Nobody wants our society, economy, government, schools or our families to stay on lockdown. Everybody wants our lives to reopen. But in order to do that in a way that protects health and lives, three biblical principles are necessary: truth, unity and solidarity.
Let’s start by telling the hard truths.
U.S. counties that are majority-black have three times the rate of infections and almost six times the rate of deaths as counties that are majority-white. Those numbers are just as stunning as the 45,000 U.S. deaths from the coronavirus — a number that is projected to increase and exceed the number of Americans who died in the Vietnam War, numbers that forever changed my life.
Lower-income workers of all races and ethnicities who are now considered “essential” are at a higher risk of contracting the virus. Low- and middle-income elders in nursing homes are dying at the highest rate, accounting for nearly a fifth of all U.S. deaths.
Race and poverty have become pre-existing conditions for COVID-19. The entire faith community must use its prophetic and pastoral voice to emphasize this truth.