Infringement on freedom
I was very concerned when I read “all church gatherings in Allen County will be prohibited (March 22).”
How was this prohibition established? Did it come from the governor, as agreed to by the House and Senate? How does the health commissioner get the authority to make such an announcement?
I can understand, in light of the coronavirus, providing recommendations relative to church gatherings. But how does this turn into a pointed announcement/prohibition for churches? How about other groups and gatherings?
What is the penalty if a church continues to meet in groups of fewer than 10 people?
We need to temper our desire to stop the spread of this virus with the personal and religious freedoms we are supposed to have.
Churches owed a hearing
The cancellation of all church services in Allen County by Dr. Deborah McMahan, caught many churchgoers and members of the clergy off guard. Since the mandate came about 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 21, many congregations had only a few hours to digest its impact before Sunday morning.
The abrupt stoppage of plans through April 11 left us perplexed at how pastors will care for members of their congregations. Lay leaders are still figuring out the financial and operational toll this cancellation of church activities will take.
The closure of bars' and restaurants' in-person service along with other “nonessential” activities of public life have impressed upon us all the need to practice social distancing. “Wash your hands” has become our mantra promoting mindfulness of health and hygiene.
With that said, people of faith desire to worship together while complying with the standards befitting our community's health and safety. We acknowledge Dr. McMahan's authority to mandate the closure of church buildings during a pandemic's rapid spread, but it behooves her to gather church leaders for a public hearing so her concern and congregational accommodations may be cooperatively addressed some days prior to any action being taken. Such a hearing would serve to bring church and state, as it were, into a partnership rather than an adversarial relationship.
Churches, after all, stand central to congregational life and community. Furthermore, they are beacons of refuge for members of the community at large who benefit from their food pantries, counseling and community outreach.
Virus turns U.S. socialist
Bernie Sanders has won; it appears we are all socialist now. We just needed a virus to seal the deal.
While I have no problem with the government asking people or businesses to do certain things to help in a cause — and I am thankful for the those who comply — it is quite another thing to make the orders coming out of both Washington, D.C., and Indianapolis mandatory. It appears the words of Patrick Henry, “Give me liberty or give me death,” should no longer be taught.
As Dennis Prager has said for several years on his radio show, maybe “The Star Spangled Banner” should be changed from “the land of the free and the home of the brave” to “better safe than sorry.”
Portfolios take a backseat
I hope our governors have more sense than our president. He seems more concerned with the economy than the lives of the American people.
It is imperative that we listen to the experts on the virus regarding the importance of social distancing, shutdowns and staying at home.
This is a national crisis and we must all sacrifice and do what is necessary to save American lives for as long as it takes.
Our country has weathered storms before and we will again, but we must strive to do this together and worry more about one another than our portfolios.
Watching specialists' continuing campaign to correct Donald Trump's unceasing blasts of misinformation, I am reminded of shovel-wielding circus workers trudging along cleaning up the droppings left by parading elephants.
However, that manure has useful purposes, while our president's “droppings” nurture a growing crop of uncertainty, mismanagement of resources and unprecedented endangerment of our nation's welfare.