:
- Denial that vaccines work.
- Denial that life matters — their lives and the lives of everyone around them.
- Denial that the doctors and nurses who have already saved their lives countless times are trying to do it again.
- Denial that we have responsibility to love one another.
And the body count mounts.
I’m out of words for it, but one theological term comes to mind: evil.
Evil us using our free will to harm ourselves and others by making choices that devalue life. It’s rejecting the gift of life-saving medicine. It’s demonizing medical professionals who put their lives on the line daily to keep God’s breath stirring inside Covid-ravaged lungs.
Faith redeems and reconciles cultures through love
Remember that Jesus emphatically rejected the culture war mentality. He invited everyone – especially those who were targets of the culture warriors — to join his movement of truth and love and healing. Put down those swords.
Real faith is counter-cultural that way. It seeks not to incite wars within cultures but to redeem and reconcile cultures through love. It counters lies with the truth that we’re all God’s children and have a responsibility to love and look out for one another.
We know the warmongers won’t call a truce. The pandemic has been a goldmine for them, and they have no intention of stopping even as the bodies pile up. They’ll fight over medicine, masks, vaccines — anything they can conscript into their war — for as long as long as they can.
It’s up to everyone else to reject the poison and stop turning sacred life into collateral damage. More than 1,000 lives are being snuffed out each day in our society alone – more every day than died in Jim Jones’ mass suicide.
No more. No more drinking from the cup of poison. No more sharing lies that produce Covid-scarred lungs incapable of embracing God’s breath. No more devaluing life in the name of winning someone’s ungodly war.
(Image courtesy of Ben.Harper @CreativeCommons.org)