Faith

Defying Stay Home Orders Doesn’t Make Churches More Faithful

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I think one of the most disturbing aspects of the pandemic must be churches scoffing at stay home orders. It’s as if they’re trying to prove they have more faith than others.

You would not have to spend much time finding examples of churches reportedly going against stay home orders in this pandemic.

In a Louisiana case, a police chief says a pastor’s arrest followed “weeks” of urging said pastor to not hold services despite the health risk.

“We are facing a public health crisis and expect our community’s leaders to set a positive example and follow the law,” Central Police Chief Roger Corcoran told The Advocate.

Some pastors, unfortunately, see stay home orders as some sort of attack on church or religion itself.

It isn’t.

The human race is what’s under attack. A virus is posing a genuine threat to human life that is resulting In thousands of deaths. Medical experts say it is possible hundreds of thousands of people could die from COVID-19.

The same medical experts insist the best way to reduce the spread, or at least slow it enough as to not overwhelm our health care system, is social distancing.

Social distancing means staying out of crowded spaces and keeping a safe distance between each other.

Social distancing is not what you find in a church service.

For most of us, I think that understanding is clear. For a handful, including some religious leaders, it’s not.

That’s disturbing. And extraordinarily disappointing.

Common sense ought to be something that applies to all people, including church members.

I feel tempted to compare pastors who ignore the risk with those who handle venomous snakes, believing God will magically protect them from a deadly bite.

But the two aren’t comparable.

Holding services with people packed together just to be defiant is much worse. If you make the misguided choice to handle that venomous snake, you’re the only one the snake is likely to bite.

But when you pack thousands into a space, there’s the potential for hundreds to become infected, even from people who aren’t themselves symptomatic.

No, I’m not a doctor. I don’t have a medical degree. But I have common sense. And according to two different churches, which conducted a “spiritual gifts test,” I test high in discernment.

If that’s a spiritual gift God truly provides, it seems to me we should make better use of it.

If you’re a church leader who holds services despite stay home orders just to “prove something,” is that a good use of wisdom?

I can’t imagine that God, who gave most of us at least enough wisdom to discern that it’s a bad idea, would be pleased.

Or even impressed.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 29 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.