We Are in a State of Hysteria Over COVID-19 (4)

USA-Daily-COVID-19-Cases-and-Fatalities-natural-scale

COVID-19 Cases and Deaths vs. Time (Cases Top and Deaths Bottom Plot)

Media Gaslighting Edition

Data Analysis

Everywhere you look the mainstream media (MSM) is hysterically reporting on the recent significant increase in COVID-19 cases.  The unstated assumption is that there is a direct relationship between cases and deaths (with a time delay).  The above figure shows daily COVID-19 cases and deaths on a linear scale.  While it’s easy to see the increase in cases after June 9, it’s virtually impossible to see what’s happening to deaths because they are so low.  Thus, even if the MSM showed the above plot their customers would be unable to see what is happening to deaths.

However, if we plot the same case and death data using a Log scale (see below) we can see the plot details for both.

Note that the death plot is clearly showing that the number of fatalities has been consistently falling since mid-April.  Thus, while the number of COVID-19 cases has recently significantly increased, the number of deaths has continued to fall.  This trend is confirmed using data from ourworldindata.org data.

us-covid19-deaths

COVID-19 Deaths vs. Time (ourworldindata.org)

The blue plot is the raw number of COVID-19 deaths per day.  Since the raw daily data is highly variable I have included a moving seven-day average (see the dotted red plot).  Note that this weekly average peaks at just over 2,500 on April 21 and generally decreases after that, with just over 500 deaths on July 7.

This result (i.e., increasing cases but decreasing deaths) seems counter-intuitive until we recall the following figure from an earlier post on this topic.  Note the drastic decrease in number of deaths per 100,000 cases as age decreases.

Thus, the mechanism by which cases can increase while deaths decreases can be posited, that being the average age of the recent cases is lower than in the past.  Of course the treatment protocols have likely also improved over time, thus also lowering the death rate.

Commentary

I refer to gaslighting because this is just another example of how the MSM and Progressive politicians manipulate information with the intention of:

maintaining and intensifying an incessant stream of lies and coercions, the gaslighter keeps the gaslightees in a constant state of insecurity, doubt, and fear.

Remember how, at the beginning of all this the goal was to “flatten the curve” for a few weeks so that hospitals would not be overwhelmed?  Then the goalposts were repeatedly moved to extend the scope, depth and length of the lockdown.

But something had to give, as keeping a nation of 330 million inhabitants in their homes indefinitely is an impossible task (at least in a somewhat free society).  So states began reopening at different rates, resulting in people congregating in bars and beaches (among other places).  We also had the massive protests (and riots) where generally young people mixed in large crowds without social distancing.

Thus there could be no other logical consequence of these events than an increase in cases.  Only a group of “experts” as ideologically lobotomized as our public health officials could imagine that the virus’ spread was ideologically dependent.

However, since the average age of these cases is likely lower, the number of deaths per case has also continued to decline (as well as from improved treatment protocols).  Obviously past performance is no guarantee of future results.  But this highly selective use of information to maintain hysteria about the threat of COVID-19 is without doubt part of the gaslighting campaign that occurs constantly and on many fronts in the United States.

Vetting Our Elite Masters (2)

440px-180515_ferguson_neil_sph_020

The man who launched the lockdown of Western Civilization, Dr. Neil Ferguson.

Dr. Neil Ferguson (1)

I have already discussed Dr. Neil Ferguson with regard to the Imperial College Model.  But his contribution to what is certainly a deep wounding of Western Civilization continues to be highlighted in many articles.  For example, here is a summary of the influence of his model on initial (and continuing) COVID-19 public policy (emphasis added).

In the current crisis the most alarming model, nay probably the most influential in the implementation of the draconian quarantines worldwide, projected a maximum of 2.2 million American deaths and 550,000 United Kingdom deaths unless there were severe restrictions for 18 months or until a vaccine was developed. The primary author: Neil Ferguson. …

Then a funny thing happened. A mere nine days after announcing his model, Ferguson said a better number for the U.K. would be only 20,000. The equivalent would be fewer than 80,000 American deaths.

The mind simply boggles at this sequence of events.  Dr. Ferguson’s predictions created a massive panic in both government officials and the general population.  The response in the West was a near uniform (Sweden excepted, and universally denounced) imposition of draconian, open ended lockdowns of social and economic commerce.

And yet, in the space of nine days this man and his model reduced the number of predicted deaths by a more than a factor of 27!  Note that nine days is far too short a time for any government policy to have taken effect fully, let alone turned the tide in number of deaths.  No, this was the admission of a massive, incredible error.  But the damage had already been done.  Here’s how one correspondent from the United Kingdom describes the situation (which is very similar to our own here in many States of the United States).

Well, this is where it really starts to matter. We are about a fortnight from the moment when huge numbers of jobs will be in danger of permanent extinction.

The only choice will be to spend so much non-existent money that even the wild gamblers who have taken over HM Treasury are scared to do it.

But here’s the problem for Mr Bumble [Boris Johnson, Prime Minister]. He did not just panic himself. He spread fear far and wide. More than half the population have been literally scared silly.

You meet them on pathways and pavements, flinching with real alarm at the approach of another human being as if bubonic plague were abroad. They genuinely fear to go back to normal life.

The above last two sentences accurately describe what is certainly a plurality (and maybe a majority) of people in the United States.  Thus, even if all our States were completely opened tomorrow our social, religious and economic lives would continue to suffer great self-inflicted harm.

What boggles the mind to an even higher level is the fact that Dr. Ferguson and his models have built a track record of massive failure over decades.  This article provides a good summary (emphasis added).

When it comes to wildly inaccurate predictions Prof. Ferguson’s work at Imperial College has a long and distinguished history. In 2002, he said that 50,000 people in the UK would die from “mad cow disease”, to date less than 200 have passed away; he predicted 200 million global deaths from the H5N1 bird flu. Currently it is a suspected factor in the deaths of 455 people world wide; in 2009 he told the UK Government that 65,000 could die from swine flu in the UK and worked with the World Health Organisation to predict millions of deaths from the H1N1 global flu pandemic.

Suspected resultant UK deaths from swine flu were estimated to be 457 and the global total showed 18,500 laboratory-confirmed deaths from the H1N1 pandemic. …

While Prof. Ferguson and his Imperial College colleagues have been consistently wrong they have also been unquestioningly believed by governments and intergovernmental bodies on every occasion. Seemingly without reservation.

Despite the clear evidence to the contrary, policy makers from all political parties have shown tremendous loyalty to Imperial College’s silly data models. In doing so, they have not only ignored the researchers woeful history of failed predictions but have also denied the scientific evidence which usually contradicts them.

In no way can basing policy decisions on Imperial Colleges computer models be considered science led decision making. Quite the opposite.

The last four sentences constitute a definitive description of our incompetent elite masters.  Dr. Ferguson and his models do not have credibility because of their track record of predictive accuracy, because the exact opposite has occurred.  No, he has credibility because of his academic credentials and position.  His models have credibility because they were developed in an academic institution with high prestige.

The reality is likely that government officials give this pathetic failure of a modeler credibility because  he will always give them reasons to expand their power.  The fear of mass death will always affect a significant portion of the public, who will then willingly cede another portion of their liberty in exchange for “safety” from the phantom, stupidly inaccurate predictions form the likes of Dr. Ferguson.

But it’s actually far worse than this, so stay tuned.

Are We in a State of Hysteria Over COVID-19? (5)

COVID-19-GIGO-Model

Reasons to Wonder

Model Based Projections

The IHME Model

Screen Shot 2020-04-11 at 12.43.57 PM

Sean Davis exposes the “successful social distancing” lie.

The discrediting of the Imperial and associated Act Now models (plus perhaps U.S. national pride) led to the selection of a new model as the authority on COVID-19 infections and deaths.  That model is the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) model.  However, given the experience of the Imperial model numerous journalists decided to take a more critical look at these models in general, and the IHME model in particular.

For example Sean Davis has carefully watched as the IHME modelers repeatedly significantly reduce their predicted deaths over just a few days.  In addition to debunking the dishonest excuse that these reductions were due to the success of “social distancing” he has commented on the implications for current policy (emphasis added).

We can not remain locked down another full month because the damage to the economy will be unbelievably deep and harmful to the average Americans. What we need to do now is not be afraid to reevaluate why these models were so inflated and whether that means we can start to transition back to normal life sooner rather than later.

Yes, there are risks, but there are also profound risks to essentially destroying the economy. That includes deaths that could be prevented by finding a middle ground that still promotes social distancing yet allows people to go back to work in most cases. Our leaders need to start coming up with some hard data about what aspects of our mitigation are actually working and what’s unnecessary. Right now, it feels as if we are flying blind, with very little rationale for some of the things we are doing. For example, would social distancing and masks be just as effective as a total lock down? These are the kinds of questions that must be answered soon.

Another journalist who has dug deep into the COVID-19 modeling scandal is Alex Berenson (emphasis added).

Screen Shot 2020-04-11 at 12.44.50 PM

Alex Berenson demolishes the Progressive elite claim that assumes time travel for its credibility.

… what Berenson is claiming is simple: the models guiding the response were wrong and that it is becoming clearer by the day.  …

“I’ve been paying incredibly close attention to the modeling and trying to figure out whether it lines up with what we’re seeing in reality — and the answer is it hasn’t lined up at all,” he said.

Recently he’s been focusing on discrepancies within the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) model. That model has come under renewed scrutiny as it has revised its metrics multiple times. It once predicted more than 90,000 deaths by August but recently issued a new estimate that has the figure closer to 60,000. Government officials say it’s a model that’s moving with what the country is doing. …

But Berenson argues that those models have social distancing and other measures baked into them. As for further proof, he says that outside of places like New York there has not been a national health crisis that was predicted — nor are there signs that the level of lockdown in various states has made a difference.

“Aside from New York, nationally there’s been no health system crisis. In fact, to be truly correct there has been a health system crisis, but the crisis is that the hospitals are empty,” he said. “This is true in Florida where the lockdown was late, this is true in southern California where the lockdown was early, it’s true in Oklahoma where there is no statewide lockdown. There doesn’t seem to be any correlation between the lockdown and whether or not the epidemic has spread wide and fast.”

If we eventually realize that we destroyed major sections of our economy in over response to this virus then a major cause would be use of these deceptive, inaccurate models.  For it is these models that our political and cultural leaders have used to justify their power grabs.

How can we tell the difference between politicians who were misled as opposed to those who enthusiastically sought unconstitutional power?  We can differentiate by their response to exiting this current social and economic lockdown.  Those who support a return to normalcy can be forgiven and trusted.  Those who demand indefinite continuation must be opposed and rejected.

 

Are We in a State of Hysteria Over COVID-19? (4)

Screen Shot 2020-04-03 at 7.42.50 AM

COVID Act Now site map

Reasons to Wonder

Model Based Projections

COVID Act Now Model

This model is summarized as follows:

The Imperial College report was also the basis for the modeling used by the website COVID Act Now, which local and state officials in the U.S. then used to issue “shelter-in-place” mandates. COVID Act Now, which was founded by a handful of Democratic activists in Silicon Valley, is an online mapping tool that generates models predicting coronavirus hospitalizations, which have also already proved to be wildly inaccurate.

Note that this model is based on the discredited Imperial Collage Model.  These Democratic activists have publicly stated their bias (emphasis added).

So why is the organization or seemingly innocent online mapping tool using inaccurate algorithms to scaremonger leaders into tanking the economy? Politics, of course.

Founders of the site include Democratic Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins and three Silicon Valley tech workers and Democratic activists …

Perhaps the goal of COVID Act Now was never to provide accurate information, but to scare citizens and government officials into to implementing rash and draconian measures. The creators even admit as much with the caveat that “this model is designed to drive fast action, not predict the future.”

They generated this model under the guise of protecting communities from overrun hospitals, a trend that is not on track to happen as they predicted. Not only is the data false, and looking more incorrect with each passing day, but the website is optimized for a disinformation campaign.

This example of highly partisan, politicized “scientific modeling” should cause great concern to all U.S. citizens.  What is exposed here is that naked use of, at best unreliable and at worst knowingly false, information to attain political power.  If we fail to recognize this situation and demand accountability then we are meekly submitting to these Pied Pipers of civilizational death and destruction.

Are We in a State of Hysteria Over COVID-19? (2)

hysteria

Reasons to Wonder

It would be irresponsible at this point to claim that our response to the COVID-19 situation is hysterical.  However, I do believe that it is legitimate to ask the question and explore the possibility that it is.  It’s indisputable that many people in the media, government and general population have behaved in hysterical ways as the pandemic unfolded.  But that fact in and of itself doesn’t necessarily mean that the overall government and cultural response is hysterical.  There are, however, reasons to wonder.

Model Based Projections

General Considerations

Given my previous concerns about the use of computer models to “predict” global warming / climate change (see here and here), it raises a yellow flag when I see our political leaders basing their decisions on this resource.  The flag turns to red when I hear the very people who claim expertise to create and interpret models of COVID-19 infection and mortality complaining about the lack of sufficient and/or accurate data.

A computer model can be conceptualized to consist of two main components, those being:

  1. The set of data necessary for the model to function and
  2. The mathematical functions that transform the input data into the desired output data.

In the cases of COVID-19 the data may be the number of new infections and deaths over time for a defined geographical region.  The transformation functions are difficult because the modeler must make assumptions about key dimensions and then convert these assumptions into mathematical relationships that describe reality, for example:

  • How contagious the virus is
  • The modes of virus transmission
  • Sensitivity of transmission to population density, mobility, etc.
  • Sensitivity of transmission to government policy (e.g., quarantine, stay at nome orders, etc.)
  • Severity of illness as functions of age, underlying health conditions, medical intervention, etc.
  • Mortality as functions of age, underlying health conditions, medical intervention, etc.
  • Among others…

Thus, when considering the predictions of models for a new and little-understood virus decision makers and the general public should respond with caution.  That is, they should understand that these models are not predictors of reality, but rather abstract, artificial constructions based on insufficient data and human understanding.  This all isn’t intended to exclude the use of models, but rather to ensure that their predictions are treated with the caution that the unseen but real uncertainties associated with their construction demand.

For those of us whose professional careers depend on mathematical modeling, and who are held accountable for the results, one statement attributed to the statistician George Box, best summarizes our position, that being: “All models are wrong, but some are useful.”  Dr. Deborah Birx of the White House COVID-19 task force put this model wisdom into practice with this recent statement.

“Models are models. When people start talking about 20% of a population getting infected, it’s very scary, but we don’t have data that matches that based on our experience.”

The good doctor isn’t denigrating models,  but she is insisting that they cannot be substitutes for reality.

We would all like to accurately predict the future for something as terrifying as a new virus that has caused a global pandemic.  And unfortunately there are too many people in the scientific community who are willing to take advantage of that desire.  So, when credulous politicians, media and general public come into contact with modelers seeking influence and notoriety, the results can be devastating.  In the following posts this issue will be illuminated  and discussed at length.

Defeating Progressivism (5)

Math is hard

Moral truth is so much easier than math truth!

The Burning Question

We “commoners” operate under the distinct disadvantage of not spending every waking hour planning the destruction of our political “enemies.”  As discussed in a previous post we just have so many priorities and interests other than the achievement of raw power over others.

We are currently a nation splintered into contending groups who appear to have lost the ability to communicate, let alone cooperate, with each other.  These groups can often (there are numerous exceptions) be be roughly divided into two primary camps.

The first is populated by people who tend to define themselves by associations and interests outside the realm of politics.  To them, though politics may be an important part of life, other domains like faith, family, neighbors, sports, etc. have clear priority.  Although there is no agreed name for this group, I’ll refer to them as the “commoners.”  This is justified not by any presumption of lower ability or value, but rather by the fact that they see themselves as part of a common heritage and culture.  Thus, they have appreciation for the nation and those through whom it was formed and maintained.  If there is a central organizing principle for this camp it is opposition to the idea that the nation must be “fundamentally transformed” in order for it to be valued.

So the question burning in my mind has been:

How can we “commoners” be motivated to set aside all of our sensible other interests for long enough to repulse the proto-totalitarian Progressive project?

A Possible Answer

In this time when family gatherings, church attendance, sports and all other normal human interests have been removed, I simply ask you to focus on these elite Progressive betters revealing their actual mental prowess.

Example #1

Screen Shot 2020-03-17 at 7.06.18 AM

I’ve previously posted on this incident.  This massive math error got past all of MSNBC’s reporters, editors and fact checkers to get onto the air.

Example #2

Screen Shot 2020-03-17 at 6.34.10 AM

The Federalist documented this amazing gaffe by Democrat Presidential Candidate Joe Biden.  To provide context, approximately 400.000 Americans died in World War II, which is 1/375’th of 150 million. In 2017 there were approximately 2.8 million deaths from all causes in the United States.  If we assume that number of annual deaths over the 13 years between 2007 and 2020 the result is 36.4 million total deaths from all causes, or less than one-quarter of 150 million.

Example #3

Screen Shot 2020-03-17 at 6.39.30 AM

Democrat Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders’ campaign manager claims that 170 million more Americans than there are Americans go bankrupt every year (!) due to medical debt.  Also, how can only 68 million Americans be “under insured” for health care when 500 million Americans go bankrupt every year due to health care bills?

Example #4

oac-math-woman

This one takes the cake.  I’ve previously commented on Congressperson Ocasio-Cortez’s economic “plans.”   What makes this example the perfect capstone is that it can be legitimately interpreted as (1) “You only question my plan’s math because I’m a WOMAN (you sexist PIG).” or (2)  “Because I’m a WOMAN you can’t expect my math to add up correctly.”  

 

So, here’s my motivational statement to we “commoners” in this time of political peril.

Do we want history to record that we were defeated by “elites” who demonstrated this level of mental acuity?

The Blog Year in Review: 2019

2019-Visits

Views increased by 28% and visitors by 37% over 2018.

I’m thankful to report that readership continued to significantly increase in 2019, as shown by the leading figure.

Posts-2019

Although most (i.e., almost 22%) of visits start at the current home page there are also visits targeted on specific posts.  This year two posts dominated, those being “Progressive Christianity’s Strange Bonhoeffer Compulsion (1)” and “A Brief Excursion into PCUSA Heresy.”  What’s interesting is that the Bonhoeffer post was published in 2017 and the Heresy post in 2016.  Thus there still exists a strong interest in these two areas years later.

The next seven posts (excluding “About Mark Birchler,” which is informational) are from 2019, with “Environmentalism Becomes a Death Cult (4)” the most popular.  Note that post numbers 1 and 6 of the environmentalism death cult series are also on the list.  I’m happy that two of my posts attempting satire, “A Tutorial on “Wokeness” for Old White Men” made the list in the top ten.  Two posts from the “Questions for Socialists” series also made the most popular list.

My readership continued to have a solid international flavor as shown in the following results for 2019 (with the top 21 countries listed in order).

World-2019

Finally, I published two eBooks in 2019, those being:

  1. God’s Acts of Providence
  2. A Denomination’s Debacle.

Thank you to all my readers for your interest and support!

Humility in a Circle

circle

Sometimes the simplest things teach us about humility.  What in our world seems simpler than a circle?  And yet it contains an eternal mystery that no human will ever be able to solve.  That’s because the area (A) of a circle is equal to Pi (π) times the Radius (r) squared, that is:

Screen Shot 2019-11-26 at 8.18.06 AM

It turns out that Pi is an irrational number, which is defined as:

The number pi, which has a constant value that approximately equals 3.14, is an irrational number. It is a type or real number that cannot be expressed as a common fraction. It has an infinite or endless decimal representation, without any repeating pattern.

To date Pi has been calculated out to 31,400,000,000,000 (31.4 trillion) decimal places.  And, given the nature of Infinity, 31.4 trillion is no closer to the answer than is 2.  That’s because any number divided by Infinity, no matter how large, is equal to exactly zero.

Thus, human beings can never know the exact area of a circle.  In our practical world that’s not a real problem.  But this situation can teach us humility given that something seemingly so simple has a characteristic that is utterly unknowable.  Perhaps we should consider this when proposing solutions to problems far more complex and intractable.

Screen Shot 2019-11-26 at 8.32.12 AM

Pi calculated out to 1,000 digits

The U.S. Christian Church in Crisis

us-flag-bible

religious-USThe United States will remain a Christian majority nation for the foreseeable future.  However the Pew Research Center predicts that over the forty years between 2010 and 2050 the proportion of Christians will fall from over three-fourths (78.3%) to barely two-thirds (66.4%).  Of this predicted 12 percentage point drop over 9 points will be due to the growth of “Unaffiliated” to more than a quarter of the nation’s population (from 16.4% to 26.6%).

However, it’s possible that the change in Christianity’s nature will dwarf its change in numbers.  Anyone who has been reading this blog can’t miss my documentation of the PCUSA’s transformation from a denomination that was recognizably Christian to one that is at best led by post-Christian if not pagans.  Of course many solid Christians and churches remain in the PCUSA, but they represent a shrinking minority.

Other Protestant denominations are also being challenged by the dominant secular culture. For example, the United Methodist Church is currently being riven by the same issues associated with gay ordination and marriage that split the PCUSA.

Another visible instance is the  Ebenezer/herchurch Lutheran church in San Francisco CA. This church is part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), a Mainline denomination that is in “full communion” with the PCUSA. This means that these denominations can share clergy and officially claim a “common calling.”   The following excerpt (misspelling not corrected) is one of many radical statements that have been pulled from the herchurch website. The photograph that accompanied this text is included, though the caption is by this author.

Goddess-Girl

This photograph from the herchurch web site shows a young lady (face hidden for privacy) holding a version of the neopagan Spiral Goddess among other non-Christian statues.

Embodying the Goddess

The liturgy, community and ministry of the congregation reflects diverse thealogical works and voices hoping to be a part of the prophetic voice of the divine feminine that will deconstruct Christianity and other patriarchal religions so that both a new paradigm and worldview may emerge that truly creates an egalitarian, just, society and eco-sensitivies that tend to mending the web of life.

Many Christians, even those who are a part of the progressive movement, often question the congregation’s Goddess focus. But more important are the voices of persons who had felt alienated and isolated by the church prior to learning about the work of herchurch. Pastor Stacy and the congregation who are embodying the Goddess are convinced that the nature of the sacred and divine presented in feminist-inclusive understandings can and will help facilitate a caring culture.

Perhaps the most radical denomination at this point is the Episcopal Church.  For example, “The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop and Primate, The Episcopal Church”  preached a stunning sermon on Acts 16:16-2.  In it the Most Reverend Jefferts Schori commented thusly on the Apostle Paul’s exorcism of a demon possessed girl:

But Paul is annoyed, perhaps for being put in his place, and he responds by depriving her of her gift of spiritual awareness.  Paul can’t abide something he won’t see as beautiful or holy, so he tries to destroy it.  It gets him thrown in prison.  That’s pretty much where he’s put himself by his own refusal to recognize that she, too, shares in God’s nature, just as much as he does – maybe more so!

There you have it!  The concept of Christian inclusion means that a demon possessed girl’s spirituality is likely of a higher quality than that of the Apostle Paul’s!

Even the supposedly conservative Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) has recently accepted “critical race theory and intersectionality” as “analytical tools” to be used in fostering racial reconciliation in the church. As discussed in this article excerpt, the resolution in question had been completely changed from one opposing these ideological tools to one in support and then rushed to a vote without due debate. This event should be a big Red Flag to orthodox Christians in the SBC.

In the original resolution, the language condemns critical race theory and intersectionality in no uncertain terms:

“critical race theory and intersectionality are founded upon unbiblical presuppositions descended from Marxist theories and categories, and therefore are inherently opposed to the Scriptures as the true center of Christian union…both critical race theory and intersectionality as ideologies have infiltrated some Southern Baptist churches and institutions—institutions funded by the Cooperative Program…critical race theory upholds postmodern relativistic understandings of truth and…divides humanity into groups of oppressors and oppressed, and is used to encourage biblical, transcendental truth claims to be considered suspect when communicated from groups labeled as oppressors.”

Clearly, all such condemnatory language was struck, and the “analytical tools” were held up and codified as “useful” by the committee so long as they were subordinate to the Bible. Put simply, Feinstein’s original resolution—condemning these philosophies—was transformed by the committee to endorse them.

Thus no Protestant Christian denomination is immune from this assault of deception, subversion and seduction.

The Catholic Church is experiencing an existential crisis in the area of sexual morality.  As state Attorney Generals have become more aggressive in pursuing sexually deviant Catholic clergy it has become undeniable that there has been a longstanding, wide and deep coverup of pederasty.  This scandal directly involves Catholic leaders at the top of the hierarchy.  Potentially even Pope Francis has been credibly implicated in the protection of criminal clergy to advance the coverup.  Unless the Catholic Church fundamentally reforms we could be heading for a crisis on the order of the Protestant Reformation.

Although most local churches operate outside direct influence of these issues, they are not immune from the same powerful cultural forces that have caused them.  Nor are these scandalous situations isolated from the rank and file.

These (and many other) examples indicate that the Western Christian Church is in a crisis.  In too many cases our leadership has become corrupt and heretical.  Too few pastors and parishioners are paying the attention necessary to understand what’s happening, let alone to create effective counter-strategies.

So, even if in 2050 two-thirds of Americans call themselves Christian, the content of that characterization may have so radically changed that it is unrecognizable to a Christian of 2019.