Social distancing orders have been implemented as a means to help mitigate the spread of coronavirus. This has affected everyone as we attempt to go about our daily lives whether it be simply heading to the grocery store or trying to partake in religious services.
This has especially affected both the Jewish and Christian communities as the virus has hit amidst both Passover and Easter. Despite the fact that we need to do our part to socially distance ourselves from one another, there are means by which we can still try and keep some semblance of normalcy. The obvious way to do this is through video chats using software like Zoom video conferencing and Facetime on Apple products.
Church Services Continue at a Safe Distance
Another group of individuals came up with an ingenious idea to hold a drive in church service on Easter Sunday. One would think this is a harmless way for parishioners to gather while safely keeping their distance from one another.
Apparently the police felt otherwise as they swarmed King James Bible Baptist Church in Greenville, MS. to break up the harmless church service. Also, notice how many of the officers in the video aren’t abiding by the social distancing guidelines.
As the Washington Times reports, Temple Baptist Church is suing Greenville, Mississippi’s city government and mayor for busting up its “drive-in” church service:
Police officers issued $500 fines this week to drive-in churchgoers whose service required churchgoers stay inside their cars with their windows rolled up while listening to an FM radio station broadcast a sermon and music.
The church contends its congregation was following the orders imposed by Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves and Greenville Mayor Errick Simmons enforcing social-distancing restrictions to fight coronavirus.
Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian nonprofit law firm focused on religious and civil liberties, is filing a lawsuit requesting a federal court enact a temporary restraining order and permanent injunction against Greenville from enforcing the church-closure order. ADF’s request for an urgent injunction is to allow the churchgoers to worship from their cars on the coming Easter Sunday holiday.
“If allows waiting in the car at Sonic it should permit a drivethru Easter service,” tweeted Kristen Waggoner, ADF senior vice president and counsel for Trinity Baptist Church, about the city’s action. “Safety is critical. So is following the Constitution. First Amendment isn’t completely suspended nor does have unlimited authority to target churches however they please. There are limits.”
While it is essential we keep our distance to help avoid spreading coronavirus, this clearly crosses the line. There is a delicate balance between common sense measure to protect the citizenry from getting sick and infringing on our first amendment right. The right to freedom of religion is an essential backbone of our republic and we need to keep government in check as they are clearly testing the boundaries.