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During COVID: Is Churchgoing ‘High Risk, Low Reward’?

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Published on: December 23, 2020

Some leftist government officials, in the name of trying to fight the spread of COVID-19, have come down hard on churches.

For example, California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared (May 7), “We’re looking at the science, epidemiology, looking again at frequency, duration, time, and looking at low risk-high reward, high risk-low reward.” [Emphasis added.]

He has defined abortion clinics as essential, but churches were categorized as non-essential. Christian legal groups have had to fight with the governor to be able to practice religious freedom, which the U.S. Constitution guarantees.

Newsom was not alone in his attempt to hamstring the churches. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam mandated that only 10 people could attend church. But not to worry, said the theologian-in-chief of the Old Dominion state: “For me, God is wherever you are. You don’t have to sit in the church pew for God to hear your prayers.”

In November, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear ordered a halt of in-person worship services – even after having been hit with a federal judge’s restraining order earlier this year for doing the same.

All of this leads to an interesting question: What, if anything, do churches contribute to society? Are churches just “high risk, low reward”?

I spoke recently on the radio with Dr. Byron Johnson, director of the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor.

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