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Letters to the Editor: Pastors, don’t turn your parishioners into COVID-19 super spreaders

Godspeak Calvary Chapel
At the Godspeak Calvary Chapel in Newbury Park on April 5, communion was given inside the church on Palm Sunday using social distancing and other precautions.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: It is very saddening to see religious leaders choose to be part of the problem rather than part of the solution, to put their desires ahead of the needs of the larger community. (“Defying state coronavirus order, a thousand pastors plan to hold in-person services for Pentecost,” May 20, and “Justice Department warns California coronavirus rules may violate religious freedoms,” May 19)

I have no doubt that California’s leaders made some errors in their response to the coronavirus. But they are doing the best they can with the information they have, and I doubt that the religious leaders threatening to defy state authorities and hold services on Sunday have more or better information than the governor.

As a result of good leadership, California has had a far lower infection and death rate than other states hit hard by the coronavirus. I simply don’t understand why religious leaders would want to undo all our work by refusing to exercise a bit more patience at this critical time.

Perhaps it is time to ask what Jesus would do.

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Deborah Taylor, Santa Cruz

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To the editor: Have some people been exposed to COVID-19 at church services? Of course.

Have some people been exposed to COVID-19 by shopping at liquor stores, which are allowed to remain open? Of course.

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The only way to prevent people from being exposed to viruses at any venue is to close those venues permanently. Then, people will just be exposed to them when they gather somewhere else.

If the 1st Amendment guarantee of religious worship free from government interference is not to be reduced to a total sham, then the governor does not get to prioritize gatherings for secular purposes over religious ones, which is exactly what he is attempting to do by placing public worship in the last priority category of his reopening plan.

Gregory Fry, Los Angeles

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To the editor: Can someone please parse for me the benefit of a religion that asks its people to be harbingers of death and insist on spreading that death around the general population? Can someone please parse me the morality of this?

I do not understand.

William Gordon, West Hollywood

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To the editor: I was amazed to read this article about a warning on religious discrimination from the U.S. Justice Department to California.

It has been documented and printed in several newspapers about what happens when churches hold services amid a raging pandemic. People who attended these services became infected with COVID-19; some of them have died.

Instead of bleating about their rights, perhaps these religious leaders should worry more about their morals. Or are morals not a high priority for these people?

Marilyn K. Brown, Beaumont


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