Should churches remain closed in the midst of a pandemic? The impact of the Covid -19 pandemic has been ongoing since March 2020. Seven months in, many churches remain closed. People can attend church services online . The possibiliity of people contracting Covid 19 seems to be great when they are gathered in church sevices . There were 650 cases where people who attended religious services contracted Covid-19.
Is it more vital to protect Constitutional rights which grant freedom of religion and separation of church and state ? Or is it more important to protect the lives of human beings during the worst pandemic since the Spanish Flu?
There are religious people who would argue that they should be able to attend church and praying will protect them against the deadly virus. If only this was true. Pastors and their congregation have spread the virus by hugging and engaging in close contact.
This view is opposed by members of the scientific community and people who are not religious. They argue that religous assembly, when it endangers lives and contributes to the spread of a pandemic, should be banned . In fact ; some states have taken this even further. In Nevada, there can be no religous gatherings of more than 50 people. In California, people cannot sing in a place of worship. Are we becoming a society of Draconian laws and religion is merely the first stepping stone down a pathway of reducing our freedoms ?
Is the fear that surrounds this virus leading to more religous intolerance? In a time when people are socially isolated, don’t they need human interaction more than ever? People are dealing with stress ; churches often have offered a place of solitude. With that place of solitude now gone, where do people go for advice?
Can they adapt in a world where religous activity takes on a new form of practicing alone or listening to a sermon online ?
Maybe the outcome of this pandemic will be that people become more spiritual. They learn to engage with God or the Higher Force in a different way. It has worked for the Buddhist monks and it worked for people when churches did not exist. Maybe we are not getting rid of religion by not having churches. Perhaps it is being replaced with a more profound relationship with God that is not based on who your religous leader is or how many tithes you pay.
We may emerge from this pandemic as a kinder people who do what is best for all of us, even if that means overriding some of the outdated views of the Constitution. If religious activity is the only thing that does and is maintaining our humanity, the opposite may be true at the end of this tunnel.