In the least shocking news you’ll see all day, it turns out people who gather in churches — that is to say: in large groups, in enclosed spaces, while only pretending to social distance, not always wearing face masks, and all for an activity that typically involves being very close to everyone else — are spreading COVID.
In fact, according to a New York Times piece, the lack of precautions and the desire to worship dangerously rather than doing it online has resulting in numerous local outbreaks and multiple deaths.
Pastors and their families have tested positive, as have church ushers, front-door greeters and hundreds of churchgoers. In Texas, about 50 people contracted the virus after a pastor told congregants they could once again hug one another. In Florida, a teenage girl died last month after attending a youth party at her church.
More than 650 coronavirus cases have been linked to nearly 40 churches and religious events across the United States since the beginning of the pandemic, with many of them erupting over the last month as Americans resumed their pre-pandemic activities, according to a New York Times database.
The “hug” pastor (who also tested positive) apologized and said he shouldn’t have allowed hugging. Which means he was too stupid to realize that was a bad idea to begin with.
The teenage girl attended a church event with roughly 100 people with no precautions whatsoever. Her mother is a MAGA cultist who treats Donald Trump like a medical doctor, giving her daughter “medicine” that had no proven ability to fight the virus.
A number of pastors have argued that remaining closed is a form of oppression and anti-Christian discrimination, defying all evidence to the contrary, because they love pretending to be martyrs for the cause.
And then there are the conservative legal groups filing lawsuits against sensible lockdown orders on grounds that the government is choosing certain activities over churchgoing:
“They’re downplaying the role that religion plays in the lives of Americans and suggesting it’s more important to go to the gym than to go to church,” said Kristen K. Waggoner, general counsel of the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative religious-liberty group that brought the Nevada lawsuit and has challenged other state restrictions on religious gatherings. She said that the vast majority of churches meet or exceed federal health guidelines for reopening.
“More important” isn’t the issue. While you should still avoid public gyms right now, going to a place that’s frequently wiped down and where you’re not going to interact with other people is substantively different from a church gathering, which is much more like an indoor concert. It’s disingenuous to pretend otherwise. Either those lawyers realize it and don’t care or they’re just awful at their jobs. Take your pick.
If your pastor is telling you to come to church right now — under those harmful conditions that have led to the spread of the virus in so many other places — that pastor doesn’t care about your life and you need to escape whatever death cult you’re inside. Some people care more about the building they’re in than the well-being of their congregations.
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