Monday, July 13 Judge Dickson denied the TECSC Motion for Reconsideration of his ruling. They promptly filed their Notice of Appeal and a further motion requesting the S.C. Supreme Court to take the appeal directly.
The Diocese continues to give thanks for the clarity of Judge Dickson’s ruling and forward progress towards the conclusion of this litigation.
Category : Ethics / Moral Theology
Brand new TEC in SC Diocese’s motion for reconsideration in Lawsuit with Historic Anglican Diocese of South Carolina is denied
The U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed in two 7-2 rulings Wednesday (July 8) that churches and religious organizations are free to make employment and health insurance decisions based on their convictions.
In one ruling, the justices reiterated their support for a “ministerial exception” that enables churches and other religious bodies to hire and fire based on their beliefs. They had ruled unanimously in 2012 in favor of such an exception. In consolidated cases, two Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles chose not to renew contracts for two fifth-grade teachers based on what they said was poor performance.
In its other opinion, the high court upheld federal rules that protect the rights of employers with religious or moral objections to the Obama-era, abortion/contraception mandate. The opinion came after a seven-year legal battle by the Little Sisters of the Poor, a Catholic order that serves the poverty-stricken elderly, to gain an exemption from the requirement.
The Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) commended both decisions as victories for religious freedom.
“If a religious organization cannot recruit leaders who agree with the beliefs and practices of those organizations, then there can be no true religious freedom. The Court recognized that today,” ERLC President Russell Moore said in a written statement of the “ministerial exception” opinion.
High court delivers 2 religious liberty wins https://t.co/InfxcbnRkU
— Tom Roten™ (@TomRoten) July 9, 2020
Marking the end of the first half of London Climate Action Week, representatives from UK faith groups have signed an open letter to the UK Government urging it to ensure that its economic recovery strategy is centred on the urgent need to reduce the impact of climate change.
In the letter, the signatories, some of whom are members of the ‘Faith for the Climate’ network, also commit to the goals of the Laudato Si encyclical – an initiative of Pope Francis – to advocate for and model positive initiatives to continue to tackle the Climate Emergency.
The open letter [begins]:
COVID-19 has unexpectedly taught us a great deal. Amidst the fear and the grief for loved ones lost, many of us have found consolation in the dramatic reduction of pollution and the restoration of nature. Renewed delight in and contact with the natural world has the capacity to reduce our mental stress and nourish us spiritually.
We have rediscovered our sense of how interconnected the world is. The very health and future of humanity depends on our ability to act together not only with respect to pandemics but also in protecting our global eco-system.
At the same time, less travel and consumption and more kindness and neighbourliness have helped us appreciate what society can really mean.
We have also seen yet again that in times of crisis, injustice becomes more obvious, and that it is the poor and vulnerable who suffer most….
Marking the end of London Climate Action Week @london_climate on Friday UK faith leaders called on the Government to prioritise the environment, ensuring that the economic recovery is centred on the urgent need to reduce the impact of climate change.https://t.co/IH6AQyPha7
— Church of England Environment Programme (@CofEEnvironment) July 6, 2020
“Public health, when it does its work best, it’s not telling people what to do. It’s telling people how to keep themselves and their loved ones safe so people can make their decisions about how to do that,” Bibbins-Domingo said.
Lockdown fatigue is not a new phenomenon. During the 1918 flu pandemic, San Franciscans threw their masks into the air when they thought the pandemic was over, not realizing a new deadly wave of flu would hit within weeks, said Chin-Hong at UC San Francisco.
“People are afraid that history is going to repeat itself,” he said.
California’s exuberant optimism that the worst of the pandemic was behind us was fueled by the state’s early success. While many people in California might not know someone who died, Chin-Hong said, in New York, it seemingly felt like everyone knew someone who died.
The public increasingly ignored the rules and demanded their summer on the sand, swimming, sunbathing and just hanging out. Unable to stop the crowds, county officials simply gave up.https://t.co/K7Yiigfscp
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) July 3, 2020
(Local Paper) As holiday weekend approaches, Charleston-area restaurant workers fear what it might bring
By now, just about everyone in South Carolina is familiar with the graph charting the state’s new coronavirus cases. The trend line looks like a child’s drawing of a mountain cliff or a letter ‘L’ in repose, with a plateau followed by a sharp vertical flourish.
It also perfectly mirrors the fear and anxiety that food-and-beverage employees across downtown Charleston say they experience at work.
With positive tests for the coronavirus progressively thinning out local restaurant staffs, workers say they have less time to keep up with new sanitation protocols and more reason to worry about contracting the potentially deadly virus.
In interviews conducted over the past week by The Post and Courier, multiple employees at half a dozen leading Charleston restaurants have shared a remarkably similar story: They feel abandoned by public officials who championed reopening without restriction and endangered by patrons who mock their masks and flout social distancing rules.
Many front-of-house workers are so tired and stressed that they wish restaurants would revert to offering takeout exclusively, even if it would cost them tips.
“The restaurant industry feels unsafe,” says a former Leon’s Oyster Shop server who last month quit after learning co-workers who were exposed to the virus at a dinner party were still on the schedule.
“The restaurant industry feels unsafe. A lot of people want to get out of there, but it’s so hard to find another job,” a former Leon’s Oyster Shop server said.https://t.co/gU3ORr6ZBT
— The Post and Courier (@postandcourier) July 2, 2020
Our starting point must be to recognise the fact that we all find ourselves between two opposing power systems: the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of this World. It’s a division clearly expressed by Jesus himself (Matthew 22:15–22). In summary, the Kingdom of this World represents those systems, structures and organisations of politics, economics and power that owe no allegiance to God. They set their own agenda and goals and seek to gain them with the aid of political persuasion, finance, the media and even, if necessary, with force.
The Kingdom of the World is proud: delighting in its authority, and displaying it in its buildings, mass media and grand events. Sometimes the Kingdom of this World appears in apparently competing forms, such as left- or right-wing politics, yet, deep down, there is but a single system: a Kingdom of the World that seeks to control all in every way.
The Kingdom of God is, in contrast, very different. It is a countercultural movement across all nations made up of those men and women whose allegiance is not to any power system but to Jesus Christ who has redeemed them. Sometimes, the Kingdom of this World may openly and visibly oppose God’s Kingdom through abuse and persecution. Perhaps more frequently – and more dangerously – it may disguise itself in the language of God’s kingdom and, by doing so, seduce God’s followers into supporting it.
The responsibility of those in the Kingdom of God has always been to resist the direct and indirect attacks of the Kingdom of this World. It’s a long, tough battle and it isn’t over yet. That final victory (guaranteed by the victory of the cross) will only occur at the coming of Christ when, as Revelation 11:15 (NIV) tells us, the ‘Kingdoms of the World’ will become ‘the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah’.
Given this idea of two warring kingdoms, let me lay down three foundation stones for how we are to think about how we live in the world, whether tumultuous or not.
New coronavirus cases in the U.S. rose above 50,000, a single-day record, as some states and businesses reversed course on reopenings and hospitals were hit by a surge of patients.
The U.S. accounts for about a quarter of more than 10.6 million coronavirus cases world-wide, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The nation’s death toll climbed above 128,000.
Cases and hospitalizations are rising sharply in a number of areas.
In Texas, 6,533 Covid-19 patients were in hospitals, according to the state’s Department of Health. For most of April and May that number hovered between 1,100 and 1,800. It broke the 2,000 mark on June 8.
New coronavirus cases in the U.S. rose above 50,000, a single-day record, with cases and hospitalizations rising sharply in a number of areas https://t.co/vxOeu4T6u6
— Frank Zorrilla (@ZorTrades) July 2, 2020
(Church Times) Government guidance for services: count them in, keep it short, and beware ‘consumables’
From 4 July, incumbents will be responsible for determining how many people can safely attend public worship in their churches, based on a risk assessment of the capacity and ventilation of the building, the Government has said.
The guidance, published on Monday and effective from 4 July, was drawn up by the Places of Worship Taskforce, which includes faith leaders and government ministers. It has legal status under the Health and Safety and Equality Acts.
No maximum number is specified for people attending for general worship, which includes led prayers, devotions, or meditations. The guidance confirms, however, that a maximum of 30 people are permitted to attend weddings, funerals, and other “life-cycle” services, such as baptisms, regardless of the size of the building, unless this takes place during routine communal worship (News, 26 June).
It states: “Limits for communal worship should be decided locally on the basis of the capacity of the place of worship following a risk assessment. The number of people permitted to enter the place of worship at any one time should be limited, so that a safe distance of at least two metres, or one metre with risk mitigation (where two metres is not viable) between households.”
LATEST. From 4 July, incumbents will be responsible for determining how many people can safely attend public worship in their churches, based on a risk assessment of the capacity and ventilation of the building, the Government has said https://t.co/YYCChpv2mf
— Church Times (@ChurchTimes) June 29, 2020
The United States is once again at risk of outstripping its COVID-19 testing capacity, an ominous development that would deny the country a crucial tool to understand its pandemic in real time.
The American testing supply chain is stretched to the limit, and the ongoing outbreak in the South and West could overwhelm it, according to epidemiologists and testing-company executives. While the country’s laboratories have added tremendous capacity in the past few months—the U.S. now tests about 550,000 people each day, a fivefold increase from early April—demand for viral tests is again outpacing supply.
If demand continues to accelerate and shortages are not resolved, then turnaround times for test results will rise, tests will effectively be rationed, and the number of infections that are never counted in official statistics will grow. Any plan to contain the virus will depend on fast and accurate testing, which can identify newly infectious people before they set off new outbreaks. Without it, the U.S. is in the dark.
The U.S. is again at risk of outstripping its COVID-19 testing capacity, and delays at testing providers are piling up, @alexismadrigal and @yayitsrob report. “The testing supply chain wasn’t meant for this kind of onslaught of volume,” an expert says. https://t.co/wPQ8qgQo4F
— The Atlantic (@TheAtlantic) July 1, 2020
First came the freezes.
Governors last month started to “press pause” on the next phases of their reopenings as Covid-19 cases picked back up. Now, in certain hot spots, they are starting to roll back some of the allowances they’d granted: no more elective medical procedures in some Texas counties. Bars, only reopened for a short time, are shuttered again in parts of California. And on Monday, Arizona’s governor ordered a new wave of gym, bar, and movie theater closures for at least the next month.
These are measured retreats — a far cry from the lockdowns that much of the country burrowed into starting in March. But leaders are desperately hoping that the incremental approach can make a dent in the spread of the virus at a time when another round of lockdowns — and their accompanying disruptions to education, the economy, and the public psyche — seems beyond unpalatable, both politically and socially.
They come as Texas, Florida, and other states are seeing record highs in daily coronavirus infections and intensive care units are teetering toward capacity, further proof that the coronavirus will run loose when given the chance. They also raise a serious question: whether such half-measures are sufficiently intensive — and were put in place in time — to have the necessary impact.
“This is a good step to getting a handle on the epidemic,” said Ana Bento, a disease ecologist at Indiana University. “It still might not be enough.”
— Steven DeMaio (@stevedemaio) July 1, 2020
(Moultrie News) Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, mandates face masks at select establishments, effective July 1
Mount Pleasant has joined neighboring municipalities in mandating that face masks be worn in certain public spaces, effective at noon on Wednesday. Just three days prior to the celebration of Independence Day.
On Monday afternoon, Mount Pleasant Town Council met for an emergency special council meeting that would consider requiring face covering in “certain circumstances.” Council voted in favor 6-2, two-thirds majority, to pass Ordinance 20037.
Councilmember Brenda Corley was not present for the vote. Council explained the reasoning for Corley’s absence was due to showing COVID-19 symptoms.
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) June 29, 2020
Statement from Bishop Stephen
“Ten years ago I was approached about a safeguarding allegation regarding a priest. I was able to see the survivor and begin to hear what was a difficult and harrowing story. However, I was moving between roles at the time and although I did speak with colleagues about the actions that needed to be taken, I failed to ensure that these were properly documented and followed through in the way I would expect. Now that I have discovered that this incident was not followed up as it should have been, I am deeply distressed and extremely sorry. Because this has recently come to light, I am both thankful that it is being addressed properly now, but also mindful that in my new position as Archbishop of York it is absolutely essential that I am open and transparent about the need for the whole of our church to be scrupulously honest with each other about any failings in safeguarding.
“In the past, the Church of England has been too quick to protect its own reputation and slow to admit its failings. This must change. Those in public office should be subject to scrutiny. Good safeguarding is an absolute priority for the Church of England and for me personally.
“In the diocese of Chelmsford where I have served for the past 10 years, I have been helped by survivors I have worked with as well as a first rate safeguarding team to have a much greater understanding of why safeguarding itself is so important and how we must be prepared to confront our failings and learn from them. Therefore, although I am embarrassed that I did not follow this up as scrupulously as I should have done 10 years ago, I want to go on the record about what has happened in order to demonstrate a new spirit of openness and transparency over how we ensure that the church is as safe as it can be, that survivors are listened to and dealt with honestly, and perpetrators brought to justice.”
It is here that Farrow’s book is so singularly helpful. The essay “Autonomy: Sic transit anima ad infernum” is worth the price of the book all by itself. In it he traces with both remarkable depth and enviable conciseness the rise of the modern self: the autonomous self-creator to whom reality must bend or, better still, for whom reality is merely what works best for the individual concerned. With roots in Rousseau and Nietzsche, this self lies behind Anthony Kennedy’s oft-cited fantasy of selfhood in Casey and lurks in the background of all the subsequent Supreme Court rulings on matters involving sexuality, up to and including Bostock. Indeed, Farrow makes the necessary point:
The autonomous will really has no choice but to attack the body as well as the mind. For the body is the most obvious locus of the given, the most stubborn impediment to the power claimed by the will.
Transgenderism is the logical outcome of all this. In fact, the annihilation of gender as a stable category tout court is the logical outcome—a point that seems to have eluded Justice Gorsuch, who apparently wants to keep his binary categories while not realizing the metaphysical depths of the revolution he has now placed into law.
The shock and awe surrounding the Bostock ruling perhaps indicates that the old task of apologetics is now being oddly reversed. The pressing pastoral need of the hour for the church is not to explain the faith to the world but rather first to explain the world to the faithful. If Richard Rorty’s famous quip—the truth is what your contemporaries let you get away with saying—works as a descriptive rather than prescriptive principle in terms of cultural dynamics, in terms of which arguments work and which do not, then it behooves us to ask in what kind of culture the stated logic of the Bostock decision has come to make sense. If Christians do not understand the wider context, then they will continue to underestimate the true depth of the cultural problem, be perplexed at the speed of apparent change, and be disturbed by new developments. And that will make it very hard to navigate this world as both good citizens and good stewards of the gospel.
It behooves us to ask in what kind of culture the stated logic of the “Bostock” decision has come to make sense.https://t.co/WEDQUHVIaq
— First Things (@firstthingsmag) June 28, 2020
If you thought the economic toll wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic was only going to be horrendous, you may have been overly optimistic. A combination of voluntary behavior changes and government-imposed lockdowns that choked-off social and economic activity are now projected to have even worse consequences than economists initially feared. Life may start returning to normal sometime next year, but there will be lasting pain even if we avoid another wave of the virus.
“Global output is projected to decline by 4.9 percent in 2020, 1.9 percentage points below our April forecast, followed by a partial recovery, with growth at 5.4 percent in 2021,” Gita Gopinath, Director of the Research Department at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), wrote this week.
As depressing as the IMF’s numbers are, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is actually more pessimistic. The OECD predicts that, if we’re hit by only one wave of COVID-19, global economic activity will fall by 6 percent this year, with five years of income growth lost. A second wave of infections would drive world economic output down by 7.6 percent in 2020.
“A combination of voluntary behavior changes and government-imposed lockdowns that choked-off social and economic activity are now projected to have even worse consequences than economists initially feared.”https://t.co/fpUfOARllh
— reason (@reason) June 27, 2020
Dr. Camilla Rothe was about to leave for dinner when the government laboratory called with the surprising test result. Positive. It was Jan. 27. She had just discovered Germany’s first case of the new coronavirus.
But the diagnosis made no sense. Her patient, a businessman from a nearby auto parts company, could have been infected by only one person: a colleague visiting from China. And that colleague should not have been contagious.
The visitor had seemed perfectly healthy during her stay in Germany. No coughing or sneezing, no signs of fatigue or fever during two days of long meetings. She told colleagues that she had started feeling ill after the flight back to China. Days later, she tested positive for the coronavirus….
…if the experts were wrong, if the virus could spread from seemingly healthy carriers or people who had not yet developed symptoms, the ramifications were potentially catastrophic. Public-awareness campaigns, airport screening and stay-home-if-you’re sick policies might not stop it. More aggressive measures might be required — ordering healthy people to wear masks, for instance, or restricting international travel.
Dr. Rothe and her colleagues were among the first to warn the world. But even as evidence accumulated from other scientists, leading health officials expressed unwavering confidence that symptomless spreading was not important.
In the days and weeks to come, politicians, public health officials and rival academics disparaged or ignored the Munich team.
As health officials and political leaders downplayed or denied the risk of people with no symptoms spreading the coronavirus in February, tens of thousands of seemingly healthy people became an army of silent Covid-19 carriers.https://t.co/8rQu0XaOhY
— The New York Times (@nytimes) June 28, 2020
Redfield suggested many of the infections now being diagnosed would have been missed earlier in the pandemic, when testing was less common.
“I’m asking people to recognize that we’re in a different situation today than we were in March, in April, where the virus was being disproportionately recognized in older individuals with significant comorbidities and was causing significant hospitalizations and deaths,” he said.
“Today we’re seeing more virus. It’s in younger individuals. Fewer of those individuals are requiring the hospitalizations and having a fatal outcome. But that is not to minimize it.”
But Redfield went on to note that descriptions of the state of the pandemic in the country can be misleading, with maps that show where transmission is high suggesting much of the nation is experiencing high levels of spread. In reality, he said, about 110 or 120 counties in the country currently have significant transmission. There are more than 3,100 counties in the United States.
The new guidance breaks down medical conditions that can influence disease severity into those for which there is strong evidence, and those for which the evidence is not as strong, classifying the latter as conditions that might increase the risk of severe illness.
BREAKING: CDC broadens guidance on Americans facing risk of severe Covid-19 https://t.co/G9fUw2glQd
— STAT (@statnews) June 25, 2020
[Millenial]…’values hold that the self is an autonomous being, the self’s desires are fundamentally good, and societal and sexual repression as not just undesirable but actively evil. These millennials, which in my new book I called “Remixed Millennials,” are at once attracted to moral and theological certainty — accounts of the human condition that claim totalizing truth or demand difficult adherence because the challenge is ultimately rewarding — and repulsed by traditions that set hard limits on personal, and particularly sexual or romantic, desire.
That, for better or for worse, is where corporations come in. Increasingly, companies have recognized that there is a gap in the needs of today’s Remixed: institutions, activities, philosophies and rituals that manage to be challenging and totalizing while also preserving millennials’ need for personal freedom. It’s the dot-com bubble for spirituality, a free marketplace of innovation and religious disruption. No sooner does something become a viral movement than an ingenious startup finds a way to re-create it at a more profitable price point. (Columbia Business School is currently hosting an incubator for “spiritual entrepreneurs,” offering a certificate in spiritual entrepreneurship for those who complete a 20-week course.)
Consumer-capitalist culture offers us not merely necessities but identities. Meaning, purpose, community and ritual can all — separately or together — be purchased on Amazon Prime.
As journalist Amanda Hess wrote in The New York Times, “Shopping, decorating, grooming and sculpting are now jumping with meaning. And a purchase need not have any explicit social byproduct — the materials eco-friendly, or the proceeds donated to charity — to be weighted with significance. Pampering itself has taken on a spiritual urgency.”’
China is testing restaurant workers and delivery drivers block by block. South Korea tells people to carry two types of masks for differing risky social situations. Germany requires communities to crack down when the number of infections hits certain thresholds. Britain will target local outbreaks in a strategy that Prime Minister Boris Johnson calls “Whac-A-Mole.”
Around the world, governments that had appeared to tame the coronavirus are adjusting to the reality that the disease is here to stay. But in a shift away from damaging nationwide lockdowns, they are looking for targeted ways to find and stop outbreaks before they become third or fourth waves.
While the details differ, the strategies call for giving governments flexibility to tighten or ease as needed. They require some mix of intensive testing and monitoring, lightning-fast response times by the authorities, tight border management and constant reminders to their citizens of the dangers of frequent human contact.
The strategies often force central governments and local officials to share data and work closely together, overcoming incompatible computer systems, turf battles and other longstanding bureaucratic rivalries. Already, in Britain, some local officials say their efforts are not coordinated enough.
How the World Is Learning to Live With a Deadly Pandemic.https://t.co/UvS4paxTLr
— Antonio Navalón (@antonio_navalon) June 24, 2020
(The State) Columbia, South Carolina, now requires you to wear a mask to combat coronavirus. Here are the details
[Linda Bell]….told council members she was “alarmed and disheartened” at the number of people not wearing masks, particularly young adults.
While most teenagers and young adults are most resistant to becoming seriously ill from the virus, “you’re imposing that risk . . . on others.”
She added: “These measures from the local jurisdictions are badly needed.”
Under the new emergency ordinance, masks would be required for anyone:
▪ Inside a public building or waiting to enter a public building
▪ Interacting with someone within six feet in an outdoor space
▪ Engaged in business in a private space
▪ Using public or private transportation
▪ Walking in public where maintaining a six-foot distance from others may not be possible.
Columbia now requires you to wear a mask to combat coronavirus. Here are the details https://t.co/hOxML4r56N
— Teri Browne (@TeriBrowne) June 23, 2020
A few years ago, the College of Bishops was able to hear Dr. Albert Thompson from the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic speak to us about the history of our Anglican heritage and the failures of racism, the many injustices, and some of the progress we have made over the years. Last year in Plano at our 10th year Anniversary, we heard the Rev. Anthony Thompson from the REC Diocese of the Southeast. His precious wife was shot, along with eight other people, while having a Bible Study at Mother Emmanuel Church in Charleston by a hate-filled man seething with racism. Anthony told us about the power of the Gospel of Jesus and how it has enabled him to forgive the man who murdered his wife. In spite of this evil, we saw in the city of Charleston brothers and sisters like Anthony responding with the love of Jesus and the incredible power of forgiveness.
We need to search our hearts and make sure there is no offensive way in us as the Anglican Church in North America. All the words about spiritual renewal and revival in the Bible are not directed to the non-Christian culture, but to the people of God. We need to look within ourselves. And it starts with me. What the Lord has shown me about me in the past few weeks is this–I have failed to understand the incredible burden and pain that many of my black brothers and sisters live with every day. I have not wept with those who weep. And I have not understood the depth of the effect of racism and injustice. I have not understood the burden of living under racist acts, slurs, and systems they have to endure every day, nor have I understood the fear with which they constantly live for themselves and their families. It is not enough not to be a racist; we must not be blind to the sin of racism and ignore it in our midst.
Channing Austin Brown writes in I’m Still Here about a white student in a college class, who after visiting a museum on lynchings, said this to her fellow classmates: “I don’t know what to do with what I’ve learned,” she said. “I can’t fix your pain, and I can’t take it away, but I can see it. And I can work for the rest of my life to make sure your children don’t have to experience the pain of racism.” He writes, “And then she said nine words that I’ve never forgotten: ‘Doing nothing is no longer an option for me.’”
— American Anglican (@AnglicanCouncil) June 24, 2020
As much as Samim Abedi loved his job as part of the team that managed Google’s corporate investment portfolio, he couldn’t always square the work with his Muslim faith. He worried that some of the companies whose securities he traded had ties to alcohol or tobacco or gambling.
So he quit to join Wahed Invest, which in July 2019 launched the first exchange-traded fund in the U.S. that’s compliant with Sharia, Islam’s religious law. It’s one of eight ETFs introduced in the U.S. last year that incorporate faith-based principles, raising the total to 11. More are coming: In June, money manager Global X filed to launch a bond fund aligned to Catholic values. “We’re all trying to solve the same question,” says Abedi, the global head of portfolio management for Wahed. “How do we invest our wealth in ways that align with our ethics?”
Religion-based funds can differ on what they consider ethical. A stock fund that caters to Catholics shuns companies that sell weapons or exploit child labor. Several ETFs for Muslims steer clear of anything related to interest-based finance, which the religion frowns upon. Those funds invest in a Sharia-compliant alternative to bonds called sukuk, which provide regular payments that are considered profit-sharing rather than interest.
The Archbishop of Canterbury together with the Bishops of Salisbury, Oxford, Truro, Dover, Woolwich, Sherborne, Loughborough, Kingston, Reading and Ramsbury, and former Archbishop Rowan Williams have joined a list of eight archbishops and 38 bishops worldwide in signing an open letter stating that black lives are predominantly affected by the effects of climate change, as well as police brutality and the spread of COVID-19.
Published by the Anglican Communion’s Environmental Network, the letter reads (extract):
The world is slow to respond to climate change, hanging on to an increasingly precarious and unjust economic system. It is predominantly Black lives that are being impacted by drought, flooding, storms and sea level rise. The delayed global response to climate injustice gives the impression that #blacklivesdontmatter. Without urgent action Black lives will continue to be the most impacted, being dispossessed from their lands and becoming climate refugees.
We stand at a Kairos moment – in order to fight environmental injustice , we must also fight racial injustice.
A warning on “environmental racism”
Archbishop of Canterbury and fellow Anglican leaders link Black Lives Matter movement to fight against climate change, warning that black people bear the brunt of havoc wreaked by droughts, flooding and sea-level risehttps://t.co/WqlvE1P5aJ
— Kaya Burgess (@kayaburgess) June 22, 2020
As the COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us, we have to live in a world we will never fully understand, predict, or control. The huge cost — in terms both of lives and money — of the world’s collective failure to apply precautionary reasoning to the coronavirus will hopefully continue to wake people up. If we are to survive, let alone flourish, we need to change things up; we need to imagine big, along the lines that I’ve been suggesting. This pandemic is our chance, probably our last such chance, for a new beginning. From its horror, if we retrieve the drive to localise, we’ll be building the best possible memorial to those hundreds of thousands who have unnecessarily died.
The coronavirus crisis is like the climate crisis, only dramatically telescoped in terms of time. We have seen what happens when there is a short-term protective contraction of the economy. The lifestyle-change that was required by the pandemic is more extreme than what will be required of us in order adequately to address the climate crisis. Why not make the less extreme changes required to live safely within a stable climate?
The coronavirus pandemic is like an acute condition: both individuals and entire societies need to respond quickly to it, but probably not for an extended period of time — certainly not if prevention or elimination is successfully achieved. The climate crisis is a chronic condition: it will take decades upon decades of determination, commitment, and “sacrifice” not to be overwhelmed by it. But the changes we need to make in order to achieve that goal are more attractive than those made in order to fight the coronavirus. The life we live in a climate-safe world can be a better life: saner; more rooted and local; more secure, with stronger communities and less uncertainty about our common future; less hyper-materialistic; more caring; more nurturing, and with greater exposure to the natural world.
What is required is the building of care, ethical sensibilities, and precautiousness into the very warp and weft of our lives.
‘Imagining the world after #Covid_19‘
— Rupert Read 🌍 (@GreenRupertRead) June 22, 2020
Speaking after the Angelus in Rome, the pope said the pandemic had made people reflect on the relationship between humankind and the environment.
“The lockdown has reduced pollution,” he said. It had enabled people to rediscover the beauty of many places free from traffic and noise.
“Now, with the resumption of activities, we should all be more responsible for the care of the common home,” he continued. Mentioning the many emerging grass-roots environmental movements, he called for citizens to be “increasingly aware of this essential common good”.
The best title for this tale was devised by my Hoover Institution colleague, the economist John Cochrane. He called it “The Dumb Reopening.” A smart reopening is the sort that has been possible in countries such as Taiwan and South Korea, which were so quick to ramp up testing and contact tracing that they didn’t need to do lockdowns in the first place. Among European countries, Germany and Greece have also successfully adopted these methods, which ensure that any new outbreaks of Covid-19 can quickly be detected, so-called super-spreaders isolated, their recent contacts swiftly traced and tested, and the outbreaks snuffed out.
Other signs of smartness are the persistence of behavioral adaptations by ordinary people, such as social distancing and wearing masks. We know that these practices, which can be adopted by citizens without any government decree, are effective in restricting the spread of the virus SARS-CoV-2.
Less widely appreciated is that social distancing is more effective as policy than lockdowns, as a forthcoming paper in the journal Nature shows. This is also the implication of work by researchers at Oxford’s Blavatnik School who show that there is no correlation between the stringency of government measures and containment of Covid-19. Measures designed to protect groups that are especially susceptible and vulnerable to Covid-19 — notably the elderly, especially those with pre-existing conditions — are also smart.
A dumb reopening eschews all such precautionary measures. So is that really what the U.S. is doing? The answer is pretty much yes. Testing has improved, but contact tracing is primitive. And social distancing and mask-wearing are least prevalent where reopening is happening fastest.
The U.S. isn’t following the example of countries that have shown what a “smart reopening” entails https://t.co/Oa6oEA18LZ
— Bloomberg Opinion (@bopinion) June 22, 2020
(The State) South Carolina students may not return to schools if COVID-19 spread doesn’t slow, official says
If coronavirus cases continue to rise as they have been for the last few weeks, K-12 students will not likely return to in-person education in the fall, a top official said Monday.
“If it continues on the same path we’re on right now it’s going to be extremely difficult for us to be able to go back face-to-face,” S.C. Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman said at a Monday press conference. “Hopefully we’ll see a change and things will start decreasing.”
There is no question being able to teach in-person is better — especially for young students — than being purely online, Spearman said. However, she said she will not risk student and teacher safety to meet that goal.
As we wait for word on when NC schools will reopen, @thestate reports today that neighboring South Carolina students may not return to schools if COVID-19 spread doesn’t slow. #nced #ncpol #coronavirus https://t.co/ZMTKMFpoF8
— Keung Hui (@nckhui) June 22, 2020
An unprecedented expansion of federal aid has prevented the rise in poverty that experts predicted this year when the coronavirus sent unemployment to the highest level since the Great Depression, two new studies suggest. The assistance could even cause official measures of poverty to fall.
The studies carry important caveats. Many Americans have suffered hunger or other hardships amid long delays in receiving the assistance, and much of the aid is scheduled to expire next month. Millions of people have been excluded from receiving any help, especially undocumented migrants, who often have American children.
Still, the evidence suggests that the programs Congress hastily authorized in March have done much to protect the needy, a finding likely to shape the debate over next steps at a time when 13.3 percent of Americans remain unemployed.
Democrats, who want to continue the expiring aid, can cite the effect of the programs on poverty as a reason to continue them, while Republicans may use it to bolster their doubts about whether more spending is needed or affordable.
Important story by @JasonDeParle on the impact stimulus has had in preventing more poverty during this economic disaster. And a reminder that much of that aid has been distributed or will expire soon. Our economic challenges will be with us a lot longer. https://t.co/plRcBmH1Db
— Robert Gibbs (@Robt_Gibbs) June 23, 2020
The Church of England’s online weekly service will hear a call for action to build a fairer world ahead of a minute’s silence to lament the racism experienced by the Windrush generation and other black and UK minority ethnic people.
Father Andrew Moughtin-Mumby, Rector of St Peter’s Church in Walworth, south east London, will lead the service in which his sermon will describe racism as one of three pandemics faced by the world, alongside the climate crisis and COVID-19.
Our weekly service, led by @StPeterWalworth, will be available from 9am Sunday.
Recognising Windrush Day, the service includes a minute’s silence to lament the racism experienced by the Windrush generation and other black and UK minority ethnic people.https://t.co/K5efpEg49r
— The Church of England (@churchofengland) June 19, 2020