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Apr 29 2020

Kismet

It’s Arabic and means either “Fate”, “Portion”, or “Division” (in the ‘part of’ sense not the ‘conflict’ sense) depending on context and in this instance I’m using it in the “Fate” definition and am not referring at all to the Lederer/Davis Musical from 1953 starring Alfred Drake, Doretta Morrow, and Richard Kiley or the 1955 film version with Howard Keel, Ann Blyth, and Vic Damone.

The music was mostly stolen from Borodin anyway.

‘A phantom plague’: America’s Bible Belt played down the pandemic and even cashed in. Now dozens of pastors are dead
by Alex Woodward, The Independent
4/24/20

Dozens of pastors across the Bible Belt have succumbed to coronavirus after churches and televangelists played down the pandemic and actively encouraged churchgoers to flout self-distancing guidelines.

As many as 30 church leaders from the nation’s largest African American Pentecostal denomination have now been confirmed to have died in the outbreak, as members defied public health warnings to avoid large gatherings to prevent transmitting the virus.

Deaths across the US in areas where the Church of God in Christ has a presence have reportedly stemmed from funerals and other meetings among clergy and other church staff held during the pandemic.

The tragedy among one of the largest black Pentecostal groups follows a message of defiance from many American churches, particularly conservative Christian groups, to ignore state and local government mandates against group gatherings, with police increasingly called in to enforce the bans and hold preachers accountable.

The virus has had a wildly disproportionate impact among black congregations, many of which have relied on group worship.

Yet despite the climbing death toll, many US church leaders throughout the Bible Belt have not only continued to hold services but have urged worshippers to continue paying tithes — including recent stimulus checks — to support their mission.

Bishop Gerald Glenn, founder and leader since 1995 of the New Deliverance Evangelistic Church in Chesterfield, Virginia, was the first black chaplain of the town’s police. He had vowed to continue preaching “unless I’m in jail or the hospital” before his death from coronavirus earlier this month.

The bishop told his congregation that he believes “God is larger than this dreaded virus” just days before Virginia Governor Ralph Northam urged people to avoid “nonessential” group gatherings.

During a 15 March service, which nearly 200 people attended, the bishop said: “I’m glad to be in the Lord’s house. It didn’t have to be this way. The government could have said we couldn’t gather at all. Just imagine if the government had the authority to say, you and me, we can’t go to church. Aren’t you glad you were free to get up and come?”

Darwins all around!