the The Covid-19 pandemic is a test of God and only God can destroy this virus, said a local preacher, who is also a politician, in a Facebook post earlier this month.
The same leader also frequently advised voters to always choose candidates of their own religion, even if those candidates are bad.
Three errors in such claims can seriously undermine the reforms needed to ward off deadly pathogens.
First: if God is responsible for a disease that has now killed four million people around the world, it cannot be a true God. Would a CEO establish a test that kills 40 employees, or even four?
Second: if only God can destroy this virus, he takes away the responsibility of human beings.
The third: if key positions in a country are occupied by people chosen not for reasons of competence in governance but for reasons of religion, that country will collapse.
The assumption in the minds of preachers is that God has triggered Covid-19 for a lethal purpose and will destroy the virus when its purpose is achieved. It is a guaranteed evasion to make the situation worse for our future.
To set the record straight, this virus emerged from wildlife because most of the planet’s wilderness has disappeared – destroyed by human settlements, commercial agriculture and heavy industrialization.
The fact that the virus spread like wildfire is also the result of human failure.
In our own country, we have mostly ignored the standard rule of an appropriate distance in all places for all individuals except married couples and parents with their own small children.
Weeks before the full lockdown, authorities authorized massive bazaars. Throughout the lockdown, SOP-defying factories continued to operate and hostels remained crowded.
Why should God destroy the virus when humanity is the culprit? The responsibility rests entirely with humans to contain the spread of this virus through diligent health care and to prevent the emergence of new viruses by conserving any remaining wild lands.
But there is a more fundamental question: Does God play politics? “I truly believe that we have God on our side,” Donald Trump announced to a massive crowd of believers during his first campaign rally in January 2020.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, accused of delaying urgent measures to fight the virus, said “only God” can remove him from office.
“I am appointed by God” to lead Samoa, its Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said in response to demands two months ago for her resignation.
In a wide range of democratic nations, politicians present themselves as spokespersons for God who appointed them to rule.
To strengthen their divine ties, political parties return to a time machine to a feudal era where rulers obtained their appointment from God by acclamation through the chief preacher who would of course become the ruler’s mighty adviser. In many cases, the chief preacher himself aspired to be sovereign.
In today’s democracies we also have politician preachers who aspire to the highest office or at least to be the highest man’s confidant.
To secure the votes, threats are issued that voting for a rival makes you an enemy of religion and the punishment is certain in the Hereafter.
It is simply amazing why democratic nations allow threats that subvert the nation itself.
But just as feudal nations collapsed, all modern democratic nations that take this path will collapse.
When you enlist God by your side in a battle for the votes, you must claim a monopoly: that your party or your religion has a monopoly on the ways of salvation. You have cut diversity.
In reality, you have cut your lifeline to God because God is a universalist while you have become a monopoly.
Try this monopoly vs. diversity test: find a bare garden and plant only one type of seed.
Thirty days later, you will see a great diversity of plants in your garden. Nature ignores your desire for monopoly dominance and drops a variety of seeds to the ground.
Malaysians never see the danger of monopoly and thus allow monopoly tendencies to become dominant in religion and politics.
We have already lost more than 6,500 lives to Covid-19 because a monopoly political structure does not bring together all the best brains. It just brings some brains together.
Monopoly control of government decisions without the input of adequate sources representing the full spectrum of society is a recipe for national collapse when a serious threat arises – such as Covid-19 – that exceeds the ability of a few to manage.
Imposing a 14-day full movement control order from June 1 after national daily cases exceeded 5,000 was the first tragic mistake.
Had the government tapped into the brains of viral math experts, it would have been told that in 5,000 cases a full 60-90 day lockdown is needed to bring the number down to 2,500. A full 60-90 lockdown days will destroy the national economy.
Full lockdown should have been imposed when daily cases hit 1,000. Viral calculation tells you you can cut that number to half in 14 days if you shut down all sectors of the economy with just utility companies , health care facilities, SOP certified food stores and SOP certified emergency maintenance / repair teams. .
All other businesses, including so-called essential sector factories, must take a 14-day break.
If another lockdown becomes necessary in the future, it should be imposed when national daily cases reach 1,000.
Don’t wait for rats to invade your city to call in pest control.
It is of fundamental importance that we must end the monopoly game in decision-making and move towards accepting a wide variety of contributions from expert sources. Nature does not tolerate monopoly, and neither do we.
the the writer defends interfaith harmony. Comments: [email protected]