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When the COVID-19 statewide stay at home, shelter in place, lockdowns finally end there will be a Post-Pandemic Period. No one knows for sure what this period will be like, but it’s not rocket science to predict a few guarantee-you developments.

1— Economic Upheaval. The longer the lockdowns, or if you prefer, stay at home executive orders, continue the more damage will be done to the American and world economies. Many businesses and other organizations will not survive. More than 30 million are out of work now and this may rise – unemployment is now a major problem. Perhaps one-half of all lost jobs will not return, at least in their earlier form. Some people—the lower sector or poorest or least educated or most challenged—will suffer most, some falling farther into poverty, hunger, and despair. Without significant focused help, similar to the Marshall Plan after WWII, these people will struggle to survive and social-political unrest, including likely violence, will occur.

2—Lawsuits. The US courts will be inundated, which is to say “plagued,” by post-plague litigation, owners who were forced to close “non-essential” businesses for extended periods, suffered serious financial setbacks or even lost their businesses, while other “essential” businesses were illogically and irrationally permitted to continue to make hay while the sun did not shine.

For example, what if you owned a mattress store, were forced to close, yet Sam’s Club continued to sell mattresses? Does this make sense? Is it a level playing field? Is it due process?

What if you owned a medical practice specializing in various “elective, non-essential” surgical procedures, were forced to close, and could not financially maintain your employees or customers during lockdown? Meanwhile, “essential” abortion clinics continued to operate. The list of examples could go on ad infinitum.

3—Political Recrimination. Both American political parties will blame the other, and their respective leaders, for the fact COVID-19 happened, that the US was not prepared or did not respond effectively, that the condition of the economy is due to the other party’s leaders’ missteps, and that whatever happened, their party and leaders need to be put in power via the next election. No surprise here and perhaps goes without saying, but sadly, there will be no Kumbaya unity. 

4—Higher Education OnlineSome colleges and universities, already struggling or uncertain of their mission pre-pandemic, will close their doors. More students than ever before will pursue and gain their degrees online. This won’t replace the value of face-to-face experiences with learned mentors, but such opportunities will diminish. The purpose of higher education will shift, moving still farther from the classic liberal arts model toward preparation for specialized careers in science, technology, information services, and business. Universities will experience an identity crisis; in fact, they already were well into this malaise. What once were places that believed in and sought truth and tested ideas against other ideas in legitimate open debate, have become places that no longer believe in objective truth and wish to silence points of view not deemed politically correct. This is a dangerous trend for open and free democratic society, but it’s happening and a host of faculty members not just youth have already bought into the idea of moral relativism, thus as the Scripture says, “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6). This sounds like fun and games, but it ends in nihilistic despair. 

Post-Pandemic is not a bright future.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

In a jarring, perhaps unwitting Orwellian comment, Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently described abortion as “life sustaining” for women. Think about it. She calls the death of an unborn child life sustaining. 

Remember "War is peace," "Freedom is slavery," "Ignorance is strength"?

George Orwell’s 1984 (pub 1949) introduced us to “Newspeak,” the propaganda language necessary to maintain the ruling Party’s power over the people, a way to limit their freedom of thought. This was primarily accomplished through “doublethink,” a “process of indoctrination whereby the subject is expected to accept as true that which is clearly false, or to simultaneously accept two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct, often in contravention to one's own memories or sense of reality.” Doublethink is happening today.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders for Michigan pertaining to COVID-19 response applies to all elective surgeries except for abortions—which her order specifically excludes.

April 15, 2020, “The Axe Files” podcast with David Axelrod, CNN commentator and former adviser to Barack Obama, Governor Whitmer defended her decision to protect abortion clinics during the Michigan stay-at-home protocol: “We stopped elective surgeries here in Michigan. Some people have tried to say that that type of a procedure is considered the same and that’s ridiculous.”

“A woman’s healthcare, her whole future, her ability to decide if and when she starts a family is not an election, it is a fundamental to her life,” Whitmer said. “It is life sustaining and it’s something that government should not be getting in the middle of.” Meanwhile, several governors declared abortions nonessential and temporarily banned the procedures.

Governor Whitmer’s turn-of-phrase notwithstanding, no human being, at least one that’s intellectually honest, can logically define abortion as “women’s healthcare” that’s “life sustaining.” Any adult human being knows otherwise, recognizes the truth in their soul if not in their rhetoric.

Governor Whitmer says it’s the woman’s “ability to decide if and when she starts a family,” and here she tips her hand. Abortion is not life sustaining; it’s really about power. It’s the power of might makes right. It’s the power of one person over another. It’s the power of life or death. But the unborn child is a life and everyone knows it no matter what they say publicly. 

May 11, 2020, Michigan coronavirus infection incidents to-date are 47,552 with 4,584 deaths. Meanwhile, in Michigan, about 19.3% of pregnancies end in abortion, and a total of 26,716 abortions in year 2017. A similar total is projected for 2020, the point being that five times as many people are being killed by abortion per year in Michigan as have died from C-19. Attempting to protect life via stay-at-home policies while allowing abortion clinics to keep operating makes no reasonable sense.

Jesus said this of Satan: “He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). One of the great lies of our age is that abortion is good.

In COVID-19 response, abortion is “essential.” Abortion, we’re told, is “life sustaining.” But we know this is Orwellian doublethink, an upside-down illogic that denies creation and defies the Creator.  

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.

   

Christians should be “optimistic realists.” Realists because we understand what it is to live in a fallen world. Optimistic because we know the Sovereign God and his purposes.

During a pandemic, we realistically take preventative measures and act as good stewards of others. We optimistically trust God and get on with our life, living in hope. 

We know all things work together for good who know and trust the Lord. We know the end of the story, his-story. Optimistic realism then becomes a key part of our testimony to the world.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.

The coronavirus pandemic has been called “unprecedented,” but it really is not. Pandemics have ravaged humanity periodically since the dawn of time. 

What’s unprecedented is the media-stoked public panic and consequent pandemonium we’ve witnessed worldwide, including in the United States, followed by the equally unprecedented trampling of Americans’ civil liberties by US Governors, Mayors, and even County Commissioners.

No question the coronavirus is virulent. Reasonable and responsible precautions are clearly warranted and should be practiced, especially by individuals with physical conditions placing them at higher risk. 

No one wants disease. No one wants people to suffer. No one wants people to die. So of course, responsible precautions that can reduce the number of exposures, infections, and death should be adopted. But there are no actions and certainly no guarantees against what we’re now being told is “preventable death.”

Unilateral executive branch decisions that have virtually stopped the American economy in its tracks are based upon science, so most officials have claimed, but for some this means the worst-case pandemic modeling, which are already being called into question. For others, the root of their decision-making authority is mysterious, with no scientific evidence provided.

Another problem is the goal posts keep being moved. First, we were told mitigation measures like shelter-in-place were necessary to “flatten the curve.” Second, it was to avoid overloading hospitals. Now it’s “when we have a vaccine” or “No one’s safe until everybody’s safe.” In other words, government executives and bureaucrats can go on “mitigating” our lives indefinitely. 

Meanwhile, one glaring fact seems to be ignored. Ongoing, mandated, statewide “non-essential” business shutdowns and stay-at-home “orders” do not happen in a controlled or sealed environment. While such decisions are presented as if the only issues involved are the virus and public health, yet these decisions are not without what researchers call “extraneous variables,” the uncontrollable circumstances of life—ripple effects, unintended consequences, even collateral damage like “deaths of despair” due to drugs, alcohol, and suicide.

Nor is the decision a binary one like media and officials keep presenting it. No evidence suggests we must adopt strict, stay-at-home orders or succumb to mass death, a fatal zero-sum used to leverage overreaching policies. 

Nor are there truly defensible reasons we must apply a one-size-fits-all approach to responding to the virus, i.e., because a few counties/states should take more aggressive action to stop the spread of the virus than all counties/states must do exactly the same. Despite what public officials and celebrities are now claiming, there is no Stay-at-Home/Wear-a-Mask vs. You-are-Selfish equation or that anyone not wearing a mask in public is “the enemy.” And by the way, don't protest government policies, for this is ipso facto "selfish."

We continue to work with inverted logic. In early May 2020, about 1.3 million C-19 cases have been recorded in the US, with about 78,000 deaths. At the same time, 20+ million have lost jobs since Februarysome economists saying 40% of these jobs won’t come back—which will result in greater personal and societal suffering. 

Many unemployed haven’t seen a nickel of unemployment benefits or federal relief funds. And this says nothing about delayed “non-essential” medical care. All the while, we’re talking about a virus, though virulent, which individuals have only a 1-2% chance of catching and a 98% chance of expected recovery.

If lives matter, what about the 20+ million unemployed and the other tens of millions negatively affected by shutdowns? Why is no one running models predicting future social and economic crises?  

US Governors, Mayors, and the President are politicians—including also the public health “experts” working for government. Experts is in quotes not to demean these individuals, most of whom we hope are well-intentioned, but to note that experts can be found to say anything, interpret the same data differently, and argue vigorously about what’s right, best, or good. Just look at the experts hired by both the defense and the prosecution in any given murder trial. Same here for medical health experts. Which expert is the unbiased expert?  Which pied piper do you follow?

Additionally, back to politicians, it is not too difficult to surmise that they (Democrat and Republican) enjoy their daily press conferences, the degree to which the pandemic puts them (rare in their career) front and center, and the new, assumed political and administrative clout they’ve claimed via “emergency powers” and “executive orders,” in the name of protecting lives. This is not to suggest that politicians are plotting to perpetuate the pandemic (though some are offering conspiracy theories including that some noted public health officials are or will profit from certain kinds of treatments for which they hold patents or shares) but to say the media attention these politicians are garnering day in and day out is difficult for them to decline, much less reduce or stop.

Government executives assert legal justification for their actions based not on the national or state constitutions (because they cannot) but via various dusty legislatively developed disaster laws enacted in view of wartime or potential pandemic developments. Problem here is that these laws envisioned short-term executive action, not open-ended ones, and certainly not ones permitting the executive branch to supersede or suspend civil liberties.

It’s been amazing, disheartening, and downright scary to watch how easily Americans’ civil liberties have been trampled by Governors and Mayors in just a few weeks. Governors and Mayors have engaged in unnecessary overreach and unconstitutional actions in the name of public health. They've done this “to keep people safe” as several have put it, so perhaps their motives are worthy, but they’ve also done it for power and to appear powerful, and they've been able to do it because media-stoked fear in the populace has given them cover.

So innumerable executive orders have listed “essential” and “non-essential” businesses and activities and Governors or Mayors have shared their decisions in breathless, sometimes combative, daily or Friday press conferences. One activity after another of everyday American life has been shut down in the name of safety. Stay Home, Stay Safe, Save LivesSix Feet SavesStay Home, Stay HealthyStay Home, Save Lives; along with similar mantra, is the new prime directive of American life.

Meanwhile, the extraneous variables of life and the inevitable unintended consequences are now happening. The problem is, no government official is omniscient, so no essential/non-essential policy can be written that’s not laced with inequities and eventual collateral damage. 

Churches are deemed non-essential and forced to close, yet marijuana, liquor, and hardware stores, along with abortion clinics and lotto operations, are considered essential and remain open. People can travel across state lines but not within their own state to go to their own properties. They can row a boat but not sail a motor boat. Certain medical procedures are designated non-essential and, ironically, in the midst of a pandemic, hospital staff are being laid off. People are arrested walking alone on a beach, pushing a stroller in a park, paddle boating alone on the ocean. So it goes.

This has always been the problem with planned economies and why the free market should be trusted to let people determine by their buying habits what is non-essential. And by the way, a business deemed non-essential by government is essential to the ones who own it or who work there. Essential or non-essential is in the eye of the beholder.

Job losses and ongoing unemployment with reduction of income can result in a different kind of fear. Poverty and hunger can be exacerbated. In turn there can be social unrest, which almost inevitably creates a context for violence. All of this is predictable. None of this is good.

Civil liberties have been blithely set aside including religious liberty, assembly, and believe it or not, speech. It’s unreal to see American corporations acting like philosopher-kings who know best, censoring disagreement, all the while, along with celebrities, claiming a moral high ground

Things have happened in the United States in the weeks since February that never should have occurred, clear violations of the ideals-most-dear upon which this country was built.

I don't agree with statewide lockdowns, stay-at-home, and shelter-in-place "orders" that may or may not save lives but certainly are destroying jobs, the economy, and people’s dreams and ability to care for themselves. I don’t agree with orders undermining civil liberties and shuttering churches. 

Of course, I agree the virus can be deadly and people need to take special precautions, like we always do with illnesses. I agree social distancing may help and commonsense washing hands and good hygiene helps. I just don’t think government officials should be the ones dictating to us what we must do, or rather what we cannot do.

Unprecedented social change is afoot that bodes more ill than the virus.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.  

 

Remember when Ronald Reagan, 41 then 43, Bill then Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama - Dan Quayle, Al Gore, Dick Cheney dominated the news? I even remember LBJ, Richard Milhous Nixon, and Jimmy Who? Carter. Where are they now?

Political leaders, like the rest of us in the human race, have a shelf-life. They’re only around for a season, then no matter what they’ve done or what their legacy, they fade away.  

We’d all do well to think about this when we’re about to blow a gasket over the current crop of politicos. 

Then there’s “What goes around comes around.” Politicians and their partisans would have an easier go of it if they remembered this each and every time they rejoice at goring the other side’s ox. 

When candidate-then-President Trump makes news for his sordid past with women, or even his unwise, unhealthy comments relating to women (or for that matter about anyone) that he yet drops from time to time, Democrats trumpet this to the moon. They did this as well, going for the jugular, in the nominee-now-Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings. “Believe the woman,” it was said. Former Vice President Joe Biden even said there was no need for a “presumption of innocence” regarding the allegations (with it turned out minimal to no evidence) against Kavanaugh. The point was partisan power politics and innocent until proven guilty be hanged.  

I’m not saying they and the rest of us should not hold the President, or as appropriate the Justice, accountable. I don’t like the President’s ongoing attitude and approach to how he often treats others.  

I’m just warning Democrats, and Republicans, not to gloat, not to assume the moral high ground of self-righteousness that suggests “their side” is without issues.

Then it inevitably flips. Now former Vice President and Democrat Presidential candidate Joe Biden is being accused of a 1993 sexual assault.  Several times prior to this he has also been accused of being “too handsy” with women, and there are a load of pictures to document this. Suddenly, though, it appears “Believe the woman” is out the window, and we’re seeing Democrat party leaders, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, do a dance trying to support Biden. Same is true for the pickle this now creates for the celebrities who advanced the #MeToo movement.

My point, again, is not in any stretch to defend either Donald Trump or Joe Biden. My point is not to advance the idea of “Believe the woman,” which I understand but think should be subject to “innocent until proven guilty” for all men and women. My point is that “What goes around comes around,” which is especially true regarding character issues because both Parties are well stocked with soon-to-be breaking news.

Jesus said, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone…” (John 8:7). So, if Republicans are going to triumphantly celebrate when a Democrat fails, what goes around comes around, and sooner if not later a Republican will fail as Democrats celebrate. But neither Republican or Democrat politicians, nor media figures or celebrities, nor any of the rest of us are without fault. There are none righteous, no not one.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

 

I began reading Francis A. Schaeffer while I was in college in 1972. 

In the next few years after graduating and as a young teacher I eventually read all of his books—The God Who Is There, He Is There and He Is Not SilentEscape from Reason, How Shall We Then Live?, Whatever Happened to the Human Race?, A Christian Manifesto, including finally his last book, The Great Evangelical Disaster, which came out in 1984.  

I remember reading how he and the family rushed to finish this book, working in his hospital room at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, trying to get it ready for publication before what he knew was his imminent death from cancer. Thankfully, they made it. Dr. Schaeffer died May 15, 1984.

By the way, Schaeffer never published a book until he was 56 years old. Then in the next 16 years he published twenty-two books plus films that influenced the entire Christian community worldwide. He had learned the issues. He had learned how to address them in language people could understand. He was a philosopher/theologian and a master communicator.  

Schaeffer always used the term “historic orthodox Christianity” to identify his approach and doctrinal niche within Christendom, until that last book. Here he openly worried about what was happening and would happen to Fundamentalists and Evangelicals, particularly if they succumbed to what he believed the rest of culture had embraced, in his phrase, “personal peace and affluence.” Schaeffer pointed out that people would do about anything, give up almost any liberty and responsibility, even change their worldview if they could just be guaranteed “personal peace and affluence.” It was and is the blessing and pitfall of Western Civilization.

No Christian author has influenced my thinking more than Francis A. Schaeffer. I appreciated not only his ability to convey a Christian worldview but also the positive terms in which he did it. Unlike Schaeffer's contemporaries, notable Christian culture writers Rousas J. Rushdoony or Gary North, Schaeffer rarely used harsh terms to describe those with whom he disagreed. Would that we could have more of that again today.  

But beyond this, Schaeffer helped me to form my Christian worldview, to plumb the depths of my questions, to tackle anything question, really—another thing I appreciated about him: he had utter confidence in his Christian faith, so much so he was not afraid of any subject or issue. He was not afraid somehow, someway he’d find out his faith was a sham. No, he’d worked that out long before and talked about it in True Spirituality. Having grown up in a fine Christian home, yet one where some things weren’t talked about, and having struggled with doubt of my own, I could relate. 

In this article, the author reveals Schaeffer is clearly still prescient and relevant. I can find encouragement and edification yet today when I re-read his work.

I thank Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer, who I was privileged to hear in person just one time not long before he passed, and I owe him a debt of gratitude.

May I be as faithful to my Christian faith and as careful in my worldview formation and applications in my day as Dr. Schaeffer was in his day. 

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.