By Melissa Martin
Hindsight is 20/20. In the beginning of the pandemic, I was afraid and therefore easily duped, but also confused as to why places of worship were closed by government mandates, but liquor stores and Walmart stores remained open in the U.S. A citizen could buy booze in a store, but not attend a church service in-person.
In the beginning, I believed the leaders of the USA and The World Health Organization concerning the coronavirus crisis, but with reasoning, logic, alternative information and knowledge, my eyes opened to reality. In the beginning, I believed Governor of Ohio, Mike DeWine and wrote supportive newspaper columns, but he no longer has my vote of confidence. So, I can understand how pastors and religious leaders around the world were deceived as well.
But, did pandemic money ease the shutting of church doors when pastors obeyed the government? According to a 2020 article on NPR’s website, “Religious Groups Received $6-10 Billion In COVID-19 Relief Funds, Hope For More.” Was the Paycheck Protection Program in the U.S. meant to make closing church doors more palatable? The U.S. Catholic Church alone received at least $1.4 billion in funding and possibly as much as $3.5 billion under the program, according to an analysis by the Associated Press.
Some churches are pushing back
According to a 2022 article in Christianity Today, Tony Spell, the first pastor to publicly defy COVID-19 lockdown orders, won his legal battle against the state of Louisiana two years later. The state Supreme Court decided 5 to 2 that closing church meetings for worship while other venues received exemptions from public health restrictions was erroneous. It is a violation of the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of religion to offer legal exemptions to secular groups and not religious ones, the Louisiana court found.
The following was quoted in Christianity Today: “I’m guilty of having church,” Spell told his congregation in 2020. “I’m guilty of preaching. I’m guilty of praying. But I’m not guilty of breaking any law. I’m not guilty. The only thing I’m guilty of is doing what the Bible told me to do: ‘Do not forsake the assembly of ourselves together.’”
“When the whole world is running towards a cliff, he who is running in the opposite direction appears to have lost his mind.”― C. S. Lewis
“California churches fought Gov. Gavin Newsom in courtrooms all over the state over his COVID-19 lockdown orders, before finally beating him in a climactic case at the U.S. Supreme Court,” according to a 2020 article in the Sacramento Bee.
According to a 2020 article by the Associated Press, “More US churches sue to challenge COVID-19 restrictions.” Read more at https://apnews.com/article/virus-outbreak-mn-state-wire-religion-ca-state-wire-lawsuits-7d2933ca919f33aa8c4c845e1d3febdc.
Sidebar: The following is printed at the end of the above article on the AP website “Associated Press religion coverage receives support from the Lilly Endowment through the Religion News Foundation. The AP is solely responsible for this content.” Did you know The Lilly Endowment Inc. was formally established in 1937 with gifts of stock in Eli Lilly and Company – the pharmaceutical firm? Hmmm. Isn’t that interesting.
According to a 2020 article in Christianity Today, The Supreme Court ordered lower federal courts in Colorado and New Jersey to reexamine state restrictions on indoor religious services to combat the coronavirus in light of the justices’ recent ruling in favor of churches and synagogues in New York.
Many churches became creative and turned to online streaming, social platforms, and radio during the pandemic. Some used church parking lots to minister to people.
Have pastors and congregations learned a lesson? Will places of worship in sovereign nations join together for freedom of religion no matter what crisis strikes?
What will places of worship do when the next pandemic arrives?
In January of 2022, some monkeys escapes after a truck crashed on a Pennsylvania highway, according to an article in The New York Times. Critics of the coronavirus crisis via internet blogs and social media speculated that this incident would be used to explain a future pandemic involving monkeys.
Guess what? Monkeypox is here. However, treatment is available. But will the World Health Organization and the United Nations use this virus to push another lockdown and vaccine agenda? Watch a video at https://banned.video/watch?id=629255e62428792b0ec2b18a.
And do not trust the fact-checking sites about the next pandemic – they caved to the coronavirus pandemic money and power game. Read the following article in the New York Post to learn how Facebook responded when sued over fact-checking falsehoods: https://nypost.com/2021/12/14/facebook-admits-the-truth-fact-checks-are-really-just-lefty-opinion/.
Did your church or place of worship close during the lockdown and/or accept government pandemic money? We were bamboozled with the coronavirus pandemic – let’s not be fooled again.
“It’s easier to fool people than it is to convince them that they have been fooled.” – Mark Twain.
Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is a syndicated opinion-editorial columnist. She lives in USA.