ALBANY, N.Y. — Concerns are being raised after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in speaking on the apparent plateauing of COVID-19 cases in the state, said on Monday that “God did not do that” but human effort in social distancing. He repeated his view on Tuesday, stating, “God did not stop the spread of the virus” but men’s behavior. While emphasizing that men’s actions are important and have measurable consequences, his insinuation that the results are not also related to divine intervention is drawing scrutiny.
“I’m not confident that the worst is over. I said if you look at the numbers, … the numbers suggest a plateauing, slight increase, but a plateauing, which is what the experts have talked about. That’s what the numbers say. I also say whatever those numbers say is a direct result of what we do,” he stated in answering a question from the press during his daily briefing on Monday.
“I’ve said if we do something stupid, you will see those numbers go right back up tomorrow, period. The worst can be over, and it is over unless we do something reckless. And you can turn those numbers on two or three days of reckless behavior,” Cuomo continued.
He went on to compare the situation to being on a diet, outlining that the numbers will reflect the actions of the people.
“I lose self-discipline today, and I go home and I eat like a horse. And I’ll get on that scale, it’s going to give me a different number tomorrow. It is directly a result of what you do today,” Cuomo explained.
However, he then added, “The number is down because we brought the number down. God did not do that. Fate did not do that. Destiny did not do that. A lot of pain and suffering did that.”
“And that’s why we lost five pounds, because we went out every day and we exercise and we burned more calories than we ate,” Cuomo said, referring to his diet analogy. “That’s how it works. It’s math. And if you don’t continue to do that, you’re going to see that number go back up. And that will be a tragedy if that number goes back up.”
The following day, the governor repeated his views to CNN reporter Alysin Camerota, stating in an interview, “Our behavior has stopped the spread of the virus. God did not stop the spread of the virus. And what we do, how we act, will dictate how that virus spreads.”
While not disagreeing that Americans need to play their part in flattening the curve, some found Cuomo’s remarks to be dismissive of God and His sovereignty.
“[S]o much for his supposed faith. So much for his Catholicism. When you say God has nothing to do with help and relief in a time of crisis, you are a pretty lousy advertisement for any faith you might proclaim to have. Atheists are always happy to make such remarks, but why someone claiming to be religious?” asked commentator Bill Muehlenberg.
He said that Cuomo was wrong in severing God from the picture.
“No biblical Christian makes this false distinction: they know that God acts, and we are to act. It is not either-or, but both-and. In so many areas we have genuine cooperation going on. So with corona, we take sensible measures in health and safety, and we also seek the help of God,” Muehlenberg explained.
“The Bible makes it crystal clear that both do indeed work together. Thus we are quite right to emphasize divine sovereignty. But we are also quite right to emphasize human responsibility. We must push both of these biblical truths — simultaneously.”
“That’s a pretty bold statement coming from a governor presiding over a pandemic that is currently leveling thousands and filling a mass grave as things begin to slightly improve: ‘God did not do that,'” also remarked Jonathan Van Maren of the Roman Catholic Life Site News.
“Perhaps Cuomo is simply warning people not to abandon the measures that have assisted in ‘flattening the curve,’ or emphasizing the responsibility citizens have to public health. But it also means that no matter how loudly God speaks, some of our leaders are refusing to acknowledge the total lack of control they have and the puniness of their power.”
PUBLICLY CREDITING GOD TOO
As previously reported, a number of coronavirus patients have unashamedly credited God and not solely the efforts of man — as vital as they were — with their recovery.
Last month, Georgia resident Clay Bentley said that he felt God “breathe life” into his lungs, telling the media, “What kept me going? I just have had to spend a lot of time with the Lord. I’ve never been this sick in my entire life. … He’s healed my body and I’m ready to be a witness. I’m ready to be alive for Him.”
Geneva Wood, a 90-year-old woman from Washington State, told reporters that God gave her the strength to overcome the coronavirus, and that she couldn’t have made it without Him.
“His hands were on my body, and I could feel His presence — that I could wake up and feel these hands, and I went back to sleep,” she told CBN News. “And through the night, as I’d wake up, I couldn’t see His face but I could feel His hands and knew He was with me. And I made it through the night.”
Barbara Killiebrew of Georgia also publicly proclaimed that God had given her a second chance, outlining that during her police escort home from the hospital, she thought to herself, “It could have been a funeral, but instead, God has it turned around for a celebration.”
And a pastor from Northern Ireland recorded a video to tell the world how God had sent a housekeeper to his hospital room to pray for him, and he soon began to recover.
“[A]s he stood at the door — he couldn’t touch me — he began to ask God, the Holy Ghost, to visit me. He began to ask God to heal my body and touch my lungs,” Lee McClelland remembered. “He stood in that doorway and pleaded with God almighty to spare my life and to continue to use me.”
The housekeeper even later brought the exact items that McClelland had been secretly praying for once his food cravings returned.
“Don’t tell me that God doesn’t know. God knows our every need; He knows our every desire,” McClelland told viewers. “He’s an incredible savior, who even down to the finer details of life, when His son desired a packet of Tayto prawn cocktail [crisps], God sent a cleaner …”
As previously reported, last year, Cuomo signed a bill that enshrines Roe v. Wade into state law and allows babies to be killed during the third trimester if they are not expected to survive or if they are deemed to threaten the health or life of the mother.
In 2018, he also decried what he called “extreme conservatives” in the government, stating, “This is their view of the world. This is their view of religion. This is their view of what God says should be done. And their view of what God says should be done is the view they’re going to impose on you by law.”
“They have their views and they’re going to impose their views on you,” he remarked on another occasion. “They have their views about what religion is right and wrong, what lifestyle is right and wrong, what sexuality is right and wrong, who should be an immigrant and who’s right and who’s wrong. They have their views, and in a great act of hypocrisy, they are going to use the federal government to impose those views on you.”