Democratic Governor Andy Beshear warned Kentuckians on Wednesday that in order to combat the spread of the coronavirus, they should avoid crowds and cancel their church services.
Citing the need to protect the health of members and those who have underlying medical conditions, he urged churches not to gather on the Lord’s day, but rather to stay home.
Beshear elaborated that of the eight people who tested positive for COVID-19 in Kentucky so far, two of them attended the same church together and that contracting the virus in this setting was the impetus for urging church gatherings to be postponed.
“I know it is a big step, but I can tell you the direct connection between at least two Harrison County residents is that they go to Church together…. we would not be suggesting that these services should be canceled if we did not believe this coronavirus can be or is currently being spread in those areas…I know that’s a big step, I know that some people won’t agree with it, but I believe it’s our job to offer those protections.”
According to the Pew Research Center, About 40% of Kentuckians surveyed in 2014 stated they attended church services least once a week, and this would ostensibly affect hundreds of thousands of people. Governor Beshear elaborated more on this in his press conference, saying:
“So I’ll announce today that we’re going to cancel the prayer breakfast now that we were gonna have this week. You know, faith is very important to make… this prayer breakfast is very important to make, but the life and health of our people is more… is just as important to make. I don’t believe that whether you go to church during this period of time is a test of faith. I believe God gives us wisdom to protect each other, and we should do that. And I’m going to recommend that our churches across Kentucky cancel their services for this weekend. Again I know that that’s a big step. I know that some won’t agree with it, but I believe that it’s our job to offer those protections that we have a lot of opportunity for virtual service’s. I know those out there that that that that would otherwise go have an opportunity to get out that Bible Lord or whatever it is of their faith that gives them guidance and ensure that they have that time with their family this weekend where in their own home they can they can practice their faith and worship. “
While churches are urged close this weekend, there is no indication that this would be the only church service the government would want to be canceled, given that the spread of the virus is just beginning and likely more deaths will arise. It’s not unthinkable that they will ask the assembly of believers to abstain from services for much longer than that. In response to this message, many churches will likely choose to be canceled for weeks, if not months to come.
Several demonic denominations such as the Episcopal Church in Washington and Virginia have already indicated that they will close for several weeks. According to the Washington Post: “Bishop Mariann Budde, who oversees 88 congregations in the District and Maryland that serve about 38,000 people, said buildings would be almost completely closed until March 25, including weekday activities and Sunday services. Bishop Susan Goff, who oversees the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, said 179 churches in the Virginia suburbs, with about 68,000 members, would do the same.”
As far as his own religious affiliations and how this might affect the Governor, Bashear has stated his own church services will be canceled. Incidentally, or perhaps tellingly, he attends and is a deacon at Beargrass Christian Church, which is part of the the Disciples of Christ denomination
As you might imagine of a church that a democrat governor may be welcomed and asked to serve, their website states they are proud of their
-willingness not to tolerate, but to welcome and celebrate differences.
-emphasis on Christian living that is descriptive, rather than a harsh, legalistic approach.
-ecumenical integrity that allows for an open, inclusive, and pluralistic approach to religion and life.
-belief that consensus is in the person of Christ and not to the conformity of doctrine or creed.
To say that they affirm homosexuality and abortion should go without saying.
If they choose to voluntarily shut down, perhaps some good may come of this yet.
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