On the one hand, Mayor DeBlazio of New York has made a frontal assault upon churches which refuse to adhere to the rules. The threat is profound. He has promised to shutter their buildings permanently and shut them down forever. This is not hyperbole. It is his threat and promise:
This comes after the New York Times published an op-ed piece right at the feet of evangelical Christians. Christians often get scapegoated and blamed -- all the way back to Rome. But the persecution of the Church is, apparently not over. In an op-ed piece for The New York Times, Katherine Steward had leveraged the evangelical support of Trump as a rationale for blaming the evangelicals for the spread of the coronavirus in America.
The NYTimes headline was an unmistakable provocation: “The Road to Coronavirus Hell Was Paved by Evangelicals.” Yes, you read that correctly: “Trump’s response to the pandemic has been haunted by the science denialism of his ultraconservative religious allies.” Author Stewart insists “Donald Trump rose to power with the determined assistance of a movement that denies science, bashes government and prioritized loyalty over professional expertise. In the current crisis, we are all reaping what that movement has sown.”
An Indiana county health commissioner in a populous county attempted to ban church gatherings to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Her effort to target churches was met with pushback from Attorney General Curtis Hill in what he described as "unconstitutional religious discrimination." So Hill sent a letter Tuesday to Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Deborah McMahan that her prohibition of church gatherings in Allen County, where Concordia Theological Seminary is located, was an overreach. Nonetheless, McMahan stands by her order even though it is no longer active.
Again, I do not suggest that Christians should be ignorant of or flaunt best medical advice but in these cases the churches are being singled out and targeted in direct violation of protected rights. This needs to stop. While churches have had some outlandish figures who have flaunted their refusal to abide by any limitations, the vast majority of churches are attempting to be good citizens while at the same term serve the faithful in a time of tremendous challenge for us all.