So says Saudi Arabia, which sponsors the haj and makes serious coin off of it. The haj usually draws about 2.5 million pilgrims for a week of fun and bone-crushing stampedes in 110-degree sunshine, but not this year, because of the virus.
Now no one, especially Republicans, ever accuses Muslims of not being serious about their religion. Many Republicans consider Islam savage, with punishments like cutting off a hand for stealing, even though in some Republican states you can get twelve years in prison for shoplifting, which makes it more of an even deal. A Muslim might have to honor kill his sister if she has sex before marriage, whereas with a Christian evangelical, if his sister has sex before marriage, it’s probably with him. Different strokes, y’all.
And certainly, Christians do not require members of their faith to meet in, say, Jacksonville in the summer, turn off the AC, and stampede all over each other. But they may be required to attend the Republican convention there.
Yep, a religion that believes its founder flew off to Heaven on a winged horse when he was finished dictating its interminable holy book is willing to make more accommodation for science than the party of Trump. The Caucasian-in-Chief, whose demand for worship puts most of mankind’s 3,000 or so deities to shame, will not accept his coronation by the GOP unless it’s done shoulder-to-shoulder in a sea of red, each delegate yowling virus-infected spittle into the air.
Not only the GOP convention is going to be done by a big, sweaty crowd, but Trump is going to resume campaign rallies before the big show. This will give random yicklanders a chance to get together and sneeze on each other, creating a pyramid of infection that will top out at the convention and bubble through other rallies clear to November.
This may strike you as being dumber than a bucket of shucked clams, which is why you won’t see many of the cleverer Republican crooks at the convention. Mitch McConnell won’t be there, and neither will Rush Limbaugh. The coronavirus will have to take its chances with Louie Gohmert, Matt Gaetz and Scott Baiao.
Of course, precautions will be taken, although facemasks will not be worn. Temperature checks will be mandatory—in fact, the new MAGA hats will probably have built-in thermometers. Black-market hydroquinone dealers will be nearly as ubiquitous as gay escorts, and occasionally you might smell bleach on someone’s breath instead of booze.
On the night when Trump takes the floor, and bellows out whatever slogan he’s conjured for this election—I’ve heard “I alone can fix what I’ve fucked up,” and I think that has a nice ring to it, and 15,000 delegates cough their approval, you might pause to reflect that Islam, a religion that wants everybody to go back to the Middle Ages, believes in a pandemic that will have killed three-quarters of a million people by then, and the Republican Party, which holds American First In Everything as one of its commandments, does not.
Doesn’t Allah love irony?