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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: Going to church doesn’t make you a good believer, especially during a pandemic

A priest is recorded celebrating Mass in an empty St. Brendan the Navigator Catholic Church in San Francisco on March 29.
A priest is recorded celebrating Mass in an empty St. Brendan the Navigator Catholic Church in San Francisco on March 29.
(Associated Press)

To the editor: Jesus said that the kingdom of God is within you. So, churches came into being as physical, earthbound organizations to speak about religion in the hope of leading people to a “spiritual state of being,” which means a deep sense of peace and guidance from within our own soul. (“Closing houses of worship during the pandemic is an act of faith and charity,” editorial, April 2)

Being in that state does not require church attendance, nor does church attendance guarantee being at peace within.

Our relationship with God and our soul does not depend on the church and may even be improved by the necessary current isolation. There will be less outside physical and material distractions to capture our attention, making it easier to look within.

Joanne Tatham, Irvine

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To the editor: Freedom of religion is not when the government says you can. Freedom of assembly is not when the government says you can. The 2nd Amendment also cannot be turned on and off.

This mindless trampling of our constitutional rights is without precedent.

Bob Munson, Newbury Park

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To the editor: Your editorial urging that large religious gatherings should be avoided just as any other large gatherings took the right approach. However, there is an additional factor that is too often lost in discussions like these.

The framers of our Constitution intended believers and nonbelievers to be equal before the law. If only religious gatherings are exempt from otherwise enforceable rules barring larger assemblies, then the law is singling out religious activities for special privileges denied to everyone else.

In order to secure the constitutionally mandated equality for all points of view on faith, if religious people are allowed to gather in larger numbers, then so should atheists and other philosophically oriented people who address life’s grand issues.

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The best policy, of course, is for there to be no sizable gatherings for anyone during this health crisis.

Edward Tabash, Los Angeles

The writer is an attorney and chairman of the board of directors at the Center for Inquiry.


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