Easter Candy with Face Mask On
Despite stay-at-home orders, many churches went ahead with in-person Easter services, putting lives at risk.

Easter is one of Christianity’s holiest days, and one where families and communities gather together to celebrate. But the global coronavirus pandemic has changed many aspects of our lives, and also restricted group gatherings like the ones that would typically occur on an Easter Sunday any other year. 

Most people honored the quarantine orders and their faith at the same time by attending church services virtually from home. Many churches offered a drive in Easter service, where families could pull into the parking lot and listen to the minister from the safety of their cars, allowing them to obey social-distancing requirements while worshipping together. And yet, others ignored the mandates all together, making the choice to put church members and the public at risk. Several church gatherings have been linked to deadly COVID-19 outbreaks.

Churches Ignore Orders

In no place has this played out as dramatically as the state of Kentucky. First, Governor Andy Beshear banned public gatherings of more than 10 people on March 19th by executive order. Kentucky has had 2,050 positive cases and 106 deaths as of Tuesday April 14th.

In response, Rev. Jack Roberts of Marysville Baptist Church announced that he would proceed as planned with the 11 AM in-person sermon in defiance of the governor's order. The congregation then additionally received a state backed notice from the Bullitt County Health Department to cease in-person gatherings "immediately", which they also ignored.

Between 40 and 50 people arrived Easter morning to a parking lot with nails dumped out across the entrances. They are not sure who spread the nails, but they did not let it deter them. Volunteers cleaned up and then proceeded inside of the building. 

Kentucky State Police were present and patrolling, taking down license plates and leaving large signs on windshields accusing those present of “creating scenes of an emergency”. Upon exiting the building they were told they would be forced to put themselves in a 14 day self-quarantine, to which several of them audibly responded they would not comply.

It is not clear what the gathering of the license plates will be used for, but the Health Department may use them to contact those who attend the service with quarantine instructions. In any case, the Reverend Roberts says he will be ignoring any such orders.

The Worst is Possible

Because there can be up to a 14 day window where someone is contagious but shows no symptoms of the disease, it is too early yet to know the consequences. Hopefully this will not result in an outbreak among those that attended, but only time will tell.

But as other churches worldwide have been hotbeds of coronavirus outbreaks, it’s possible that the worst might happen.

Where do you stand? Is it irresponsible to ignore these state mandates for public safety? Is it right for some to risk the health and safety of the public at large so they can worship as they please? Or should they do as millions others did this Easter - stay home, watch a livestreamed Easter service, and help flatten the curve?

19 comments

  1. Ty Ford's Avatar Ty Ford

    I don't care how strong you think you are, how strong you think your faith is and who you are washed in the blood of, if you are active in behaviors that will endanger others you're wrong.

  1. amacooke's Avatar amacooke

    It is not very Christian to put the lives of others in danger just so that you can get your own way, nor would it be something that Jesus would do.

  1. Dan Anderson's Avatar Dan Anderson

    Personally, I find this kind of defiance childish, to say the least. It is an obvious threat to one's neighbor (in church or elsewhere) and, if the "rebel" is susceptible, a threat to themselves.

    Apparently, to "follow the laws of the land" as commanded by their own rabbi, Jesus, does not qualify as even a suggestion, let alone a commandment. It also does not hold to the saying of "Love they neighbor as yourself." Why would a person deliberately put themselves in the "line of fire" of a most deadly disease, knowing that it could not only threaten your own health, but those of your friends and family members.

    I do NOT understand.

    1. Vern Dee Wall's Avatar Vern Dee Wall

      In USA the government does not have lawful authority to forbid public gatherings. "Law of the land" does not mean slavish obedience to unlawful orders.

      1. Asa William Sprague, II's Avatar Asa William Sprague, II

        It's not about slavish obedience or unlawful orders. It is about a public health crisis that puts every American in danger. Many States have given governors and mayors broad authority to act in emergencies; including the banning of large public gatherings.

        1. ronald wolfe's Avatar ronald wolfe

          and many have exceeded their authority. Please dont just watch msm check experts who post on line since msm does not allow experts who disagree with the official line. Their are many studies and world wide experts who state that staying at home is the worst thing to do once we all start out in our semi normal lives again our immune system will be almost non existant as it relys on being exposed to viruses, bugs etc. in order to remain strong, eveyones immune system will be weak and suspectible to ever other virus out there. Look at the states and countries who did not have lock down orders they are no worse off then the ones who did. for example New York just declared that two thirds of those in their state were people who were at home did not go out from the start. Dont beleive everything our government tells you or even a few so called experts look at the numbers and do more research. this virus is no more deadly or wide spread then the flu epidemic of 2 years ago and nothing was shut down then .

          1. Asa William Sprague, II's Avatar Asa William Sprague, II

            An estimated 61,000 people died during the 2018 Flu epidemic. Today, May 14, 2020, it is estimated that close to 85,000 people have died from Covi-19. Please note that statistics for the 2018 Flu season were taken from about a seven month range (October 2017 to May 2017) while Covid-19 statistics are culled from only a four and a half month range (January 2020 to May 14, 2020). So, in less five than months, Covid-19 has killed 24,000 more people than the 2018 Flu did in seven months; and this Covid-19 pandemic is not yet over. There may be a few studies that say staying at home is the worst thing to do. Most health officials would agree that "some" impairment of an individual's immune system "might" occur, but that level of impairment would be moderate, not cataclysmic.

  1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

    We are all citizens of this earth if ours, so being responsible to ensure we all live as long and as healthy as possible should be the goal of every one of us. Nothing should stand in the way of logic and reason, not even religion.

    🦁❤️

    1. Wen's Avatar Wen

      Well said.

  1. Woodrow's Avatar Woodrow

    It's against the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.

    1. Rev. Dennis's Avatar Rev. Dennis

      No its not against the Constitution. I really do wish people would educate themselves on this instead of randomly calling everything in the world unConstitutional. Education, it's a real thing and it is a shame that most citizens who were born here in the US are completely engrossed in heresay, conspiracy theories and have a mob mentality instead of studying a subject (or lots of subjects). I daresay that most people have not even read any states Executive Orders issued by governors before commenting on it.

      The churches show disregard for authority when they feel like it. When the church building is built, they are subject to the laws and regulations in structures according to authorities

      They also don't believe in Gods word for he hath written:

      Obedience in Authority.* 1 Let every person be subordinate to the higher authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been established by God.a 2 Therefore, whoever resists authority opposes what God has appointed, and those who oppose it will bring judgment upon themselves. 3 For rulers are not a cause of fear to good conduct, but to evil.b Do you wish to have no fear of authority? Then do what is good and you will receive approval from it,

      Therefore the pastor himself is doing evil upon his congregation which is against Gods word. If you like I can pull more of Gods word out to show how the pastors and congregants are violating his word.

      In addition, in most instances that I have read of executive orders of several states governors (who makes the call statewide), they do not forbid church services or gatherings as long as they stay under 10 people and practice all safety precautions as outlined by the CDC and state health department guidelines (which so far pretty much follow the lead of the CDC).

      There is also the teachings (for Christians) of charity, how God is amongst us in everyone (the least of my brothers). Instead of attending normal church services why did they all not volunteer to worship God by helping at a food bank, delivering meals to shut-ins and such as outlined in 1(d) of the governors Executive order? Would this not have been a more fitting Easter by doing this little thing to help our sisters and brothers after Jesus sacrificed himself for us?

      The continued violations as I have been tracking them are usually for self serving purposes and not for true believers in God (speaking mostly on the Christian side from ones I looked at). They are for pastors to collect money for the church (including one who "challenged" everyone to give their $1200 stimulus checks to the church), they are also for people who believe that have been indoctrinated to thinking they have to go to the church building to pray (not true, read Gods word).

    2. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      Is it our right to stay alive as long as possible?

      🦁❤️

  1. Mark Hannon's Avatar Mark Hannon

    Churches have to stay open so they can continue to collect tithes and not have to layoff all the workers.

    Can ministers collect unemployment benefits? Church boards I've been on had to pay payroll taxes that included unemployment insurance.

    1. the People's Project 5's Avatar the People's Project 5

      If unemployment insurance is being deducted and paid then yes the Minister would qualify.

  1. TarotTerry 's Avatar TarotTerry

    Willful ignorance of science is never an excuse to use religion as a weapon. Period. And how does it make since to play Russian roulette with your congregation? Aren't leaders supposed to do what's best for those they lead?

  1. Richard Lee Cornell's Avatar Richard Lee Cornell

    The county can tell the preacher if he goes on with his service that when he ends it so will he see the county handing him a tax bill. He willhave 30 days to pay it or his church is closed. It has been done in the past when preachers think that God will protect them fromthe wrath of the tax man.

    1. Rev. Dennis's Avatar Rev. Dennis

      From the good book:

      6 This is why you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. 7 Pay to all their dues, taxes to whom taxes are due, toll to whom toll is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.

  1. Ilmenheru Terikson's Avatar Ilmenheru Terikson

    Life, Liberty, and happiness. In that order. That means that even freedom is 2nd to the preservation of Life. But as we keep pointing out to the christian zealots, we are not denying their freedom to practice their faith, just telling them to keep it in their homes for a month or two. I thought Patience was supposed to be among their virtues. Sure doesnt bloody feel like it by their temper tantrum about doing what they want when they want no matter who it may hurt.

  1. Summer Bree Nichols's Avatar Summer Bree Nichols

    It’s a same that some pastors and church leaders are not following the rules but there are a lot that are and I applaud those that are some people forget that god does not live in a building but in are hearts and that means we can Worship him from home

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