“We are seeing the emergence of 50-state anarchy, because of a total vacuum of federal leadership. It’s absurd that thinktanks and Twitter are providing more actionable guidance in the U.S. than the federal government, but that’s where we are.” – Jeremy Konyndyk, COVID Local

Love is powerful. It will make human beings do almost anything. We’re seeing that right now. Some people adore capitalism so much, they’re willing to sell their souls to support it. They’re willing to spend other people lives in service of it.

In the middle of a brutal sprawling pandemic, on a day when a hundred Americans died, Republican lieutenant governor of Texas, Dan Patrick, went on Fox News and said that older Americans would and should be willing to die in order to preserve the economy; that the elderly are the acceptable collateral damage of boosting the Stock Market and getting businesses rolling. He essentially served up grandparents and great aunts and Nanas and neighbors as seed money for Trump’s reelection campaign and as a temporary recession stay.

Not coincidentally, this unthinkably macabre theory came on the same day that Donald Trump began suggesting he will send people back to work next week—even as doctors and scientists have been begging people to take self-isolation guidelines seriously because the virus is approaching uncontainable levels; even as school systems are announcing shutdowns until at least May; even while test kits are still unavailable to hundreds of thousands, even as people are stockpiling toilet paper and rice and guns; even as our health care workers are pushed to the brink of collapse.

It also came on the same day when Republicans are trying to ram a slush-fund trojan horse disguised as economic crisis aid through the Senate; one that pads the already heavily buffered nest eggs of corporations and does little more for day laborers and the working poor, than give them the cheap buss of a one-time token gift.

This is the repugnant sham of pro-life Christianity revealed in all its grotesque ugliness. This is what the Religious Right really thinks about human life: if the price is right, it is all expendable. This is the economy of soul capitalism: their money is worth your life.

Other’s supply can meet their greedy demand.

For all their tearful, showy displays of phony religion, all their impassioned pleas about embryos in the womb being sacred—they will let sentient human beings with grandchildren and spouses and decades of wisdom, die on the altar of their 401Ks.

They’re actually lobbying to send millions of people back into the swirling chaos of an infectious disease even before the peak of its spread—because their identity and the President’s base is so beholden to a group of numbers and a ledger ending up in the black, that it sees no value in sick, elderly, and vulnerable human beings, for whom relaunching business as usual would be a certain death sentence.

Jesus said you cannot serve both God and money.

I never see these pro-life Christian Republicans wearing that verse on their chests or plastering it on their bumpers or brazenly broadcasting on social media, because then they’d be forced to face their fraudulence, they’d be forced to admit their hypocrisy—and they’d have to confess that the teachings of Jesus and the sanctity of life aren’t all that critical when there’s a buck to be made or a bailout to be brokered.

Call me strange, but I don’t think the sick or the elderly are expendable just so Republicans can hold the presidency or so some already wealthy people can become even wealthier.

I don’t see my mother or your grandfather or your next-door neighbor or your co-worker’s spouse as the acceptable collateral damage of temporarily boosting the Dow or nudging Donald Trump’s poll numbers or providing a one-day national emotional placebo that allows a virus to keep killing. I don’t believe older people’s lives are chips for someone else to cash in.

Maybe I’m not a proper, card-carrying Evangelical “pro-life” Christian—just a decent human being who takes the teachings of Jesus seriously; one who values elderly and sick and vulnerable people who are living here right now, who deserve to be here as long as anyone else.

I don’t care about the economy if it costs us humanity. I’ll be okay with that balance in my ledger. I can look myself in the mirror. I can sleep at night.

John Pavlovitz

The original version of this Op Ed was published on johnpavlovitz.com

John Pavlovitz launched an online ministry to help connect people who want community, encouragement, and to grow spiritually. Individuals who want to support his work can sponsor his mission on Patreon, and help the very real pastoral missionary expand its impact in the world.

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