Religion & Beliefs

Save Your Community From the Flu and Other Scary Possibilities

The Washington Post has an article online about how various religious groups are working to make sure that they’re properly networked and everything in case of a flu epidemic. More than 125 leaders from churches, synagogues, temples and mosques met … Read More

By / June 12, 2007

The Washington Post has an article online about how various religious groups are working to make sure that they’re properly networked and everything in case of a flu epidemic.

More than 125 leaders from churches, synagogues, temples and mosques met recently at the Fairfax County Government Center to grapple with questions ranging from the practical to the theological as they began preparing their communities for the possibility of a flu outbreak.

Houses of worship could play a crucial role in managing such an epidemic, say religious leaders and health officials, because they have such large constituencies and are intimately involved in the daily life of the community. Not only are they gathering places for hundreds of thousands of parishioners and groups such as Scouts and senior citizens, but they also minister to the disadvantaged.

It is "a substantial religious network that, if properly organized with the right kind of spirit, can have a tremendous positive impact on helping to do our part to ensure domestic tranquility," said Lewis Saylor, a member of Faith Communities in Action, a coalition of diverse religious organizations that organized the meeting last month with the Fairfax County Health Department and the county's Community Interfaith Office.

Full story I mentioned before that when I read Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago I learned all about how effective churches were at getting senior citizens out of potentially lethal heat. Clearly synagogues and mosques can and do provide similar services, but only to people they know about. If you know of someone who lives alone, and has trouble getting around on his or her own, make sure someone at your shul knows about them, too. Firstly, because it’s nice to visit the ill, and secondly because you want to be able to help in case of an emergency.