In 1764, in an act of rebellion that earned them hatred from their pious neighbors – and a fine from the theocratic government model of many public Christians today – that Green Mountaineer Ethan Allen and Dr. Thomas Young defied all that was right and good by having the latter publicly inoculate the former against smallpox. On a Sunday. Right outside the Salisbury, CT, Congregational Meeting House. For all to see. Disobedience. Defiance. Heresy.
In his biography of Allen, William Sterne Randall points out that smallpox outbreaks had killed 1,200 of 12,000 Bostonians in 1689. In 1720, another thousand out of 12,000 died in The Hub.
But, according to Randall, “Puritans deemed it a great sin to interfere with God’s will by trying to prevent death.” Others disagreed. John Adams had our other great patriot doctor, Joseph Warren, inoculate him. Sam Adams and Thomas Jefferson soon broke local laws as well.
Yep, anti-science, anti-education, anti-vaccine forces of proud ignorance were alive and well even before our country was founded. You would think….
But, last Thursday – as Oklahoma hospitals were setting up tents to handle COVID cases – was deemed “a day of prayer and fasting” by Gov. COVID-Kevin Stitt. As reported by The Lost Ogle, when it repeated a Facebook post from Rev. Diana K. Davies of the First Unitarian Church of Oklahoma City, our governor “asked us to ask our parishioners to ‘take this seriously.’”
But not “seriously enough” to do anything about it. Nothing positive anyway.
Because, also that week, Peyton Yager of KFOR reported: “The Oklahoma State Department of Health revealed on Tuesday that asymptomatic COVID-19 positive medical workers are cleared to continue working under CDC guidelines if a hospital is in dire need of staff.”
Typhoid Mary and Superspreaders Trump and Stitt probably approve, but not Dr. Scott Michener, Chief Medical Officer at Comanche County Memorial Hospital. He told Yager, “To me, that seems like the most insane thing. You won’t mandate a mask, but you’re allowing COVID-19 positive health workers to work.”
In planning Thursday’s day of prayer – his second “Pass the Buck to God Day of Inaction” – Stitt claimed “Oklahoma is behind Jesus.” Some might say we’re “way behind” someone who advocated a Golden Rule.
That same Jesus also asserted, “Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.”
But, Jesus wasn’t counting on the modern American deification of money. Mammon is now our God. Nothing takes precedence over the bottom line.
Donald Trump cost us a hundred thousand or so extra deaths due to his Wall Street over Wellness, lying-and-denying pandemic inaction. Gov. Stitt followed this playbook, as has the Duncan City Council.
People are dying. Anti-maskers demonstrate daily that they don’t give a (hoot).
And, Trump, Moscow Mitch and their cowering GOP cohorts have exacerbated the problem by delaying by months any financial relief for small businesses, furloughed and fired workers and those put out of work by business closings.
But, take heart, U.S. billionaires have raked in another trillion dollars during the pandemic. Money is God. The richest among us are the most godly, the most deserving to Republicans. Let them prey.
I’ll stand with our founding heretics on this one.