Across the Nation, Faith Groups Challenge Social Distancing Guidelines

Tags: Currents Coronavirus, Crux, Cuomo, Faith, National News, New York News

Currents News Staff

In Brooklyn, members of Orthodox Jewish communities have continued to gather for funeral services over the last several days, leaving the NYPD struggling to disperse the crowds as they defied social distancing guidelines.

Jewish leaders say the community is largely adhering to the ban and is working closely with the city to make sure everyone complies.

“The people of this city are doing everything possible to fight this virus to do the right thing in terms of shelter in place,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Other parts of the country are having issues too.

“We’re going to advise you of your rights,” a police officer in central Louisiana told Pastor Tony Spell, the leader of Life Tabernacle Church near Baton Rouge after he was arrested and sited for refusing to obey the state’s ban on gatherings of more than 50 people.

Spell insisted he will continue to hold large services.

“We continue to worship and practice our first amendment rights. We will not be intimidated to come to this building because of the fear that has been put in you,” he said.

Spell believes religious institutions should be considered essential and therefore exempt from the order.

At one evangelical church in Cincinnati Ohio, people were still attending services in person, many of them with children, hugging other church-goers as they entered. Many of them said they are not fearful of the potential spread.

When asked about concerns of infecting other people, one parishioner responded, “ No. I’m covered in Jesus’ blood.” 

Another pastor in Lodi, Californai is also refusing to comply, saying that gathering in person is essential to the Christian faith. He even sent a cease and desist order local law enforcement citing their religious freedoms were being violated.

Back in New York, people could face fines up to $1,000 for not following the social distancing guidelines.