In my country of birth, the Netherlands, there’s an expression that goes Wie niet horen wil moet maar voelen. That translates, approximately, to He who won’t hear should expect to feel. In other words, if you don’t listen to reason, the consequences may hurt.
And so it is with the pastor and congregants of Clays Mill Baptist Church in Nicholasville, Kentucky.
Via the Lexington Herald-Leader:
An Independent Fundamental Baptist church in Jessamine County that resumed in-person services in mid-May, and whose pastor pressured the governor to reopen churches early, is now the site of a COVID-19 outbreak, local health officials said.
At least 17 congregants at Clays Mill Baptist Church in Nicholasville … have been diagnosed with the viral respiratory disease. … The ages of those with the virus range from children to the elderly.
Pastor Jeff Fugate, who’s led the church for nearly 30 years, said on Friday by phone that he felt “terrible” about the outbreak. “I care more about the health of my people than anyone,” he said.
Want more Dutch folk wisdom? Berouw komt na de zonde. Remorse comes after the sin — when it’s too late to change the unpleasant reality of one’s chosen conduct.
In late April, Fugate joined Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who threatened to sue Gov. Andy Beshear [a Democrat, TF] if he didn’t rescind his executive order preventing churches from holding in-person services. Fugate testified that churches could meet in person safely.
At least two of the people who’ve tested positive are in Fugate’s family.
Over the last few weeks, he’s wondered what he could’ve done differently. But ultimately, Fugate said, “I don’t know of anything we could’ve done differently. I don’t. That’s why I just feel so bad.”
- Listening to public-health experts, medical authorities, and leaders like the governor, who all urged people to stay at home, would’ve helped.
- No one could’ve gotten sick through online services.
- During the physical church get-togethers, mask-wearing would’ve been beneficial — Fugate says he recommended masks, just not consistently.
- Not singing together — that is, not spraying droplets into the air — could also have prevented infections. Fugate says he was prudent by having his congregation sing just two or three songs instead of the usual six or seven. That’s roughly as smart as willfully standing in a fire for just two or three minutes instead of six or seven, and then claiming afterwards from the burn ward that you did a bang-up job.
Fugate said he and his staff have decided to hold off on in-person services until June 21, at which time the congregation will meet under a tent as part of what’s described on Facebook as a “huge tent revival.”
This should end well.
(Screenshot via YouTube)