5 ways churches can help stop the Ebola hysteria (COMMENTARY)

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President Obama talks on the phone with Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about recently-diagnosed Ebola cases in Dallas, Texas. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Obama talks on the phone with Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about recently-diagnosed Ebola cases in Dallas, Texas. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

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(RNS) God isn't causing Ebola to spread through western Africa as some sort of punishment for the people there, or to come to these shores as some punishment of us. Diseases happen.

  • Jack

    We must avoid both extremes — hysteria and complacency or incompetence.

    The government’s response to Ebola is simply inexcusable. Months and months ago, it should have been moving decisively, especially in dealings with hospitals, to enhance preparedness.

    It is this failure to respond and to prepare that paved the way for any hysteria we are now seeing.

    The writer perhaps means well, but his view is obstructed by an ideology that sees fellow Americans as dimwitted rubes who are dominated by prejudice. The writer doesn’t seem to realize that he is not immune from bias himself.

    His citing Red scares of the past is a case in point.

    Yes, there were Red scares, and they were reprehensible examples of hysteria.

    But the other side of the coin, especially during the McCarthy era, was that domestic Communism was a genuine threat that was not taken seriously enough from the get-go at the federal level. We finally saw evidence of that after the Soviet Union fell and Yeltsin released filing showing that a number of famous Americans were literally on the KGB payroll after WW II. And that failure to act, paradoxically, paved the way for hysteria and for cynics like McCarthy to take advantage.

    So yes, hysteria is a problem but it’s often a function of government’s failure to lead decisively in recognizing a problem and dealing with it early and competently.

  • Haywood

    True Christians should be streaming to West Africa to lay on hands to cure those suffering from Ebola. Funny that we aren’t seeing this.

  • ThunderChi

    Tom Ehrich once again hits the nail on the head. There is indeed a section of the population that is “dimwitted.” It is undeniable. Witness the mass refusal to accept science as real; the denial of validity of our president’s birth certificate; and the list goes on.

    Phyllis Schlafly’s statements have no basis in reality, but only belie the putrid, festering toxin of bigotry she has espoused. Unworthy of anyone who claims Christ as Lord.

    And as far as government response is concerned, this cannot be laid at the feet of the president. He has been stopped at every turn by a racist, bigoted opposition that is ANYTHING BUT loyal to this country and the principles upon which it was founded. A raft of massive cuts in CDC and NIH research is part of the problem – and the right wing insanity in Congress bears the largest part of the blame for that. (not to mention their failure to consent to the president’s nominee for Surgeon General because the NRA threatened to score the vote!)

    For years President Obama has strived to make things work in this country and around the world. And he has always tried to calm the country in the face of our many fears, rather than incite unrest. Tom Ehrich has consistently been a voice for the same. God bless you, Tom!

  • I heard Dean Herman Browne of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Monrovia, this morning on NPR (“On Point,” I think). Having just completed his own 21-day quarantine with his family, he speaks with remarkable courage and clarity about the health crisis in Liberia. We need to be listening to voices like his rather than hysterical right-wing commentators. And we need to be praying for — and sending funds to –our brothers and sisters in Western Africa. Episcopal Relief and Development sends resources directly to the people who need them so desperately. http://www.episcopalrelief.org. Thank you Tom Ehrich.

  • rob

    The center for disease control invented its own strain of the Ebola virus in 2010..

    and now 4 years latter they CAN NOT EVEN advise Houston nurseries correctly on precaution’s to take before treating patients ..
    no wonder nurseries are afraid,, 2 have already have contacted it,,

    yet did you notice the head DOCTOR of the CDC told that one did not even need head covering,, yet he looked like he was going to MARS with all the crap he had on when he was near Ebola patients IN Africa ..


  • rob

    Haywood ———–a thumbs up for your comment

    Lutherans have always said true Christianity is faith in Jesus his merits alone..
    Lutheran synod