A war you can’t win

The Spectator‘s Kat Rosenfield has written a short piece, attacking the myth of “Zero COVID”. The insistence that Sars-COV2 could be beat by “locking down and vaccinating it out of existence” was always “a fantasy.” She notes, as National Geographic recently pointed out, only two diseases have ever been eradicated – one human and one bovine. Although governments don’t generally admit that this has been their strategy, the obsession with who’s got the least cases suggests that it is still the guiding principle in many places.

Rosenfield observes that this is not the case with other viruses, such as the flu. People assess their risk and decide how to act from there. It is accepted that some people will die of flu, every time it comes around. Yet, with COVID the messaging remains as it was in the early days – if you break the rules, you are morally culpable for someone else getting sick. Dr. Fauci said recently that those who don’t wear a mask are encroaching on others’ rights. The misery inflicted by aggressive “Zero COVID” strategies is becoming clearer (Australia, anyone?), but the fear-driven news cycle will not let up.

Do we have a “right” to stay healthy or not be exposed to risk? Rosenfield writes, “Co-existing with other creatures is the price of admission for Planet Earth, and that includes the millions of microorganisms.” Mad Christians know that very well. We know that creation is groaning under the curse of our sin – Jesus said that wars, natural disasters, plagues and death would continue until he returns. 

Martin Luther’s famous letter written during the Black Death circulated widely in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. Perhaps that is because he speaks with the calmness that only a baptized child of God knows. He suggests we think like this: We know “by God’s decree the enemy has sent us poison and deadly offal”, so we will ask God to mercifully protect us. While we won’t tempt God with reckless behavior, we will take sensible precautions and freely help our neighbors. 

The pagans and their cleanliness religion will try to innovate or police The Curse out of existence, but that is not our burden. How different it is to follow Dr. Luther’s example, to take the Sacrament and prepare to die, in service of those God has placed in our lives.  If only Dr. Luther worked for the CDC…