Several states have deemed their places of worship as essential services, while several others are choosing to defy stay-at-home orders.
The U.S. is going to face a tough few weeks—U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said the next week would be the "hardest and the saddest" for "most Americans' lives." President Donald Trump also seemed to agree, saying at one of his daily briefings: “This will be the toughest week. There will be a lot of death, unfortunately.” You'd think that, given the circumstances, and all these warnings, people would stay at home, but no—thousands of Americans attended Palm Sunday services on Sunday, according to the Los Angeles Times. Several states have deemed their places of worship as essential services, and according to NPR, several other states are choosing to defy orders to keep doors open for places of worship.
Jack Roberts, a 76-year-old preacher at Maryville Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky, told the Courier-Journal that he would rather face a fine than close his doors. “I’m not interested in trying to defy the government,” he said. “I don’t want to battle with anybody. What I’d like to do is just preach the gospel, and that’s become more difficult as time’s gone on. And it’s truthfully what I plan on doing.” In response to Roberts' plan to keep his doors open, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said, "If you're still holding mass gatherings, church or otherwise, you were spreading the coronavirus. And you were likely causing the death of Kentuckians. It's that clear."
All of them should be fined until it hurts, tested and then made to be of service in a hospital cleaning so the workers get a break— DM (@DM79707257) April 5, 2020
When CNN reported on a woman who went to church despite the repeated warnings, she responded by saying that she would not fall sick because she was covered in Jesus' blood. Shockingly, she also added that she went to places like 'Walmart' and 'Home Depot' every day and that she didn't fear these places because she believed that Jesus' blood would save her from the pandemic. Dayton Daily News reported that Pastor Lawrence Bishop II told his congregation that his church had been targetted for holding services, but the people queued outside department stores just seem to get away with it. He said that no one was blaming those who “packed into Lowes this morning, elbow to elbow and a two-hour wait to get in.”
Yep. I'm all out of empathy for people still gathering like this.— Yo Dammit (@YoDammit) April 5, 2020
Do their health insurance plans cover claims originating from wilful reckless endangerment?
“It’s not the people at the bars that are hating on us and attacking us, it’s other Christians or other churches and I guess they want to justify their own, listen we’re not bashing you if you don’t want to have the church,” Bishop said amidst applause. “But I say the scripture that says forsake not to assemble yourselves together more so when you see the end approaching if we don’t see the end approaching now, if this is not the beginning of the end then I don’t know what is.” “While I understand that you have the right to assemble, I also understand the community’s concerns with having such a large gathering coming together in this current environment,” Monroe Mayor Jason Frentzel wrote to places of worship.
I was raised to believe that we were given the responsibility of self determination. not blindly following a religion, that it's not about the building or even the congregation but rather my personal relationship with God. This is beyond careless.— 🐉Kate a eu jusqu'à ici avec cette merde 👹 (@K8TDidToo) April 5, 2020
“I implore you to please reconsider your choice to continue to offer in-person services to your worshipers.” However, Pastor Tony Spell defied these orders and held services at Life Tabernacle Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He was arrested last week, but held a mass gathering on Sunday, reports Reuters. Worshippers flocked to the church in 26 buses. "They would rather come to church and worship like free people than live like prisoners in their homes,” Spell told reporters. The pastor then asked: “Could it be that it is worse than the people who have already contracted this virus and died?” He then added that worshippers had “nothing to fear but fear itself.”
This is completely irresponsible.— BWS2K (@TheReal_BWS2K) April 5, 2020
Worship in your living room. Fellowship on the phone. Submit to the authorities over you that are all but begging you to not do this.