When your pastor insists on hold in-person church services in the midst of a pandemic, and when government mandates against large gatherings are avoided by church members, what can the community do to protect public health?
Take a tip from the landlord of a church in central California: He changed the locks so they couldn’t meet.
Members of the Cross Culture Christian Center in Lodi showed up for service on Sunday, only to find they couldn’t get inside the building. Their landlord, part of the Bethel Open Bible Church, blocked them a week after the San Joaquin County Health Department told the church it had to shut down. Lodi police officers even gave them a cease and desist order.
“I’m not thrilled in general with the restriction on religious liberties,” said Jeremy Duncan, the pastor’s brother. “Especially during what is Christian’s most holy week.”
His brother, Pastor Jon Duncan, had continued to hold in-person services despite the coronavirus outbreak.
“We’re going to meet as often as we can meet, and we do believe that this right is protected by the 1st Amendment and should be considered essential,” Duncan said in an interview with Fox 40 last week.
Give the unnamed landlord a medal. Or perhaps a roll of toilet paper. He’s doing more to stop the spread of the virus than Pastor Jon Duncan ever will.
Remember: All of these churches could easily live-stream their services. Many pastors across the country are delivering sermons via Zoom or Facebook. It’s not ideal, but it works. When pastors insist on meeting in person, it’s because they think they’re above the law and immune to viruses. They are neither.
(Thanks to everyone for the link)