Confronting Recklessness

A Catholic Cardinal in Italy is encouraging people to go to mass and take communion. This, even though the virus remains out of control in his country. He asserts that the cause of COVID-19 is original sin. How will Christians around the world respond?

A US Senator puts his colleagues at risk by going to the Senate gym and lunching with other Senators while awaiting the results of COVID-19 testing. He tested positive. Will voters everywhere call him out?

People are finding that their spouses and friends are being careless and not following guidelines for hygiene and social distancing. They realize other’s behavior is putting their health at risk, so they confront them, only to learn that the other person doesn’t care and will not change. Then it is not carelessness; it is reckless defiance.

These are defining moments. Early reports suggest that differences in safety practices have resulted in an increase in the divorce rate in China. If your spouse isn’t willing to follow best practices to keep you safe, it is understandably a deal breaker. If your partner, spouse, friend, employer or religious leader puts other concerns above your physical safely, it is a defining moment, one that calls for courage and reaching out for support.

We can judge beliefs and attitudes by their fruits. The fruit that has come from the belief in original sin has been poison fruit. It is not a benign doctrine at all. The belief that one knows better than health officials and scientists causes harm. It is arrogant and reckless, like the college students who have been called out for putting partying above the safety of others.

Just as with Christians everywhere, couples in China, and Senate colleagues, when we become aware of careless beliefs, attitudes and behaviors that put people’s health at risk, they are defining moments. How shall we respond?