Should be interesting to see how the good lord handles this one. Will he side with the people he created or with the fast moving, highly lethal virus he created? Will he split it somewhere around the middle to keep up his reputation for working in mysterious ways? To find out, keep an eye on Michigan.
Religious houses of worship are now exempt from being penalized if they violate Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s ban on gatherings of more than 50 people.
On Monday, Whitmer issued an executive order in response to coronavirus that said “all assemblages of more than 50 people in a single indoor shared space and all events of more than 50 people are prohibited.”
Later in the week, the order was updated to add a part that reads: “A place of religious worship is not subject to penalty under section 3 of Executive Order 2020-11.” Section three of the original order said that “a willful violation of this order shall constitute a misdemeanor.”
That means that churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples will not be penalized with a misdemeanor if they violate the rule to keep assemblies under 50 people.
In a Facebook post, Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield, R-Levering, thanked Whitmer for the update to the order, writing: “People have a God-given right to assemble and worship, and that right is secured by both the United States and Michigan Constitution.”
But Chatfield added that: “I believe that as Christians we also have a duty to love our fellow man and play our role within society. My recommendation is to find ways that you can abide within the order to the best of your ability.”
From the sounds of it, many churches are disregarding this silliness and are closing and moving their services online where possible.
But since there has to be one in every crowd, let’s check in with this fella here.
Dennis Lennox, a member of an Episcopal Church in Detroit, said he welcomed the update to the executive order that gives churches an exemption from being penalized.
“It is imperative that constitutional rights and liberties — particularly the fundamental right to worship almighty God — aren’t impeded by the response” to the spread of coronavirus, Lennox said. “Decisions about religious services should be fully made by spiritual authorities without pressure by temporal authorities.”
Here’s hoping that you, your circle and the rest of the state all have good lungs, my dude. And that the next big ‘ol church gathering you attend isn’t a funeral.