"Ron DeSantis" by Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA 2.0

Florida Follows Others in Allowing Church Amid Stay-Home Order

Apr 2, 2020

By Jonathan Levin and Keith Naughton

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a stay-at-home order after weeks of rejecting calls for such a measure. But like other mandates ranging from New York to New Mexico, it ensures that Floridians can still attend religious services.

The carve-out for houses of worship comes as authorities across the U.S. have cited religious leaders for violating social-distancing guidelines meant to blunt the spread of the new coronavirus. One pastor was charged in Hillsborough County, Florida, which encompasses Tampa, for defying a county stay-at-home order.

“This virus doesn’t discriminate — it endangers people whether they gather for religious or secular purposes, and it puts entire communities at risk,” Rachel Laser, president and chief executive officer of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said in a statement Tuesday.

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3 comments on “Florida Follows Others in Allowing Church Amid Stay-Home Order

  • This need that congregations seem to have to defy direct instructions for the public’s safety strikes me as a weakness in their belief system.

    I think the leaders of these churches understand how critical those weekly reaffirmations are in maintaining their influence. How many in their congregations would actively seek virtual spirituality, and how effective would it be? I can’t picture individuals at home singing hymns to themselves. It makes me wonder just how integral congregating is to the whole belief process.

    And I suspect the leaders of those congregations already understood that aspect long before COVID-19 came into our lives. Why aren’t there more spiritual leaders coming out in defense of SIP? The obvious answer is because it isn’t in their best career, thus financial, interest–human lives be damned.


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  • Vicki,

    Absolutely. And when you remember that it’s a central tenet of the Christian religion that their god is everywhere – including, most importantly of all, in their “hearts” – then there is even less reason for insisting that worship must take place in person and in church.

    I think I’m right in saying that all church services in the UK have been stopped now – they’re certainly not included in the short list of exemptions from the requirement to stay at home and maintain physical separation. Some, though, are offering virtual services, which seems as if it could be a solution for churches in Florida too. Though virtual services tend to result in virtual collection plates too, of course, which might explain their apparent reluctance.

    But the politicians are to blame here too. It’s not their job to look out for the churches, it’s their job to look out for the people. And, as it says in the OP, “This virus doesn’t discriminate — it endangers people whether they gather for religious or secular purposes, and it puts entire communities at risk.”  


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  • @OP But like other mandates ranging from New York to New Mexico, it ensures that Floridians can still attend religious services.

    I suppose rational people should self-protect by   shunning those attending religious gatherings, and leave the churches  to increase their funeral trade as gullibles prepare to meet their god!

    BTW:  The figures in England show that the vast majority of deaths in hospital are in the 60+ age group, so many of the  US vulnerable retirees at home, should be able to use door-step deliveries, and keep isolated away from the church addicted delusional!

     


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