Editorial- Helping From Home With a Christian Attitude
Co-written by Caralyn Geyer and Jared Boekenhauer
Covid-19, or the coronavirus, is dominating the news cycle and has put a halt on a large portion of the international economic system. The United States recently took the lead in confirmed coronavirus cases, with Spain and Italy close behind.
South Korea has flattened the curve. According to CNBC, flattening the curve means lowering the amount of confirmed coronavirus cases and thus avoiding overwhelming a healthcare system. According to the New York Times, South Korea has done this through a jump start in testing and treatment, restrictions on people with confirmed cases –– including an app that can tell when coronavirus-positive patients have left quarantine –– and fines for those who leave quarantine after testing positive.
Polls have shown an overall support and respect by the South Korean people for the efforts of their government to combat this illness.
While in the United States, cases are still rising as many people are racing out to aid medical workers, the most vulnerable and the sick. Some have worked to make face masks for doctors and nurses, others are coming out of retirement from careers in medicine to fill the need for nurses and doctors among shortages. Others are taking up jobs at grocery stores to handle the larger crowds and make extra money during an increase in job loss. Even some plants that would normally make different products have temporarily stopped production in order to accommodate greater needs and produce things like hand sanitizer and masks. These are all honorable and positive acts that benefit society in its present dilemma.
Unfortunately, organizations like some churches have chosen to stay open and worship in crowded spaces, directly violating the temporary law banning larger public gatherings. Some Christians have cited that the banning of public worship is “oppression” and “Christian persecution.” The belief that temporary government intervention on daily life is oppression, even though it is in order to prevent the spread of a pandemic, is wrong. Following the law, and avoiding public gatherings for now, is what a Christian should do.
The Bible teaches to follow the law, as long as the law is not leading one to sin. “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God,” (Romans 13:1, New International Version).
With bans on public gatherings in place, the government is not telling Christians to avoid worshipping, it is telling Christians to specifically avoid public gatherings. To stay in accordance with the law, many churches now worship, preach and run Bible studies online. Just because Christians cannot worship in the ways they have before does not mean it has to be limited. It just means that different measures must be taken in order to go along with the temporary laws set in place, which are ultimately for the safety of everyone.
The Bible also says to aid the poor and sick. Quarantine and social distancing especially help the sick and vulnerable. Though it may seem to be an inconvenience for the time being, doing these two things actually help prevent spreading to those who could be more susceptible to the virus. Christians should be thinking with others in mind, especially those who are more at risk.
While it may seem like this is government oppression of Christianity, this is not what is happening. True oppression would prevent any form of worship by law; temporarily pausing social activities to prevent the spread of a pandemic is not oppression.
What Christians can do during this time of uncertainty is encourage those who are struggling to deal with or understand the pandemic, and follow local and national ordinances. Create prayer teams through Zoom or Webex, send out letters to people and continue to think positive. In a time where so many questions lie unanswered, the most we can do is not try to answer them, but point those to the one who can.