COVID-19

See also Coronavirus

COVID-19 and the Struggle for Worship in Canada

"The article is simply intended to alert American believers of the shuttering of places of worship in Canada that seems more stringent than similar closures in the United States.... many American evangelicals have limited or no knowledge of churches to our north who are facing similar or more rigorous restrictions from various parts of the Canadian government. This is their story." - P&D

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New Mexico church responds to $10K fine for holding services amid COVID-19

"The church was fined for allegedly violating restrictions on in-person worship services and mask mandates implemented by the New Mexico Department of Health. The restrictions, which went into effect on Dec. 15, require churches located in “red-level” counties to cap attendance at 25% of capacity." - CPost

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Will Those Who Get Vaccinated Against COVID-19 Be Injected With a Microchip? No.

"A viral social media video insinuates that the COVID-19 vaccine contains trackable  microchips that will be injected into vaccine recipients. The video, just under 4 minutes long, is a composite of clips .... they create a false impression that those who get vaccinated for COVID-19 will be injected with a 'forced chip with a tracking device.'" - The Dispatch

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Cuomo, COVID and the "Deadly Game"

In the last article, we saw the Court determined public health considerations cannot run roughshod over religious liberty concerns. Justice Gorsuch, who seemed particularly outraged, quipped the Constitution does not take a sabbatical during a pandemic. However, Justices Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan disagree. They wish to continue to defer to Governors and public health orders.

Thus, according to experts, the risk of transmission is higher when people are in close contact with one another for prolonged periods of time, particularly indoors or in other enclosed spaces. The nature of the epidemic, the spikes, the uncertainties, and the need for quick action, taken together, mean that the State has countervailing arguments based upon health, safety, and administrative considerations that must be balanced against the applicants’ First Amendment challenges.

Breyer dissent, p. 4.

I suspect (but, of course, cannot prove) these Justices simply do not appreciate the importance of religious worship and are therefore incapable of adequately protecting it. I’m unmoved by stories about how Joe Biden (et al) have “deep Christian faith.” The Christian faith isn’t play-dough to be molded and appropriated by the owner. It’s objective. It has content. It has meaning. The ideologies of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris (and, for that matter, President Trump) largely do not comport with the Christian faith and message.

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Cuomo, COVID, and the Notorious ACB

This past Wednesday (25 November 2020), the Supreme Court (“SCOTUS”) barred restrictions on religious services in New York that Gov. Cuomo had imposed to combat COVID-19. The vote was 5-4. If the late Justice Ginsburg were on the bench instead of Amy Barrett, it would have gone the other way.

This is not a permanent decision. Justice Kavanaugh explains:

Importantly, the Court’s orders today are not final decisions on the merits. Instead, the Court simply grants temporary injunctive relief until the Court of Appeals in December, and then this Court as appropriate, can more fully consider the merits.

Kavanaugh concurring opinion, p. 1.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, along with some Orthodox Jewish synagogues, asked for injunctive relief from Gov. Cuomo’s order that “imposes severe restrictions on attendance at religious services in areas classified as ‘red’ or ‘orange; zones. In red zones, no more than 10 persons may attend each religious service, and in orange zones, attendance is capped at 25,” (Decision, p. 1).

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COVID, the Church, the State and a More Excellent Way?

I wrote this article for the congregation where I serve, based on our specific context. It may not be your context!

What to think about government public health edicts and the Church regarding COVID-19? In an outburst of representative frustration, a Southern Baptist theologian recently posted the following on Twitter in response to his Governor’s new lockdown restrictions which, among other things, forbade dancing:1

As the American philosopher Yosemite Sam has often remarked, “them’s fightin’ words!”

Basic principles

We begin with some principles to help us consider how to react to the latest public health directive from Governor Inslee.

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