coronavirus 13

The coronavirus pandemic has created debates on many issues including church and similar institutions. A number of letters in Los Angeles Times is a show of that debate, which indicates the impact the pandemic is making on many parts of life.

The “Letters to the Editor: Churches don’t have a 1st Amendment right to ruin public health” in Los Angeles Times on April 18, 2020 are the following:

To the editor: Some pastors believe stay-home orders to slow the spread of COVID-19 violate their 1st Amendment freedom.

It would be very instructive for them to read a separate report in the L.A. Times about the small rural Georgia hospital being overwhelmed because of the coronavirus. The source of the outbreak was a gathering for another religious occasion, a funeral.

People need to understand that public health trumps everything.

I remember sitting in my church on March 1, and could not help noticing the woman in front of me touch her face about every 30 seconds. I sure did not shake her hand during the sign of peace ritual. By the following week, none of us was shaking hands — and it is just as well.

Donna Bray, Norwalk

To the editor: It must be noted that some of the worst clusters of COVID-19 infections have centered on houses of worship, where people are in close proximity for an hour or much more. This is in contrast to grocery stores and other public areas where people tend to get in and get out quickly, and stay away from one another.

If churches hold conventional gatherings in defiance of the law, each participant should be treated as a person who has been potentially exposed to the coronavirus and therefore subject to a-14-day quarantine.

These people do not have the right to risk the health of the rest of us.

Roberta Fox, Costa Mesa

To the editor: Why are churches from mainstream denominations (in other words, those with 1 million or more members and a history longer than two generations) conspicuously absent from the list of religious entities suing governments for prohibiting the “right to gather”?

Bob Merrilees, Camarillo


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One Comment

  1. Sally Dugman says:

    If someone wants to believe that a god or gods will protect them from receipt of the virus, it is her or his prerogative. However, I have no intention of going into a church or other place of worship at the moment and imaging that some hokum-pokum magic, bunkum, from a supernatural being will exempt me from the disease or the fact that my belief system can put others’ lives and my own at risk.

    Hokum – definition of hokum by The Free Dictionary
    (hō′kəm) 1. Something apparently impressive or legitimate but actually untrue or insincere; nonsense. 2. A stock technique for eliciting a desired response from an audience.