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Letters to the Editor: Going to church right now proves your selfishness, not your faith

Newbury Park church
At the Godspeak Calvary Chapel in Newbury Park on April 5, people wait to take communion inside the church for Palm Sunday.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: The stubborn, selfish souls determined to flock to church during these days of pandemic-driven institutional closures remind me of that classic Christian anecdote about the drowning man (or preacher in some versions).

During a torrential rain storm, a man stands in front of his church. As the waters rise, a rowboat, a motorboat and a helicopter offer the man safety, yet he refuses each time, assured in the knowledge that God will save him.

After he drowns he asks God why he didn’t save him. God replies, “What else did you want? I sent two boats and a helicopter.”

As for the real world, my sister works at West Hills Hospital. I’m terrified she will be exposed to the coronavirus.

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God does not need you to prove your devotion right now. Please, stay home.

Maddie Gavel-Briggs, Sherwood, Ore.

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To the editor: The pushback from pastors who continue to gather with their congregants, claiming 1st Amendment rights, reminds me of a similar controversy dating to the 1970s over limiting prayer in schools.

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I remember telling my young children back then not to worry, because the Bible tells us to not make a spectacle of our faith. I encouraged them to feel free to pray in school or anywhere else they wanted to, but to be private and discreet about it.

So I have little respect for the pastors who defy the quarantine and hold services during the COVID-19 crisis. It smacks of a sense of entitlement. They don’t have the right to endanger the already imperiled healthcare workers who will be called upon to treat them should they contract the virus, nor the rest of us when we venture out to the pharmacy or grocery store.

My own church is holding online services. We elders also reach out to members of the congregation about prayer requests and other needs.

Is it the same as gathering at church? No, but then I don’t believe our faith is so fragile that it cannot withstand a temporary separation from one another for the greater good.

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Jean Hastings Ardell, Laguna Beach


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