A writer for The Gospel Coalition has published an article making the case that Christians haven’t endured any hostility or ill-treatment from the government during the pandemic, but rather have only endured mild hardships since the whole thing began.
Pastor Paul Carter, writing for TGC Canada, explains that while many churches were forced to suspend their main large group gatherings and “normal Christian activities such as singing, taking communion and sharing a meal together was either strongly discouraged or forbidden outright,” he describes the 14 months as only as a “temporary suspension” imposed by the government and not something dastardly or more permanent that is worth getting worked up about.
He argues that the 14-month long tyrannical and ever-increasing virulent edicts against the church (our words) may be a “hardship” it is not persecution. He acknowledges there’s been a few missteps and “probably” some “overreach,” (Probably!?) but that there has been no “hostility and ill-treatment because of our religious beliefs.” He ponders: “I’m not sure how any reasonable person could argue that [there was].”
Carter makes these comments defending the government handling of the pandemic in his country while a church 120 miles south of him is facing 40 million dollars in fines for being open and whose doors were just recently barred by police. Another 25 miles further, Police arrived on the scene to give out fines because a church was having a drive-in service where they didn’t even leave their vehicles and were listening to the sermon through their small FM transmitter.
This drive-in service was declared non-essential, even as marijuana shops and liquor stores have been open as essential businesses the whole time. Across the country, one church congregation has gone underground after their pastor was jailed for a month and a fence was erected around their church while 60 armed police officers showed up with batons and riot gear to ensure there was no disruption. Further west, Black Lives Matter protesters have been allowed to march and hold rallies at will, congregating out in the public, but all indoor and outdoor church gatherings of any size have been suspended, even as restaurants, casinos, and bars remain open for business and socializing.
In fact, the new rules for outdoor services in Brtish Columbia cap the vehicles attending at 50, and anyone attending the drive-in service where they are not allowed to leave their vehicles must not only ensure their cars and trucks are 6 feet apart, but they must pre-register and their personal information captured, lest COVID-19 magically travel from vehicle to vehicle and infect the whole lot of them.
Finally, Carter declares that churches haven’t been unfairly discriminated against because “Churches, by and large, have enjoyed far greater freedoms than health clubs and workout facilities over the last 14 months” and concludes “so this has been hard, it has been crushing for many – but it does not appear to have been motivated by religious hostility or malice. Not everything that negatively affects the church can be categorized as persecution. Not everything difficult can be ascribed to evil motives.”
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