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Coronavirus Coups – Fear, Death, and Dictatorship

June 7, 2020

Prime Minister Viktor Orban – known for his anti-Semitism and xenophobia – was for all practical purposes made Hungary’s dictator for life, courtesy of the coronavirus [1].  Parliament voted Orban authority to rule by decree for an unspecified period.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Author European People’s Party, Source flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic)

In the Philippines, Pres. Rodrigo Duterte was granted sweeping emergency powers.  In Brazil, Pres. Jair Bolsonaro accused the media of generating hysteria, then fired the health minister and chief of police [2][3].  In Turkey, Prime Minister Recep Erdogan detained critics of his response to the pandemic.

Around the globe, despotic leaders of all stripes are using the coronavirus as an excuse to consolidate their positions, spread false information, and silence the opposition.

The worldwide state of emergency is being used to justify actions that undermine essential freedoms, and interfere with long-standing legislative initiatives.

Even here in the United States, there have been disturbing developments, relating to the coronavirus:

  • The EPA dramatically relaxed its rules for polluters [4].  Power plants, factories, and similar facilities can now determine for themselves whether they will meet legal reporting requirements.  Auto emission standards were, also, rolled back [5].
  • The Justice Dept. asked Congress for the power to have chief judges detain people indefinitely without trial [6].  This would undercut habeas corpus (the Constitutional right to appear before a judge following arrest and seek speedy release).
  • Before immigration was halted altogether, Customs and Border Patrol agents were returning migrants to Mexico in 96 minutes flat, a greatly accelerated pace [7].  No medical testing was performed.  Unaccompanied children were not exempt.  Contrary to law, requests for asylum were not being considered.  Previously, the courts had ruled such an approach a violation of due process [8].

Fear

Why is it the public tolerates, even supports, such measures in times of crisis?  The answer is fear.

Fear is a great motivator.  We fear many things.  We fear aging.  We fear suffering.  We fear poverty.  Above all, we fear death.  We rush headlong into the arms of any tyrant or demagogue who will promise to save us from it.

Unfortunately, panic does not make for wise decisions.  There is only one Savior, and that is Christ.  Those we put in His place are mere idols.  They cannot deliver what we so long for.  But He can.

Hope

Christ does not make the empty promises tyrants and dictators do.  What He offers instead of fear and uncertainty is hope.

“…’I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live‘ ” (John 11: 25).


[1]  Business Insider, “The coronavirus just created a new dictator in Europe and has emboldened the toxic behavior of authoritarians worldwide” by John Haltiwanger, 4/1/20, https://www.businessinsider.com/coronavirus-created-new-dictator-emboldens-authoritarians-worldwide-2020-4.

[2]  Foreign Policy Insider (FP), “Bolsonaro Fires Brazil’s Health Minister as Infections Grow” by Colm Quinn, 4/17/20, https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/04/17/jair-bolsonaro-brazil-fires-heath-minister-mandetta-coronavirus-inections-grow/.

[3]  France 24, “Brazil’s justice minister Moro resigns after Bolsonaro fires police chief”, 4/24/20, https://www.france24.com/en/20200424-brazil-s-justice-minister-moro-resigns-after-bolsonaro-fires-police-chief.

[4]  New York Times, “E.P.A., Citing Coronavirus, Drastically Relaxes Rules for Polluters” by Lisa Friedman, 3/26/20, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/26/climate/epa-coronavirus-pollution-rules.html.

[5]  NPR, “Trump Administration Weakens Auto Emissions Standards” by Nathan Rott and Jennifer Ludden, 3/31/20, https://www.npr.org/2020/03/31/824431240/trump-administration-weakens-auto-emissions-rolling-back-key-climate-policy.

[6]  Politico, “DOJ seeks new emergency powers amid coronavirus pandemic” by Betsy Rudruff, 3/21/20, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/21/doj-coronavirus-emergency-powers-140023

[7]  Washington Post, “Under coronavirus immigration measures, U.S. is expelling border-crossers to Mexico in an average of 96 minutes” by Nick Miroff, 3/30/20, https://www.washingtonpost.com/immigration/coronavirus-immigration-border-96-minutes/2020/03/30/13af805c-72c5-11ea-ae50-7148009252e3_story.html.

[8]  New York Times, “Trump Cites Coronavirus as He Announces a Border Crackdown” by Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Kirk Semple, 3/20/20, Updated 3/27/20, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/20/us/politics/trump-border-coronavirus.html.

READERS CAN FIND MY VIEWS ON ABUSE AND ABUSE-RELATED ISSUES AT ANNA WALDHERR A Voice Reclaimed, Surviving Child Abuse  https://avoicereclaimed.com

 

24 Comments
  1. I’ve seen some crazy things in my 67 years. But I have never seen anything quite like this.

    Isn’t it reassuring to remember that our Lord Jesus, who knows the number of hairs on our head, also knew this day was coming, and He is with us every step of the way? Praise God!

    Thank you, Anna, for your posts.

  2. Spot on, Anna. Same scenario here in our ruling party, where some of the executive members are mini-dictators with unbelievable arrogance and paternalism and obsession with ‘control.’ Our President, essentially a good man, is being undermined all the time. Certainly unique times. God’s remnant needs to stand faithful and prayerful all over the world. More and more my confidence is in Christ who rules, no matter what.

  3. Very interesting post Anna, it is scary to see these things happening. In my life I’ve not seen anything like this. Even here in Spain our PM keeps extending the State of Alarms therefore making himself a dictator because he can rule our autonomous communities overriding our own presidents. This is a very dangerous situation for everyone not just because of the threat of disease but because of the threat of medically imposed tyranny. Already there is a great discussion between people who wear the mask and those who do not and in places overzealous folk are beginning to lose their sense of civility and demonising those with whom they disagree. Thank you Anna for a thought provoking post and all the best,
    Francisco

    • “This is a very dangerous situation for everyone not just because of the threat of disease but because of the threat of medically imposed tyranny.” You capture my concerns precisely, Francisco. These are perilous times. May God keep you safe.

  4. Reblogged this on idahodimple.

  5. Excellent post Anna. Thank you!

  6. Great post Anna,
    I believe that many are using the crisis to push authority that would normally be questioned.
    America is being sent into unimaginable debt, and attention is being diverted..
    Among the chaos Jesus is healing and protecting His own.

    • This is a dangerous time for many reasons. We can only rely on Christ. May He continue to watch over you, Mary.

      • Thank you Anna,
        I can say Amen! Not even a sparrow falls to the ground without His care.. We are in the best of hands. May He continue to watch over you as well.

  7. EXACTLY!!!!!!
    I am shocked by how much freedom people will give up for “protection.” Darkness is creeping in. I’m so glad that our hopes are not in this world. Great post, my friend.

  8. Very nice post 👍😁

  9. Dear Anna,

    “Those who are ready to exchange freedom for security are not worthy of either freedom or security” – Benjamin Franklin

    You wrote:

    “The worldwide state of emergency is being used to justify actions that undermine essential freedoms, and interfere with long-standing legislative initiatives… Fear is a great motivator. We fear many things. We fear aging. We fear suffering. We fear poverty. Above all, we fear death. We rush headlong into the arms of any tyrant or demagogue who will promise to save us from it.”

    I agree and it is no more glaring than in the cases of left leaning governors and mayors from coast to coast in their rush to shut down churches during this pandemic and fine and jail those who don’t comply even though the first amendment is quite specific about prohibiting such actions. It is interesting to me as well that many of them continue to allow abortion clinics, liquor stores and marijuana shops to operate without any restrictions.

    Speaking of “legislative initiatives” consider these that our founding fathers put in place to protect us from such despotism:

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

    Furthermore the 14th Amendment’s Incorporation Clause, “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States,” has been upheld in later court cases that all of the first through eight amendments of the Bill of Right are applicable to the states as well as the federal government. From sea to shining sea our freedom of religious assembly and expression is not to be infringed, but oh how it has been continuously targeted!

    The point is, I agree that Christ is all we need as we put our faith and hope in Him and He also said that “where two or three of you are gathered together in my name, I will be there in your midst.” But He did establish the Church and told the disciples that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

    Truly the Gates of Hell are manifesting themselves in the hearts of corrupt leaders and their followers, both left and right all over the world during this pandemic as they shut down, deface and burn churches and now call for the destruction of all “white images” of Jesus Christ. It is Jesus that they hate, but He is hard for them to reach as He sits at the right hand of the Father in heaven. So they have to attack all visible symbols of Him and His followers as they rush to do the will of their father, the Devil.

    “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.” (Luke 6:22-23, ESV)

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