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Is God on a leave of absence?

Saturday 4 April 2020, by siawi3

All the versions of this article: [English] [français]


Is God on a leave of absence?

Tarek Fatah

Published:March 26, 2020 Updated:March 26, 2020 7:34 AM EDT

Photo: An Afghan Sikh woman reacts near the site of a Sikh religious complex attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, March 25, 2020.Mohammad Ismail / Reuters

As hundreds of our fellow human beings die painful deaths every day because of COVID-19, and millions more suffer in self-isolation, it is painful to hear so-called ‘men of God’ asking us to pray for forgiveness and beg for mercy from the ‘most beneficent and most powerful’.

None other than Pope Francis claims he has asked God to stop the coronavirus epidemic while his counterpart in Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rejected U.S. assistance, claiming “your medicine is a way to spread the virus more.”

Elsewhere, in India videos have emerged of Hindus being asked by a community leader to drink cow urine to prevent COVID-19 while Indian Muslim leaders boast that Allah has made them invulnerable to the disease.

The insanity of believing that a supernatural being could trigger epidemics to punish his own creation sent me back to 1843 when Karl Marx wrote, “Man makes religion, religion does not make man.” Yet he acknowledged that “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the sentiment of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions.”

If there was any need to demonstrate the dangers of bringing state policy and religion together, Islamic State suicide bombers attacked a Sikh temple in the Afghanistan capital Kabul, killing 25 and injuring dozens more. ISIS and many other Islamic leaders consider Sikhs and Hindus as ‘Kafirs’, a derogatory word used by religious Muslims to identify non-Muslims.

Perhaps God was not listening to the Pope. Had he given his ear to the Pontiff, he could have immobilized his jihadi ranks and asked them to ‘cease and desist’.

It wasn’t just the Pope or the Ayatollah that the Almighty was turning a deaf ear to.

Superstars such as Justin Bieber prayed online to his followers where he begged God for forgiveness but failed to ask his fellow ‘Covidiots’ to keep six feet apart. And then there was Kourtney Kardashian who said, the “pandemic is a punishment from God for the world’s evils.”

Kardashian took to Twitter to share a passage from the Bible about epidemics, which was originally shared by rapper Young Thug, with “pay attention children” scrawled around it in red ink.

The passage reads: “Whenever I hold back the rain or send locusts to eat up the crops or send an epidemic on my people, if they pray to me and repent and turn away from the evil they have been doing, then I will hear them in heaven, forgive their sins, and make their land prosperous again.”

Bravo! Now that rapper Young Thug, Kourtney Kardashian and Justin Bieber have spoken, do we need God?

On the other side of the world, a video emerged of an Iranian devout Muslim licking the pillars of a shrine as he boasted, “I am not afraid of coronavirus.”

Not to be outdone, a Pakistani Islamic cleric claimed the coronavirus was Allah’s way of punishing China after he claims he heard the cries of a Muslim woman being raped by two Chinese men. What he couldn’t and didn’t explain was why Allah had punished Iranians and Italians for a crime committed by two Chinese men.

The prize for idiot of the year should go to a Catholic priest in South Africa. In a report published in Kenya Today, a South African pastor Rufus Phala allegedly made his parishioners drink the disinfectant Dettol, as a preventive measure against the coronavirus. The article said that about 59 people were reported dead while four remained in critical condition.

My message to the Pope, Kardashian, Bieber, the pastors and the Ayatollahs is this: It seems God is away on a long-term leave of absence taking care of some far-flung galaxy while his pandemic takes care of his warring tribes.

Now go wash your hands, self-isolate and trust the scientists and rid yourself of Marx’s opium; weed is better.