September 22, 2021


We take pride in our travel

Whitmire: Faith, foolishness and COVID ‘Final Destination’ Syndrome

6 min read

This is an viewpoint column.

I was 10 years outdated when my mom died. She was killed in a single-auto incident on a lonely road driving household from a operate excursion in Montgomery. Someone close by read the wreck but no just one noticed the accident. Nobody could reveal how it occurred.

But I’ve generally acknowledged why she died.

I have created numerous periods about the classes she still left with me and how that tragedy has coloured numerous things in my existence — from how I appear at existence and loss of life to the way I by no means move up a opportunity to notify my wife or my kids that I love them.

There’s just one point, while, I’ve retained to myself — the why.

In the times and years just after the accident, there were lots of nicely-that means men and women who made available unsolicited explanations, mainly a ton of God-speak.

It was the Lord’s plan.

He essential her a lot more than we did.

We all have a day and an hour.

And so forth.

When I replicate on it now, I know all all those benign aphorisms are terrible points to say to any child in grief. Who wishes to hear that God killed your mother? Is that actually supposed to support?

But I never ever resented people people, very first since I understood they were nicely-intentioned. And 2nd, I by now realized why my mother died in that wreck.

She refused to have on her seatbelt.

Mind you, she designed me wear mine. I was born a minor early for boosters in back seats, but she constantly created me strap in. When I fussed and questioned why she didn’t use hers, she would normally arrive up with an excuse, ordinarily having to do with her height. From time to time she’d argue that, for a five-foot human being like her, seatbelts made driving additional hazardous. But all those excuses had been just that — excuses.

The simplest rationalization is usually the accurate one. And this a person doesn’t complicate items with newbie theology or deciphering the divine options of a mysterious deity.

She died mainly because she didn’t don her seatbelt. That is it.

I did not suppress that bit of know-how but I never stated it out loud, both, until eventually just lately.

My son was fussing about the straps of his vehicle seat when I read the buckle unhitch powering me in targeted traffic. And I let unfastened what I hadn’t had the temerity to say in 34 yrs. He got tranquil. The concept acquired across.

I enjoy my mom and I miss her. Not a day goes by I never believe about her, particularly now that I have kids of my individual. But I do blame her, just a little. I would like she’d lived to engage in with her grandkids.

Even so, learning from really hard lessons is how you claw back life from tragedy. It’s how you maintain heading. It is how you improve outdated enough to perform with your grandkids.

But I see a ton of folks driving all over ideal now with their seatbelts unfastened, in a way of speaking.

Of course, I’m talking about vaccines. And COVID.

Also, a large amount of messy spiritual speak which is getting in the way of basic truth.

Considering that the outset of the pandemic, I’ve read tales littered with the exact same outdated traces from a long time back. At times it is a grief-stricken attempt to clarify why a beloved a single died. Other times, it’s an justification-ridden rationalization for needless risk-having.

We all have to go some time.

Every person has a day and an hour.

When it’s your time, there’s nothing at all you can do about it.

Get in touch with it “Final Destination” Syndrome. Like the premise of that 2000 horror flick, there is a pernicious belief that there’s no dishonest death when it’s your time. If you don’t die of COVID, it could be a heart assault, or if not a coronary heart assault then a freak accident. It’s a defeatest belief masquerading as religion. It pretends to be a form of religious surrender but really, it’s Russian Roulette. It’s recklessness dressing up as faith.

And there are also a lot of pastors unwilling to refute it. Some are spreading it. And polling has persistently demonstrated white Evangelicals among the most vaccine-hesitant, if not downright stubborn.

Previously this month, a reporter from Politico requested practically a dozen Southern pastors what they ended up telling their congregations about the COVID vaccines. Numerous reported, very little.

“If I set forth hard work to push it, I’d be squandering my breath,” Nathan White, the pastor of Liberty Baptist Church in Virginia stated. The problem experienced come to be much too polarizing, he argued.

That has not stopped other individuals from pulling in the opposite path. This 7 days a Nashville-area pastor, Greg Locke, referred to as COVID a hoax and advised his congregation that, if they wore masks to church, he’d ask them to go away.

“Don’t feel this delta variant nonsense,” he said. “Stop it!”

Other folks have, regrettably, taught COVID’s classes by means of tragic illustrations, as Bishop Gerald Glenn did when he inspired his congregation last calendar year to overlook Virginia’s warnings about mingling in large crowds.

“I firmly believe that that God is larger sized than this dreaded virus,” he informed them.

And then he died from it.

None of this is to bash religion. Far from it.

Relatively, it is time to give up blaming God for our faults.

Religion and drugs need not be incompatible issues. In truth, the Bible by itself admonishes those people who would tempt the Lord, demanding miracles of God when there are useful answers correct in entrance of us. It is Alright to pray and consider the shot.

And if pastors are worried of polarizing issues, do they not preach about heaven and hell? What’s far more polarizing than death?

There is a joke I have witnessed going all-around all over again currently, but I was a boy when I to start with heard it from the pulpit in my church.

A flood strikes a little Southern town, where an old pastor sits rocking on his porch when the neighbors pull up with an aluminum fishing boat. They plead for the preacher to get in, but he insists he’ll be wonderful.

“The Lord will acquire treatment of me,” he tells them.

The drinking water rises. The preacher is on his roof when the sheriff’s division comes with a rescue boat. But all over again he declines.

“The Lord will take treatment of me,” he tells them.

The drinking water rises. The preacher is standing on his chimney when the Nationwide Guard flies overhead in a helicopter. They drop a rope ladder to him. But he waves them away.

“The Lord will consider care of me,” he shouts right before they fly on.

An hour later the preacher comes at the Pearly Gates, wherever St. Peter asks what the heck he’s carrying out there. The preacher is confused, also. He says he believed the Lord would get treatment of him.

“Well, we sent two rowboats and a helicopter,” St. Peter states. “What more did you expect?”

The Lord is effective in mysterious methods, except when He does not.

Trust in God. But use your seatbelt.

And get that shot.

Kyle Whitmire is the condition political columnist for the Alabama Media Group, 2020 winner of the Walker Stone Award, winner of the 2021 SPJ award for belief crafting, and 2021 winner of the Molly Ivins prize for political commentary.

You can observe his perform on his Facebook site, The War on Dumb. And on Twitter. And on Instagram.

Far more columns by Kyle Whitmire

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