Most of us don’t know what COVID-19 looks like. We recall from Science class that smallpox came with gross and unsightly spots and lesions and that folks with Ebola bled frighteningly, but this appears to be a “quiet” disease. We’re only aware of numbers, and the impressions on TV news of serious masked and gowned medical teams bent over muffled shapes on beds. Could that be why some can call it a “hoax”?

Naturally, in his business, Pastor Bell of Sanford, lately of the now-infamous Millinocket wedding in August and continuing into this school term, was looking for answers beyond the daily news, and more in harmony with his profession, but many of us don’t think he’s been finding the right ones.

Unless I’m much mistaken, I’m pretty sure the God of the New Testament was reasonably clear about his views on causing harm to our fellow man – death being one of the biggies – whenever possible or convenient. Mr. Bell is apparently unfamiliar with the admonition about “obeying the superior authorities” (Romans 13;10, Titus 3:1) as they stand in their relative positions; collecting taxes, keeping law and order, etc., etc., as long as they don’t overstep their bounds into the really serious No-No’s. (Anybody got a copy of the Ten C’s, or have they all been consigned to the trash heaps of history? Didn’t the Jesus Christ from which we get “Christian” combine them into one clear sentence about loving our neighbors?)

This being the case, and according to his Bible, I would guess that eight deaths and over 100 cases of COVID-19 might well qualify. That sounds like way too many to me, and I would think his God might be a tad miffed also.

Nowhere does the Christian Bible say a word about stopping at traffic lights and railway crossings, but we usually do — for obvious reasons. Nor is mask-wearing during plagues mentioned, but I think you can infer from the evidence that minding the regs at such times is not completely unreasonable. Those distancing and quarantining bits were highly relevant for leprosy. (True, we don’t see much of that today, but that particular solution worked very well when they too were flummoxed and acted under their orders at that time.)

With some sort of nationwide “one rule fits all” we wouldn’t be left to toss a coin in every “Middlesex, village and farm.” Protect? Don’t protect? Care? Don’t care?

I think Mr. B. is just enjoying his well-publicized mini-rebellion. He could have tried pole-sitting or goldfish-eating and then he’d be the only one with a stomach ache or a broken leg, not innocent fellow humans – trusting ones at that. The Christian God certainly does appear to be very fond of we not too on-the-ball humans. God knows why.

I’m impressed with his misguided zeal! It can’t be easy chewing over whether you’re building up more points towards your Heaven or your Hell badges. Maybe he could ask someone?

Alice Le Merle lives in Machias.

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