24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
TheHill.com reports that
U.S. District Judge Greg Van Tatenhove issued a temporary restraining order Friday evening against Beshear’s ban on large gatherings at “any in-person religious service which adheres to applicable social distancing and hygiene guidelines,” The Associate Press reported.
The ruling will allow Tabernacle Baptist Church in Nicholasville, Ky., which filed the lawsuit, to meet in person during services Sunday. The ruling also applies to any other Kentucky congregation.
Two other federal judges had previously ruled that Beshear’s ban was constitutional.
The news comes following a ruling by U.S. District Judge David Hale on Friday that granted Maryville Baptist Church the option to hold in-person services. The ruling only applied to that specific church, and it had to abide by public health requirements, according to the AP.
Beshear previously announced that Kentucky religious organizations will be allowed to hold in-person services beginning on May 20 as part of a plan to begin reopening the state’s economy.
Earlier on Friday, the southern governor said places of worship would have to limit attendance at in-person services to one-third of building occupancy and have worshippers keep a 6-foot distance between households, according to the news source.
Beshear’s office released a list of requirements that churches should follow while reopening, like observing social distancing and to “consider taking congregants’ temperatures,” among other measures, the Lexington Herald Leader reported.
Van Tatenhove said Beshear had “an honest” motive in seeking to stem the spread of the virus, but he did not provide “a compelling reason for using his authority to limit a citizen’s right to freely exercise something we value greatly — the right of every American to follow their conscience on matters related to religion,” according to the news source.
“The Constitution will endure. It would be easy to put it on the shelf in times like this, to be pulled down and dusted off when more convenient,” Van Tatenhove’s opinion said. “But that is not our tradition. Its enduring quality requires that it be respected even when it is hard.”
The church has said that it will follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and social distancing practices, according to the AP.
During a Saturday press conference, Beshear called for congregations to “take your time” in reopening and follow guidelines from health officials, the Lexington Herald Leader reported.
“Be careful. Make sure that you do it right,” Beshear said. “Don’t come back just to come back.”
As a Christian who presently attends church via Internet Streaming, thanks to the COVID-19 Lockdown in Mississippi, the state in which I live, I fully understand the desire to return to our church buildings.
I mean, if restaurants, barbershops, and salons can re-open, why can’t the Meeting Houses of God’s people?
It would be a shame if the most stubborn of state politicians (usually Democratic Governors in Blue States) would continue their lockdown of Christian Churches simply out of spite and their need to control Christians.
Could you imagine Christian Americans having to meeting in secret, like Christian American Contractors working in Saudi Arabia have to meet secretly in fellow believers’ homes?
How would we contact each other to tell everyone where service was being held that week?
Send a group text of a picture of a fish and the address?
Our governor, Tate Reeves, has stated that as of Monday, our churches may hold “Drive-in” style services.
The problem with that is the fact that it is impossible to shake hands, hug, and fellowship with fellow believers when everyone is in separate cars.
We might as well be home watching our Pastor deliver the weekly message on the internet from an empty sanctuary or the living room of his house…safe but cloistered from other Christians like a bunch of Monks in a Monastery.
While Christians remain “the church body” even when we cannot meet corporately, it is not the same.
Together, we draw strength from one another and our shared experiences.
And, quite frankly, there is nothing comparable to feeling the presence of the Holy Spirit during a worship service.
It’s time to reopen America’s Churches.
11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up
13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-13)
Until He Comes,