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- U.S.The Guardian
The president’s appeal to his base amid protests was derided by some Christians. Others saw a victory in a world of evilNo one accuses Donald Trump of subtlety. When the US president raised a Bible overhead on Monday evening outside St John’s Episcopal church in Washington DC, the sign was unmistakable: an appeal to his white evangelical base for loyalty, as protests and riots roared across America.Not every Christian answered the call. The Rev Gini Gerbasi, an Episcopal priest, said police used teargas to drive her and others from St John’s before Trump’s appearance. “They turned holy ground into a battleground,” she told Religion News Service.But many of Trump’s evangelical supporters, far from Washingtons political stage, saw the move as a victory in a world rife with evil.“My whole family was flabbergasted,” said Benjamin Horbowy, 37.The Horbowys had gathered in Tallahassee, Florida, to watch live as Trump walked from the White House to St John’s. “My mother just shouted out, ‘God give him strength! He’s doing a Jericho walk!’”A Jericho walk, in some evangelical circles, refers to the biblical book of Joshua, where God commanded the Israelites to walk seven times around the opposing city of Jericho, whose walls then came crashing down.Horbowy already supported Trump politically – he heads the local chapter of a pro- Trump motorcycle club and is campaigning for a seat in Florida’s state senate – but when Trump lifted the Bible, Horbowy and his family felt overcome spiritually.“My mother started crying. She comes from Pentecostal background, and she started speaking in tongues. I haven’t heard her speak in tongues in years,” he said. “I thought, look at my president! He’s establishing the Lord’s kingdom in the world.”Did he feel that conflicted with the Gospel of John, where Jesus said “my kingdom is not of this world”?“Well,” Horbowy said, “that’s a philosophical question.”After watching Trump’s gesture, Horbowy changed his Facebook profile photo to one of Trump outside St John’s, with added rays of light emanating from the Bible. “It was the coolest thing he could do. What more could he do, wear blue jeans and ride in on a horse?” he said.The catalyst for the protests was the killing of 46-year-old George Floyd by Minneapolis police. Asked about that, Horbowy said, “There’s a Bible verse that says we shouldn’t talk about evil things. We can just say, ‘There’s evil’ and move on.”He couldn’t remember the exact verse, he said.So how did devotees like Horbowy become such a potent force that Trump would signal them in his hour of need? One answer lies in their relationship with Trump. They have given him their fervent support at the ballot box and in turn they have seen a conservative takeover of the courts and an assault on reproductive and LGBTQ+ rights.Their power and worldview is a culmination of trends that started decades ago, according to John Fea, a history professor at Messiah College and himself an evangelical Christian. “It’s rooted in fear,” he said.In the 1980s, Fea said, several forces converged to alarm white Christians: a removal of official prayer and Bible readings from schools, an influx of immigrants from Asia and the Middle East, and the final desegregation of schools like Bob Jones University.“So came the emergence of the Christian right,” Fea said.Figures like Jerry Falwell and James Dobson started wielding political influence in a new way, followed today by a new generation that includes Franklin Graham and the Dallas pastor Robert Jeffress, one of Trump’s leading evangelical defenders. “What seems to be missing in much of the coverage is that a group of protesters had tried to burn that church to the ground 24 hours earlier,” Jeffress said. Jeffress sees no conflict between Trump’s behavior and the Bible he held up on Monday evening. “You mean, does he pretend to be perfectly pious?” he said. “No.”Fea calls faith leaders like Jeffress “court evangelicals”.“Trump has these people around him,” Fea said. “They’re telling him, ‘You need to get your evangelical base on board.People once concerned with piety, Fea said, now crave “an exercise in pure political power”, and the Bible is no longer a spiritual weapon but an earthly one.When Trump describes himself as a “law and order” president and holds aloft a Bible, he conflates which law he will enforce, and whose order will follow. In a short speech before the walk to St John’s, Trump said he would “dominate the streets”. That is the “kingdom in the world” Horbowy referenced.“I believe it’s like Ephesians 6:10 through 19,” Horbowy said from Florida. “I believe this is a president who wears the full armor of God.”But one of those verses – verse 12 – says explicitly that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood”, but against spiritual enemies.“Well,” Horbowy said. “He’s fearless.”
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- CelebrityYahoo Finance UK
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- BusinessThe Conversation
With social distancing guidelines and mandates mostly lifted, people have begun to head back to beaches, parks and restaurants in many parts of the U.S. But you may ask: What’s so different now compared to the situation back when social distancing began in March and April? Coronavirus still lurks. Are we really safe? Orders to stay at home were broad and strict. The goals were two-fold: to minimize infection and mortality – to “flatten the curve” – and to give health systems the best possible chance not to be overrun. In many places, the numbers of deaths and cases have indeed been coming down in recent weeks. The restrictions also bought public officials time to build up state and local capacity ability to test and contact trace. Contact tracing is a labor-intensive art and science that involves talking to people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and identifying people who they have interacted with recently, then talking to their contacts and convincing them of the importance of staying home, self monitoring for symptoms, and getting tested.Some recent evidence suggests the most important job for contact tracing is to identify super-spreading events, so we health experts can learn more about them and prevent them in the future. A super-spreading event is when one gathering or event is identified as the origin of a large number of new infections. I am a public health scholar and also a leukemia survivor who had a bone marrow transplant – a complicated medical procedure that severely weakens one’s immune system. I think my experience can offer some lessons for our current situation. I remember how much harder it was to make decisions about what types of risk were acceptable without the strict guidelines. Baby, baby, baby stepsWhen I was first released from the University of Michigan hospital after my transplant, the doctors kept me on a very short leash. Infection was the biggest concern. So I had twice-weekly visits. I couldn’t take Tylenol because it could mask a fever. I wasn’t allowed to pick up dog poop or eat raw vegetables because of the risk of bacterial and fungal infections. As I got further away from the time of my transplant, my immune system started to rebuild, and the leash got a little longer. My medical visits started to spread out. The doctors would tell me it it was OK to try swimming in a private pool, but not in a lake or river because of the risk of bacteria in the water.And as I took these baby steps, the doctors watched for signs of infection. I wasn’t safe from infection. But I was safer. Are we really safe now?Your safety likely depends on where you live – and what you mean by safe. At the beginning of June, many places in the U.S. are seeing a decline in the number of new cases each day. Others are seeing increases.Your local state and county health departments may have dashboards that show testing and case numbers. These resources are very helpful in determining whether or not it is safer to go out than it was six weeks ago. I look for two things to assess safety: * An upward trend in testing, and ideally an increasing rate of testing (the curve of number of tests per day is getting steeper). * A low and decreasing number of positives.A good way to look at this in just one number is the percent of tests that are positive. Is it going up (that’s bad), or down (that’s good).The testing capacity that public health agencies have built up over the past few months will be essential to identify new hot spots early at an early stage and help contain outbreaks before they become widespread.But safer doesn’t mean there is no risk. If there are any cases in your county or city, then being around people can increase your risk. And remember, there is still no vaccine to prevent the spread of coronavirus, and there are no drugs that have been proven effective as treatments. While it is still circulating there is always a risk for resurgence or a “second wave.” Your safety also depends on your personal medical history, and on those of your close contacts. Are you around people with underlying conditions? If so, your threshold for what’s safe might be different. Remember, there is no rule saying you can’t take more precautions than suggested. Wear a mask. Keep your distance. Work from home if you are able. And limit interactions with others. [You need to understand the coronavirus pandemic, and we can help. Read The Conversation’s newsletter.]This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts.Read more: * George Washington would have so worn a mask * Opening up US will trigger more COVID-19 cases, but disease models suggest how to avoid a second peakRyan Malosh receives a portion of his salary support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID).
- LifestyleYahoo Style UK
Natalie Poole, 35, spent weeks on Kyun Pila Island in Mynamor after passing through the Thai border just 15 minutes before it was closed. She was the only Brit there alongside just four other people who were left stranded when their only boat back to the mainland was cancelled. She spent a total of 60 days there but is now back home in Ashburton, Devon, where she has got straight back to work on the family allotment.