A church in Georgia is finally doing what responsible churches everywhere ought to do.
The Greater Piney Grove Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia spent most of the past year offering virtual services. It was the right move before vaccines were available. But because so many people haven’t been getting their shots for any number of conspiratorial non-medical reasons — only about 40% of Georgians are fully vaccinated — they remained virtual until earlier this month.
But just check out their rules for the in-person services:
- Everyone has to show proof of vaccination to attend a service. (Once you show it, they mark it off on their computers and you’re good for the future.) Everyone else is, of course, free to watch the service virtually. It’s not like they’re kicking you out of the congregation.
- Only 200 members are allowed inside for a service and they must register in advance, socially distance inside, and wear masks. (There are 3,000 members of the church, so this is fairly limiting for them.)
- Everyone gets a temperature check at the door; if you have possible symptoms of COVID, you’re not allowed inside.
- All staffers must be vaccinated. (Staffers who refused were fired.)
- Medical exemptions to vaccinations are permitted, but only with a doctor’s note.
- Everyone has to sign a waiver “where you say you never got Covid at church.” (I’m still not exactly sure what this is about, but it may just be a liability issue to protect the church.)
The church’s senior pastor Rev. William E. Flippin Sr. says he’s doing all this to protect his flock:
“It concerns me greatly,” said Flippin, who is fully vaccinated. “There are too many young people who won’t get the vaccine. The health of our congregation is the most critical.”
And if you think his rules are too restrictive? Well, just stay home. An all-powerful God surely won’t hold that distance against you. Plus, if you care that little about the health of other people, you have no right claiming you’re a moral person anyway.
Keep in mind that the church doesn’t want to do all these things. They have to because too many Americans are too damn irresponsible right now. If Christians think all churches should be gathering in person — without restrictions — the best thing they could do would be to get vaccinated and encourage it among everyone they know. But they won’t. Right now, a lot of conservative Christians are playing victim, doing the very least while complaining the loudest.
They’re the reasons for these limitations, not the secular people supposedly out to persecute them.