A Definitive Ranking of Religions’ Responses to Covid-19: From Least to Most Terrible

Ok, so we are still dealing with this bug, and likely will be for quite some time. BUT, we are also incredibly impatient and quite done with all this nonsense, thank you very much, and would very much like to bring some closure to it. At least before the Sigma strain or whatever kills us all. We figure that by now we’ve probably got enough HARD DATA to make a completely subjective ranking of how well the various world religions have managed this whole thing. Or rather, who did the LEAST BAD. This isn’t to make light of a very, very shitty situation, but to have an honest gut check of where we can all do better. So here goes… 

    1. `Muslims: Gotta tell you, y’all really knocked this one out of the park. There are many reasons this could have gone badly: the concentration of Muslims in poorer, developing countries; the large number of public rituals; and, of course, the conservative mindset of many communities. It certainly wasn’t perfect. Indonesia dealt with a bit of a flare up, as did Malaysia. And we don’t really have a super-accurate picture of the Covid situation in places like Afghanistan, which, as you know, has been going through some shit. It probably hasn’t been great, and will likely get worse, but that’s more to do with basic government dysfunction than religion. When push came to shove, folks did the right thing, keeping Eid pretty safe, and putting off the Hajj for another year. All things considered, the Ummah has done well.
    2. Buddhists: Normally we wouldn’t lump all of you together, but we are lazy and there’s really no reason to do a breakdown here. For the most part, most of y’all are in EAST ASIA, and EAST ASIA has mostly done gangbusters, despite the fact that ONE (OR SEVERAL) OF YOU unleashed this Hell upon us. Well ok, patient zero may not have been Buddhist, but whatever. Either way, the very “Buddhist” countries of China, Japan, Taiwan blah, blah, blah have done very well. Of course, that may not have as much to do with religion as with their more communitarian cultures and SARS experience. In fact, certain traditional elements may have impeded an acceptence of Western medicinal solutions. This is supported by the fact that everybody adopted masks very quickly, but were much slower to get vaxxed.
    3. Reformed Jews: By one metric, y’all could be first or second, but we gotta factor in some of the advantages: high educational background, liberalism, Jewish moms, etc. And then there is the fact that most of you’uns live in well-functioning polities, i.e. New York City and Israel. Now the latter has had a bit of a Delta spell as of late, but so has everyone, so that shouldn’t count against you.
    4. Organized Atheists/Secular Humanists/Whatever the Fuck We Are Supposed to Call You: It’s hard to measure such a small-yet-loud demographic, but most of you blowhards are pretty scientific. Then again, the WHO (full of science nerds) did massively fuck up this whole thing, so we are putting you squarely in the middle rankings. Go soak your heads.
    5. Catholicists: Decent showing, and the Pope was an early vaxx bro,  but not all of you have handled it well. But hey, that still makes you #1 among Trinitarians!
    6. Liberal-Mainline Protestants: Ya’ll are still a bit too touchy-feely and singy to be the best at warding off an airborne scourge, so that land’s you at #6 instead of #5. And as better as you think you may be than #8 on this list, you weren’t that much better. 
    7. Hasidic Jews: It has not gone well, what more can we say? Cramped conditions make any virus happy, but fears of the gentile sciences, an insistence on keeping the normal communal rituals, and general narrow-mindedness have made the ultra-Orthodox a bit susceptible to Trumpitis. Like most, y’all have improved, but those viral hotspots in Brooklyn and Bnei Brak in the early phases of the pandemic count against your overall score, sorry. 
    8. Conservative Protestants: It’s not just that you insisted on doing Jesus crap when you didn’t have to. It’s that you insisted on doing Jesus crap that many of you wouldn’t have done had you not been told not to. But let’s be honest, it’s not so much a religious thing than “owning the libs.” Then again, these things are kinda indistiguishable these days. Sure, plenty of evangelical leaders accept basic epidemiology (if not other branches of science), and have vaxxed themselves, but also helped create this monster of vicious stupidity that has ended up killing their own flock.
    9. Hindus: Yeah, it’s been an absolute clusterf–k. Plenty of you behaved, but 3 million of you did not. Sure, subcontinental politics and poverty has a lot to do with it, but sometimes you just need to skip the big festivals, especially if it is taking place on one of the most polluted sacred rivers in the world. 

Let’s try and do better people.

A Roundup of Religionists Behaving Badly During the Coronageddon

While most godly folk have been handling the pandemic in reasonable ways, there have been some contrarians:

  • #FloridaPastor should probably be a thing, as the very Reverend Rodney Howard-Browne has been arrested for illegally gathering the faithful down in Tampa (where else?). Slate’s Christian-in-residence Ruth Graham has an excellent profile of this Trump-loving nincompoop. Will the the equally Trump-loving FL guv’nor bail him out by overruling the county law? Who knows, but Rodney has already canceled service in the face of tyranny. 
  • But it’s not just Korean cults and other Christian crazies. Even some establishment Evangelicals are throwing caution to the wind! Nonetheless, Jerry Jr. will put classes online if he must, but Liberty U will keep its dorms open for the kiddos if they want to come back. Who wouldn’t want to ride this thing out in Lynchburg, VA? 
  • Other religions are hardly doing any better. India already has enough problems without Sikh gatherings becoming hotspots (Holy Moly Hola Mohalla!). And now a Muslim gathering as led to a potential outbreak. Can’t imagine the BJP politicizing that anytime soon!