Outbreak: In the Early Warning Hours
Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) doesn’t have a medical degree. But what he has, he jokes, are two eyes. And while the rest of the city was too spun up over impeachment to see straight, his sights were 7,500 miles away — on a doomsday he worried was coming. Donald Trump, he tried to tell Congress, isn’t the threat. China is.
While the rest of the Senate plowed through hours of absurd testimony, Senator Cotton was convinced they were missing “the biggest and most important story in the world.” The outbreak, he warned, would be catastrophic — a message he left his chair to deliver to the White House personally. By January 22, he was sounding the alarm at HHS. “While others slept,” John McCormack writes, “Tom Cotton was warning anyone who would listen that the coronavirus was coming for America.”
Now, while Democrats whine and complain about the president’s handling of the pandemic, a lot of people — Cotton included — know they’re just as much to blame as anyone. “It came up,” Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) pointed out earlier this week, “while we were tied down in the impeachment trial. And I think it diverted the attention of the government because everything every day was all about impeachment.”
While Congress may have been distracted, thank goodness the president wasn’t. For hours at a time, Senator Cotton told us on “Washington Watch,” he would sit with the White House team and explain what he was seeing in China and the severity of the outbreak. “I discussed that with some of my Senate colleagues [at the time], and they seemed interested. But frankly, they [were focused] on what Adam Schiff was saying [or what] the president’s lawyers were saying. So there’s no doubt the partisan impeachment of the president did distract attention away from the ordinary business of the Senate. And the ordinary business would have been addressing a growing crisis in China… But all of Washington was obsessed.”
So what was it that made Senator Cotton so unnerved about the situation in China before anyone else noticed? It wasn’t classified information, he explained. Or any sort of infection expertise. It was “common sense.” “Just this weekend,” he pointed out, “China shut down all of its movie theaters again in their entire country after having opened them up a week ago.” Does that sound like a country that feels confident it’s conquered the virus? “This is the exact same reason why I knew in January how serious [things] were, because China was saying it had everything under control. [Meanwhile,] they were locking up 100 million people and shutting down schools nationwide. So the propaganda from the Chinese Community Party — contrasted with their actions — tells you that China is, of course, still lying to this day.”
It’s a wake-up call to the planet of just how untrustworthy the Chinese Communist Party is. (A fact that new intelligence has now confirmed.) And yet, Senator Cotton is heartened — as we all are — that the president took action anyway. “I’ve got to say, many of these public health bureaucrats… [and organizations like] the World Health Organization gave very bad advice about travel restrictions… Their concerns seem quaint these days… [But] the president, to his credit made that decision, even though it wasn’t very popular at the time.” Democrats like Joe Biden kicked and screamed, calling it “hysterical xenophobia.” The situation, even the Washington Post admits, would have been a lot worse if liberals had gotten their way.
“Nearly four years of irrational Trump hatred has brought us to the point where any action he takes is subject to criticism…” Henry Olson laments. “Damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t… No European leader stockpiled COVID-19 tests or ordered ventilators and masks in preparation for the worst… The rational [person] sees these facts and notes that it is extraordinarily difficult for politicians to foresee an event unpredicted in modern times. But Trump-phobia, of which impeachment was only the most obvious symptom, prevents too many from seeing the obvious now. This must end if we are to get through the present crisis.”
Originally published here.
Socially Distancing from Everyone but God
If God is trying to get people’s attention, a new Pew poll says He’s succeeding. Turns out, the coronavirus hasn’t just impacted people’s lives, it’s led to a growing outbreak of faith.
Almost everyone agrees that the pandemic is significantly changing how they act. They don’t feel comfortable in crowds, they avoid parties, and they’re trying to stay away from places like restaurants. But it’s what Americans are doing that’s getting a lot of attention. More than half — 55 percent — say they’ve prayed for the virus to end. Now, that shouldn’t surprise us in the faith community, but this new focus on the spiritual is broader than that. People who seldom or never pray (15 percent) are looking to God for answers.
Of course, the president’s coronavirus taskforce made this one of their first priorities — bowing their heads in a public photo that led to a media shellacking. Liberal fanatics like Bernie Sanders and others bashed the administration for trying to “pray the virus away.” But guess what? The majority of Americans agree, especially in times like this, we need to turn to the one true source of help — the Creator himself.
“I’m encouraged by it,” FRC’s David Closson said on "Washington Watch,“ "but I’m also not surprised by it. Because what’s true on a national level is also true on a personal level. In our personal lives, when we go through a crisis — whether it’s the death of a loved one, an unexpected diagnosis, sudden loss of a job, whatever it is — it really causes us to reevaluate what matters in life. And I think that’s what a lot of Americans are doing right now. They have all this time on their hands that they didn’t expect to have as… they’re working from home and quarantining. And I think they have time now to wrestle with some of these big worldview questions that you and I talk about a lot, [like] who is God? What does it mean to have a relationship with him? What’s my purpose in life? What’s going to happen to me when I die? And my hope is that they’ll use this opportunity to read their Bibles like they have never done before [and] pray…”
Maybe, for more and more people, this social distancing is creating the extra time and space people need to draw closer to God. Including, as I shared with Fox News’s Shannon Bream, the church. So many congregations are taking this opportunity to think creatively and strategically about how they can spread the Good News — without spreading the virus along with it! Hear how in our conversation Wednesday night.
Originally published here.
From Sandwiches to Field Hospitals: Meeting the Need
The white tents are all huddled together on the green lawn, a familiar cross logo on their sides. To the people in nearby skyscrapers, looking down at Central Park, the field hospital is another sign of how dramatically things have changed. The place where kids were happily kicking balls and walking dogs a month ago is gone — replaced, like so much of New York City, with triage units.
Two weeks ago, Franklin Graham’s emergency teams for Samaritan’s Purse were busy unloading a plane-full of supplies in Italy. No one ever dreamed that a few short days later, the organization would be on home soil, dealing with the same emergency. “I’ll tell you, I certainly didn’t think about that,” Franklin admitted. Late last week, he’d been in contact with Mount Sinai hospital, who pleaded with the group to set up camp in the park across the block. “So we packed up the trucks,” he told “Washington Watch” listeners. “We started [setting up] on Monday, and today we started receiving our first guests… We’re up and running and we’re going to treat as many people as we can in Jesus’s name.”
Thanks to a small army of volunteer doctors and nurses, the tents have taken some of the workload off of Mount Sinai’s hands and made room for others to be seen and treated. Despite all of the disasters and crises Samaritan’s Purse has encountered, Franklin is still stunned at this “worldwide tsunami of a virus.” “We’ve never seen anything like it in the history of mankind.” And honestly, “I think God is sending a shot across the bow. I think he’s warning us to wake up, to repent of our sins, and turn to faith in His son, Jesus Christ. In the meantime, we’re going to help people who are suffering, because that’s what Jesus would want us to do.”
“I’ve never seen fear like this before in people’s hearts,” Franklin pointed out. “I want people to know that God loves them, that He hasn’t forgotten them.”
And he isn’t the only one. Churches across the country continue to rise to the occasion with unique ideas for showing the community they care. Drenda Keesee of Faith Life Church in New Albany, Ohio was blown over by the response she got when her congregation decided to treat an entire hospital staff to lunch from a nearby restaurant. “The lady [who] was in management there, one of the key leaders, she broke down in tears and began to just sob.” When word got out about what the church had done, another hospital called and asked if they would consider doing the same thing there.
But Faith Life Church didn’t stop there. They took sandwiches to police and fire stations — and as a result, Drenda told me, “We’re seeing God move in ways that I don’t think — without [this happening] — we would see. The body of Christ is activated, and we’re doing things that we’ve not frankly tried before.” They’ve made thousands of phone calls to members in the area too, praying with people, sharing Christ with people, offering to meet a need or two. “These people won’t forget that during the hardship, the pressure, when they didn’t have answers or were hurting, it was the church that reached out to them with the love of God.”
If you or your church is doing something to serve your community let us know about it. Also, if you are working on creative plans for worship on Resurrection Sunday, we would like to know that too. Send your idea to [email protected], and help us encourage more congregations to think outside the box! Also, to partner with Samaritan’s Purse and the life-saving treatment they’re delivering in the coronavirus crisis, visit their website.
Originally published here.
What to Expect When You Can’t Expect Anything…
Why is the virus so impossible to predict? According to Dr. Marc Lipstich, it’s always changing — and scientists have no choice but to change along with it. Hear what this Harvard epidemiologist has to say about the “second wave” and how seriously we should take the projections.
Originally published here.
This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.