The Corona Pharisees
In the crisis, Christian institutions have failed across the board and betrayed their own values.
by Josef Thoma
[This article published on 9/28/2021 is translated from the German on the Internet, The Corona Pharisees | Rubicon (rubikon.news).]
To serve the Lord and not mammon. Obey God more than people. To assist the afflicted and persecuted, the suffering and marginalized ... All these are - or would actually be - positions of the Christian churches that would derive directly from the Gospels. In the corona crisis, there would have been an opportunity to get serious about it, to drive the merchants out of the temples, to rehearse disobedience out of faith, not to be forbidden to sing and visit the poor and old, to invite the lateral thinkers and others who are humiliated and insulted today in a spirit of reconciliation. As so often in history, however, one sentence remained of all the richness of the Christian worldview, to which one has remained faithful without restriction: "Everyman is subject to the authorities who have power over him." Again, the church superiors do not see the beam in their own eyes. Again, they have missed an opportunity to regain credibility.
I had thought of Corona the least when reading the book "The 10 Greatest Errors of the New Testament" by Gernot Beger. It tries to critically examine the historical truthfulness of the four so-called Gospels, the basis, starting point and end point of what the Protestant and Catholic churches impose on the faithful. I have always been fascinated by the question of the separation of historically attested events, poetry and pious legend in these writings.
What, one asks oneself again and again, has helped this inextricable mixture of what has actually been experienced and what is merely believed, of wisdom, rules of life and religion, to such a meteoric rise, to such worldwide recognition even among those who have nothing whatsoever to do with the church?
What do those who do not believe actually believe? ask the Jesuit Carlo Maria Martini and the writer Umberto Eco in an exchange of letters that has become famous.
If one strips the so-called New Testament, above all the four Gospels, of all that the churches have later made of it, there still remains for the one who does not believe a breathtaking ethical edifice: unusual, because in this inexorability it has never been there before - illogical, because it cannot be explained - unnatural, because it is against all human custom.
It is an ethics in the truest sense not of this world. An ethics, which turns above and below into the smooth opposite:
It elevates the servant above the master, the failure above the successful, the tormented above his tormentor, the stumbled above the virtuous, the loser above the victor, a crucified above his judges. Crucifixion, by the way, was the most disgraceful of all types of execution in Roman times. The corpses, unworthy of burial, were usually left to decompose on the cross and the rest buried later.
It is an ethic that asks no questions, knows no guilt and no revenge: the fact of suffering alone is enough to help.
Since there have always been many more of those down there than those up there, this ethic is the last and probably the most comforting refuge of all those who no longer expect anything from this world, may expect. This explains, at least in part, their triumphant march around the world for over 2,000 years now.
Are these really the supporting pillars of the two great churches, which from the beginning claim to be the commissioners, guardians and custodians of this very ethic? Are the churches, especially in times of Corona, what they say on the inside?
The Corona crisis is teeming with suffering and with losers:
Let's think of the elderly in nursing homes who died during the soulless month-long lockdowns not from Corona but from loneliness and from human neglect because an out-of-control dehumanized bureaucracy let it happen that way.
Let us think of the sick, the demented, the needy, who were forced in their institutions under massive intimidation, sometimes even by force, without the possibility of resistance, to a vaccination that had hardly been researched up to that time, and then, left alone and hushed up, had to bear the consequences, even death.
Let us think of the hundreds of thousands of children who were deprived of their most precious childhood and school years without a plan and without an aim, and who - this is now unchallenged - suffered more damage as a result than from any virus.
Let us think of the tens of thousands of tradesmen who were deprived of their life's work by completely arbitrary measures and orders, and of the thousands of attempts by a government junta fighting for its survival to suppress the truth in science, medicine and the media by means of violence, defamation, character assassination and even the destruction of their existence.
Last but not least also to the courageous who peacefully oppose this wave of violence, half-truths, lies and pure demonstration of power and are mercilessly beaten up by specially assembled police beating squadrons and, as in Berlin, are abused while still lying on the ground.
All this would result in an abundant field of activity for the churches to actually practice and fill with life what they preach from the pulpits. One does not have to be for or against the present corona politics to see, hear and feel the ever-growing extent of suffering and despair in our days.
But those who expect from the great churches, Protestant and Catholic alike, consolation for the losers of this crisis, succor for the beaten down, intercession for the condemned, help for the defenseless, will be bitterly disappointed, as they have been so often in the past. Instead of helping - simply because someone needs help - the churches are once again drawn to the cozy proximity of the powerful so as not to endanger their privileges, and uncritically they adopt their arguments. At best, they prefer - once again - to remain silent in the mistaken belief that those who do nothing can do nothing wrong.
What a mistake: a church that does nothing does everything wrong!
At a time when half the people, such as the 40 million unvaccinated, seek refuge from coercion, violence and humiliation, the churches, self-absorbed rather than oblivious, draped in impeccably fitting official attire, gold-trimmed brocade and Brussels lace, largely meaningless gestures, non-committal phrases and outdated rites instead of active help, of lived mercy, of dispensed consolation and resistance to obvious injustice and opposition to obvious falsehood.
Church in Corona times: fifth column of the rulers - listed ruins of their own claim, deprived of their supporting pillars.
Why, many ask, why are the priests more and more rare, the churches more and more empty, the church people more and more indifferent? That's why!
Josef Thoma, born in 1951, is an ear, nose and throat specialist based in Berlin who, in addition to his work in clinics and practices, has been publishing on specialist, professional and general political topics for decades. His recent posts on the Corona Crisis issue can be seen and heard on various public social media portals as well as on his website at www.dr-thma-klartext.de.