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Two weeks ago, an acquaintance in Texas implied I was tyrannical after I commented on his Facebook post. Another Texas Facebook “friend,” concluded, “You are way out there – your ideological rants are not logical. You pick outlier conditions and make generalizatize [sic], broad assertions.”

The exchange started with the “friend,” commenting the Chinese Communist Party neither cares for Christians nor Uyghur Muslims, which according to him is “where the California Governor goes to get his ideas, regarding the ban of singing in churches.”

I remarked singing is concerning because like coughing and sneezing, it releases potentially infectious droplets into the air. Additionally, singers in choirs stand close together, which further increases the chance of spreading COVID-19.

I shared that 52 members of a choir in Mount Vernon, WA were infected in early March, before there was a ban on gatherings. I concluded, no one is saying “Don’t practice your faith” in California. They’re saying, “Don’t have gatherings where people can potentially get infected, such as large indoor events, singing in enclosed areas, and congregating in crowded bars and restaurants.”

To reinforce the need for vigilance during COVID-19, which he’s consistently jettisoned, I wrote, “In Matthew it says, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ That kinda’ means help ensure your neighbor doesn’t get infected by wearing a mask, social distancing, and not congregating, such as standing 12 inches apart, spitting droplets as you sing, etc. There are many, many cases where people were ill, but their COVID-19 tests were negative; however, the second (or third) test indicated they were indeed positive.

People in a choir, whether in a church, synagogue, or symphony hall have no way to know whether for sure they’re truly free of COVID-19, especially with 1 in 4 people being tested in some states and cities being positive.”

His retort was short, “Newsom is being sued…He will loose [sic]. At this point we all know the risks, it is not the goverment [sic] job to tell us how and when to worship. This is the totalitarian thinking that is espoused by the left that leads to Tyranny CCP [sic] style.”

Before I could write another word, a perceptive friend of his wrote, “Wow, ‘tyranny, the left, etc.’ I’m disappointed that no post by [name] that I’ve seen in recent time tackles learning about another person’s point or engaging in an intellectual conversation. It’s about pushing a unilateral message and if you disagree you are wrong or radical.”

The exchange continued for the rest of the day with the second Texas “friend” who’s also conservative weighing in, saying, “People can practice their faith safely. If people can go to a grocery store, they can worship. In fact, some churches game the stupid mandates by holding ‘food drives’ on Sunday. Tyrants never win.”

Quote by Sophie Scholl before her execution

Of course, I pointed out that passing people in grocery aisles and standing several feet apart while surveying the shelves, with everyone wearing mask, is very different than sitting close together for an hour—possibly without a mask—in church, with people and choir members projecting their voices and singing loudly.

Neither one logically or knowledgeably responded to my remarks. Instead they brought up new evidence of the left’s tyranny, saying, “Their insatiable desire for tyrannical power is well documented,” and “the worst caste systems in human history includes the United States alongside Nazi Germany.”

Reality can’t be suppressed

Last week, the Supreme Court rejected an emergency appeal by a California church that challenged state limits on attendance at worship services, imposed to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The church argued limits on the number of people who can attend their services violates constitutional guarantees of religious freedom.

Reason overruled absurdity. The tyrannical left, who are merely seeking to protect people’s health and institute sane policies to curtail the spread of a highly infectious pandemic, won. For 40 people, the ruling came too late. They were infected with COVID-19, during a recent revival event at a north Alabama Baptist church.

I don’t know how my “friend” on Facebook reacted to the Supreme Court ruling because he defriended me after I kept rebutting his propaganda-infused pontifications, bristling, “I am out.” 

At the time of the defriending, Rich and I were heading to the Bonhoeffer Botanical Gardens, south of Mount Vernon. It’s a lovely place to walk, and the signs in the kiosks throughout the garden not only discuss the various trees, plantings, and butterflies, but elaborate on Christian martyrs, Holocaust death camps, and notable people who died in these camps. Additionally, there is blown glass, displayed in the kiosks, and on platforms in the pond, which is the centerpiece of the garden.

Yes, it’s a strange combination of information, especially in a botanical garden, which is now part of the Pilchuck Learning Center and Pilchuck Glass School.  

The garden was named in honor of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a Lutheran pastor and scholar who was executed on April 9, 1945 at the German Flossenburg concentration camp. Over a decade earlier, Bonhoeffer spoke out against the persecution of Jews and others, targeted by the Nazis, and was associated with a plot to overthrow Hitler.

Also memorialized at the entrance to the garden is Sophia Magdalena Scholl, who was 21 years old when she was beheaded in a Munich prison on February 22, 1943 for distributing anti-war leaflets as a member of the White Rose non-violent resistance group. During her trial, she reflected, “Somebody, after all, had to make a start. What we wrote and said is also believed by many others. They just don’t dare express themselves as we did.”

It’s easy to discard the left as a bunch of tyrannical anti-Americans, detached from reality who refuse to conform to conservative beliefs, and instead are persistent in their discourse, vocal in their dissent, and evident in their protests.  

Like Sophia, we recognize the need to awaken and stir people to action, even if we’re pelted with criticism, labeled as disloyal and uninformed, and marginalized for espousing policies and programs, which are commonplace in most industrialized nations.

There’s no alternative. Passivity doesn’t result in change, and certainly doesn’t right a wrong.