On Tuesday – 10 days ago – I had an interesting experience which I have shared with some of you. The train into Wellington was unusually busy that morning, I discovered that a lot of the passengers were on their way to a protest rally at noon.
At lunchtime I went down to Lambton Quay to see what was going on. I was surprised at the huge number of people in the march. It was organised by people in the Anti-Vax movement, but there were lots of other people with their own particular axe to grind.
As I stood there a man came out of the march and approached me. “I suppose you are wondering what’s going on?” I nodded. He went on to tell me about how the vaccine was dangerous, how the government was using for some clandestine purpose, and how the Prime Minister and the Director General of Health were lying to us. He listed a whole list of blogs where I could get the right information.
I listened and while I disagreed with him decided it was futile to try to argue. I did, however, ask him if he was interested in hearing my views on the protest itself. He said he was.
I made the following comments:
- There are a lot of banners demanding “MY RIGHTS” not to have the vaccination or obey the mandates etc – but I haven’t seen any banners proclaiming “MY RESPONSIBILITIES”. All our rights have a corresponding responsibility.
- All the banners were in the singular – ME! MY! There is no sense of people seeing themselves as part of a community. This is individuality at its worst!
- A number of these people are from other parts of the North Island – have they even considered they might be bringing COVID with them?
- I think it is irresponsible that none of them are wearing masks AND they are calling on people on the footpath to remove their masks.
He said nothing! I continued:
- I am interested to know if you will continue to exercise your right not to have medical intervention when you finally get the virus. Or will you demand your “right” to a hospital bed and ventilator. Thus denying bed and treatment to someone else.
- You say you don’t want to put an unknown substance into your body? Do you read and understand all the chemical ingredients listed on the food packages you buy at the supermarket?
- (Just then a group of school teachers went past – with a banner “WE JUST WANT TO TEACH”.) I pointed to them and asked “What are they teaching right now?” That its OK to defy mandates designed to protect people from the virus? What are they saying about their professional responsibility to protect the children in their care when they are acting “in loco parentis”?
He decided it was time to return to the march!
As I reflected on this exchange and my experience of what I saw in the march I came to some conclusions;
- There was an ignorance of, or an unwillingness to acknowledge, how serious and dangerous this virus is. I suspect that, because we have been protected from a serious outbreak of the virus, that people have become complacent. When I read about what is happening around the world I want to say “WE DONT KNOW HOW LUCKY WE HAVE BEEN!”
- In saying that I also want to acknowledge that the “lock-downs” have been very difficult for many people. But lock-downs might just be better than a large number of deaths. (More than 5 million people have died from Covid worldwide).
- Have we lost our sense of community? For me personally I got the two vaccinations not just to try to protect my own health but also because I felt it was my responsibility as a citizen and a member of the community to do something to protect others as well.
- One final thing – my unease and fear at the underlying violence at the march. Threats to politicians and health workers that are now appearing. Is it time to stand up and say ENOUGH!
So what are we going to do at St Andrew’s. Next week there will be information about how we as a church are going to act when we move into the “new freedoms” that are coming. So watch out for next week’s e-news.
To view the full e-news click here: https://mailchi.mp/f2fb74bbb1f8/this-weeks-newsletter-from-st-andrews-on-the-terrace-8569889