• Rick Laib

If It's Not 19 Things, It's Another

I just finished reading a very encouraging article in the Wall Street Journal; it appears that while people still continue to be diagnosed with COVID-19, the death toll appears to be slowing.  Further, governors in New Jersey, Louisiana, and other hard-hit states expressed with respect to the Coronavirus, "Cautious optimism that stringent social-distancing measures have helped slow the virus's spread." 

This is good news.  Equipment is going out, medical needs are being met, and infection is slowing.  That is all good news.  Now I would like to review some real news.  

I say “review” because I am not introducing anything nor telling you something you do not already know.  Additionally, I write “real” because it is not entirely bad.  It is just real.  Here it is: 

You are going to die. 

If you catch COVID-19, you are going to die although statistically speaking you probably will not die from the disease.  All the information we have points to the fact that you will most likely recover.  But then eventually you will still die.  If you do not get COVID-19, and you are absolutely clear from what is happening, you are still eventually going to die.  If you abandon all of the hygiene recommendations, you are going to die, and if you quarantine yourself from all other humans, you are still going to die. 

It is true: you are going to die.  You are going to die, and while you might be able to delay or postpone it, your death will still happen.  It may be by way of a dramatic accident, or it may be that after enough time on this earth your body will peacefully shut down.  But it will happen, and the crazy part—the real crazy part—is that most of us will not even see it coming.  But it will happen.

It seems to me that discussion about what happens after you die would be relevant and pressing.  To shrug off an "after death" conversation suggesting nothing happens after you die would be to deny almost every news item we have read over the last couple of weeks, right?  Our global culture has been put on hold, the likes of which we have almost never seen, because of a virus that threatens human life.  There is a very real sense that we cannot deny that "something" happens after we die.  No, I think deep down we all know something happens after we die and that whatever happens, matters.   

I have more good news: you need not investigate too deeply here.  World religions have advanced different claims on what happens after you die.  I will not be so arrogant to try and summarize all of the different world religions here, but I will say this: if you are interested in investigating what happens after you die, start with Christianity.  The claims of the Bible are testable, verifiable, and not only hold that salvation can be known, it says salvation is free.  You just will not get that deal anywhere else. 

So now I abruptly change directions.  I have written about COVID-19, claimed that your life will one day end, and suggested (briefly, yet straightforwardly) that you should look into the claims of the Bible in order to make sense of those two points.  Now you may ask this question, "Why discuss this in a political blog?"

There are two answers: firstly, I discuss this because if I am right, and I think that I am, what happens after you die will be the most important topic you can research.  We have only the absence of reasons to not discuss it here. 

Secondly, my choosing to write on this topic essentially demonstrates the freedom of religion we have in this country, and this should appeal to you.  What I did two paragraphs ago was advance, freely, my religious belief.  Some will reject my views about the afterlife.  You are free to do so just as I am free to advance them.  This shared freedom is promised to you in the Constitution and essential to our republic.  It puts the persuasiveness of religious ideas not on their force but on the merit of their ideas.  What you want, then, is to support a candidate in any race, that respects the role of religious institutions.  You want a candidate that values the promotion of religion in civil society.  You want a candidate that would refrain from establishing a state religion or would prohibit the free exercise of personal religious beliefs. 

In summation (re-ordered):

-You will die.

-Christianity is not the only religion addressing what happens after you die, but a thoughtful researcher will wisely start there.

-In a free society, I am free to advance Christianity, and you are free to accept or reject it.  That should be attractive to you.

-Look to see if the candidate you support supports the free exercise of religion.  

-Continue to wash your hands.  

Rick Laib is the Republican candidate for the 11th Congressional District in Illinois. He can be reached at

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