The faithful go after Andrew Cuomo for giving humans and not God credit for abating the pandemic

Remember a few days ago when I quoted the words of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in an interview with CNN about the pandemic?

“We’re talking about a reopening that has a public health plan and an economic plan totally coordinated. Our behavior has stopped the spread of the virus. God did not stop the spread of the virus. And what we do, how we act, will dictate how that virus spreads.”

During a press conference last Monday, Cuomo is reported by several places (e.g., here and here) to have supplemented that statement:

“The number is down because we brought the number down. God did not do that. Faith did not do that. Destiny did not do that. A lot of pain and suffering did that . . . That’s how it works. It’s math. And if you don’t continue to do that, you’re going to see that number go back up. And that will be a tragedy if that number goes back up.”

Well, that’s all true, but to those marinated in faith who see God behind every epidemic, it’s blasphemy. And so religionists decided to fight back.  As reader Dawn Flood wrote me:

In the High and Late Middle Ages, the faithful would sometimes gather in front of the manors of the nobility, waving saints’ bones and other relics in front of them in order to get them to obey “God’s law”.  It is good to see that modern attempts have become much more benign.
I am forwarding the following to you for your amusement and as a potential posting for your very wonderful blog.
She then enclosed a letter she had received from John Horvat, signed with this: “Vice-President, Tradition, Family and Property (TFP). www.ReturnToOrder.org”, and linking to a petition created by the organization telling Cuomo to knock off mocking God. You can see the words importuning you to sign that petition in the screenshot below.

This is truly hilarious. If there’s a god, he clearly wanted us to get coronavirus—for reasons best understood by theologians and faithy mushbrains like Ross Douthat. It’s not God who is creating vaccines or making antiviral drugs. Humans are. And clearly God isn’t responding to prayers, either, given the number of prayed-for victims who died anyway.

The narrative that Cuomo is challenging is that the spread of the virus, and its ongoing abatement, had nothing to do with humans. And the bit about “calling down God’s wrath”—a threat to the governor—is equally hilarious. There is no god, at least not one that’s given us any evidence that he exists, but if there was one he’s shown himself to be pretty much of a jerk by turning his head as a pandemic ravages innocent people. Indeed, the people hardest hit are those trying to save other people, like healthcare workers. God’s a big Tony Soprano in the Sky, whacking the one species he made in his image:

Here’s the petition you’re supposed to sign:

To: The Honorable Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York,

I protest against your defiant statements against God, directly pushing the Author of Life and Death out of the attempts to fight to coronavirus.

New York has suffered much because of the coronavirus, and mockery of God and the Faithful from a public official will only increase God’s wrath and endanger lives.

I urge you to publicly retract these statements and apologize.

Sincerely,

I was strongly tempted to sign the petition “Elmer Fudd”, but I don’t do stuff like that.  And of course Cuomo won’t apologize or retract what he said. Why should he, since he’s absolutely right?

This petition request appeared on the Return To Order Campaign, Horvat’s campaign to get this unruly country back under the Rule of God and out from under the thumb of Beelzebub:

The Return to Order campaign is based on the award-winning book, Return to Order: From a Frenzied Economy to an Organic Christian Society–Where We’ve Been, How We Got Here and Where We Need to Go by John Horvat II. It addresses the growing alarm, confusion and frustration that so many Americans experience when seeing the nation fall into disorder and chaos.

This social decay manifests itself in many ways. It can be seen in the breakdown of the family and community. It can be experienced in the frenetic intemperance of hectic lifestyles, the frenzied activity of economic markets and the abuse of technology and social media. Above all, there is the abandonment of God and His law and the increasing public recognition of satanic acts, symbols and ideas.

It goes on, but by now you know the lunacy of the the religious Right and the religious Nationalists. By now we should be used to it, but somehow I continue to shake my head when I read stuff about the wrath of god falling on those who deny him.  If the wrath of god should fall on anyone, it’s all those god-denying atheists who didn’t get the coronavirus because they trusted science and scientific medicine. Somehow most of us have escaped that wrath. Instead, God seems to be smiting the people who flock to the churches thinking that the blood of Jesus will protect them.

61 Comments

  1. ploubere
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Times like this show the clear divide between those capable of rational evaluation of the situation and those who can’t. The faithful can’t countenance the realization that either God created the virus, if not did nothing to stop it, or is powerless to stop it.

    I suppose facing those choices would require questioning their beliefs, which is something they can’t bring themselves to do. So they have to shut down all rational thought.

  2. Max
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    “mockery of God and the Faithful from a public official will only increase God’s wrath and endanger lives.”

    Why the hell would someone worship such a god? Why would someome say he’s great? Why would he be characterized as “loving?” What the hell is wrong with people?

    • BJ
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      “For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.” — Deuteronomy

      He sounds like a swell fella.

      • mike cracraft
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

        I swear Christians don’t know the history of their own religion. For past 2000 years it has grown mostly through violence, suppression, and
        racism. Of course if you point this out, the blinders come on and it’s “SHIELDS UP !”.

    • Roger
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      Wrath would imply either a lack of foreknowledge (because why be wrathful about something already known in advance) or a “wrath schedule”. “Okay this is happening Thursday so I need to be wrathful that day. So Bowling on Friday it is.”

  3. Posted April 19, 2020 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    John Horvat, signed with this: “Vice-President, Tradition, Family and Property (TFP). http://www.ReturnToOrder.org

    A few days ago I would have said, that title sounds as ominous as the made-up stuff in a Margaret Atwood novel. Except I learned recently that all the misogynist oppression heaped on women in the Handmaid’s Tale is drawn from real incidents somewhere in our real world’s history. These authoritarian religious types must all be stamped from the same mold.

  4. Posted April 19, 2020 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    “… directly pushing the Author of Life and Death out of the attempts to fight to coronavirus.”

    So if God were part of attempts to fight the virus, and being omnipotent and all, couldn’t he just snap his fingers?

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      I find it amusing that it’s essentially a petition to give god credit for a horrible disease.

  5. Posted April 19, 2020 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    They take their deity seriously, who is a vindictive psychopath, after all. Somehow the other Christians are far more ridiculous who believe something that is contradictory on too many sides to count.

  6. Saul Sorrell-Till
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    I thought Cuomo’s statement was excellent and irrefutable. Anyone trying to argue with it is going to come across as an asshole, because it’s essentially a paean to the human spirit. This petition is politically incredibly naive.

    Cuomo has been deeply impressive throughout this. The right have been going after him hard, but he’s actually been, y’ know…doing shit, rather than tweeting mean things, so the criticisms haven’t really landed.

  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Andrew Cuomo has partaken of the fruit of the tree of knowledge. Can’t wait to see whether, for his sin, the Lord God banishes him from the Garden of Albany.

  8. Posted April 19, 2020 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    🤦‍♂️

  9. kraeuterbutter
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    Ouch.

    “The Southern Poverty Law Center had described [TFP]as a virulently anti-LGBT group.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Society_for_the_Defense_of_Tradition,_Family_and_Property

    • Filippo
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

      I’d like to see the SPLC specifically go after some anti-science, anti-rational types. (But that would entail going after some Woke types, eh?)

  10. Posted April 19, 2020 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Fonely them lesbians stopp kisssing, the vuris weel go…

    Cletus Fetherbrain, Tradicton, Fammerly, und Prospertee…

  11. Randall Schenck
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    I was just watching the briefing by Cuomo today and was wondering, how much smarter this guy is than Trump. Is it 100 times, a 1000 times, it is hard to describe.

    • dabertini
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      Except for the fact he is on hydroxychloroquine.

    • rickflick
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

      It’s probably not so hard to estimate the IQ of these two characters. Ask yourself how much sense they make. Given a record of their voluminous verbiage over a long period, you should be able to guess pretty close. tRump is cleaver in many ways having to do with political success, but he has gaps in his rational thought and some rather serious mental health issues. he’d probably test at around 100 – 110, in the average range. Cuomo is clearly in the superior range but probably not at the genius level. I’d give him a tested IQ of about 120 – 130. If you fit those numbers to a normal curve Cuomo would be about one standard deviation(15 IQ points) smarter than the stable genius himself. I could be wrnog.

      • GBJames
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

        None of us would call you wrnog! 😉

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted April 20, 2020 at 8:43 am | Permalink

          One of the orcs in Lotr wasn’t he?

  12. Mark R.
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    This virus seems to have magnified the stupid in America, and stupid-in-chief is pouring gasoline on the stupid fire. Many of the stupid will burn…from fever.

  13. Posted April 19, 2020 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    I don’t understand why they don’t say, “God gave us brains and expects us to use them to solve this problem and we did. Thanks be to God for brains.” (And brains that figured out math.) That seems more logical.

  14. GBJames
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    sub

  15. BJ
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been extremely critical of Cuomo’s handling of this crisis, but it’s such an enormous breath of fresh air to hear a politician as high-ranking as him say something like this. And it takes guts to say it (though it’s not nearly as dangerous to one’s political future in NY as it would be in, say, Mississippi). It’s a shame that it’s so rare to hear such statements. Plaudits to Cuomo on this one!

  16. FB
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Maybe they’re all correct: God the Father send us the virus, and Jesus is helping to abate the pandemic. If this is right, Cuomo only needs to say that he was talking about God the Father, and not about Jesus. That would make us all happy, I think.

    • Posted April 19, 2020 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      Would Jesus shelter at home? Asking for a friend.

      • FB
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

        Only to protect others, because dying again would be really, really bad.

        • FB
          Posted April 19, 2020 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

          That makes no sense.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted April 19, 2020 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

            No worries. The original story doesn’t bear up well under commonsense scrutiny, either.

  17. Posted April 19, 2020 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Cuomo for Vice President! Oh yeah, Biden has is going to pick a woman for his VP. Perhaps Cuomo can run for President in 2024, assuming Biden doesn’t run for re-election. Oh yeah, that’s going to be the woman too. Sorry, Andrew, you are out of luck.

  18. Historian
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    In an in-depth report from March, Pew Research delves into the minds of the white evangelical Protestants. There is a mountain of material to absorb here. 97% believe that a president should lead a moral, ethical life. So, how can they support Trump? Well, 61% believe he does lead an upstanding life. Only 36% of all Americans believe this. This means that 36% (97% minus 61%) of the white evangelicals don’t believe he lives an upstanding life but don’t give a crap, even though it would be nice if he did. All this makes me conclude that a large percentage of humanity, perhaps even a majority, are highly susceptible to psychological manipulation. This being the case, it is irrational to believe that most countries, most of the time, will be run by rational people. Human nature makes this impossible.

    https://www.pewforum.org/2020/03/12/white-evangelicals-see-trump-as-fighting-for-their-beliefs-though-many-have-mixed-feelings-about-his-personal-conduct/

    • Posted April 19, 2020 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      Although I hate to argue Trump supporters’ positions but I have to take issue with your assertion that they aren’t rational in this regard. They believe in guns, religion, and are against a woman’s right to have an abortion, so it is arguably rational for them to vote for Trump even if they know he’s a terrible human being. They are simply placing those things Trump promises to support, and which he’s delivered, over the sins of one man. Sure, character counts but as long as he supports their goals, this is proof enough of his character. In their minds, everyone’s a sinner anyway. Unfortunately, they are not coming to terms with his destruction of our democracy and other institutions.

      • Jon Gallant
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

        But it’s guns, religion and professional wrestling You might bring down the wrath of God by forgetting WWE.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

        Yes, it is rational, in that what they care about most is the appointment of SCOTUS justices who will oppose abortion and support guns. But it is nonetheless grossly hypocritical, since, as Historian observes, they never shut their yaps about the importance of electing “moral, ethical” (or, to use their language, “godly”) officeholders.

        In the end, their support for Donald Trump will cost Evangelicals dearly as to their political credibility. Trump is their golden calf at the foot of Mt. Sinai, the idol they have forsaken their ideals to worship.

  19. Stephen Mynett
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    In first century Roman cities there were public toilets with a flush system. Crude by modern standards and basically little more than a latrine with water running through, taking the effluent into the river or sea but at least it helped keep the cities cleaner.

    Then came Constantine, he usurped power, imposed Christianity as the state religion and all funding to public works stopped, they built cathedrals instead.

    With successive emperor’s it got worse with natural philosophers (as scientists were then called) and mathematicians being treated as heretics. The Dark Ages had begun.

    When plague swept through Europe, 1600 years after the Romans had flush latrines, we were emptying chamber pots out of windows into the streets and the cities were filthy, enabling the spread of disease.

    Unfortunately many religionists are too dumb, crooked or uncaring to consider they are the ones at fault.

    • kraeuterbutter
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      Constantine promoted Christianity (motto: One State, One Religion), but he did not establish it as a state religion. This “honor” goes to Theodosius I instead.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodosius_I#Nicene_Christianity_becomes_the_state_religion

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

      Even more succinct than CliffsNotes Gibbon. 🙂

      • chrism
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

        And for the backlash, anyone who has not read Gore Vidal’s ‘Julian’ will enjoy a book about the attempted return of state paganism. It’s a good read.

  20. Steve Pollard
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Horvat is clearly a grade-A pillock, so I guess he could not even begin to understand the questions attributed to Epicurus:

    “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. 
    “Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. 
    “Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? 
    “Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”

    • Posted April 19, 2020 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      In a nutshell!

    • Posted April 19, 2020 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps God is simply indifferent.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      Did not know “pillock.” Great word to add to my lexicon. Thanks.

      • Steve Pollard
        Posted April 19, 2020 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

        It’s originally from the North of England, I think, and comes from the old 16th century word ‘pillicock’, which literally means ‘dick’. There are many, many people it can be applied to these days, sadly.

        • Jenny Haniver
          Posted April 19, 2020 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

          Always love learning the etymologies.

        • Posted April 19, 2020 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

          The Eskimos have 20 words for snow and the English have at least that many for penis. Sounds right. 😉

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted April 19, 2020 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

            First snowclones, now boneclones? 🙂

            • Posted April 19, 2020 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

              Isn’t language wonderful! I have decided that tRump’s spoken and tweeted language is targeted to his constituencies’ spoken word knowledge and readability quotient. In the 1970s or so, it was thought that textbooks should not have sentences containing more than 17 words if they were to be understood.
              How many words, and in what number, do you think tRump’s followers can comprehend?

              • Graham Martin-Royle
                Posted April 20, 2020 at 5:47 am | Permalink

                Three. God Dun It.

  21. rickflick
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    God, it seems, has something in common with tRump. He wants to tale credit for good stuff that happens and deny responsibility when something goes wrnog.

    • JezGrove
      Posted April 19, 2020 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      Good point. Especially if you’re willing to take the blame for that typo at the end!

  22. Jenny Haniver
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    I was very proud to sign the petition,
    La Papessa Johanna.

  23. Roger
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    Oh, Gawd’s wath. I’m so skeered. I tawt I saw a puddy tat.

  24. Roger
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Didn’t take long for scammers to capitalize on this new schtick, did it. They never miss a beat do they.

  25. Posted April 19, 2020 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    Oops, I just heard that ‘God’ has succumbed to the CV-19 infection. But, after all, he/she/it was quite old and in recent times quite frail.

    rz

  26. chrism
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    I’d be happy to sign a petition saying “Don’t be so f*cking silly” and have it sent to this John Horvat. Meanwhile, today a shooter has killed five times as many people as have died of Covid-19 so far in this province. Maybe that was God being a bit peeved. Maybe we should appease God by taking away all those handguns we were discussing here a couple of days ago.

  27. J Cook
    Posted April 19, 2020 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    The evangelicals have been praying for the “rapture” now they are “going to get it”.

  28. Posted April 19, 2020 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    Apparently, John Horvat doesn’t listen to Cuomo or comprehend his speech. Cuomo, a Catholic, sprinkles many “Thank God”s throughout his talks.

    This reminds me of the Hurricane Katrina joke about the believers stranded on their roof waiting for delivery by God but ignoring three rescue efforts by the people God sent.

    Why would a believer disregard the fact that if God is creator of all that is, was or ever will be, the virus was his doing. Y’think he/she/it is allowing the debbil to mess with us like he did Job?

  29. Posted April 20, 2020 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    Click deep on the returnto order video with its “intemperate” bs

    Its a hilariously stupid piece of video.
    I found myself thinking: “Is this legit or parody? Are there real people out there – presumably not in Manhattan where I live – for whom this is REAL and makes any kind of damn sense?
    Equally sobering and hilarious.
    D.A., J.D., NYC

  30. nay
    Posted April 20, 2020 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    This is the part that stopped me in my tracks: John Horvat, signed with this: “Vice-President, Tradition, Family and Property (TFP). Tradition, Family and PROPERTY – what the …! Christian values, eh?


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