How Kentucky Dealt With Christians Who Violated Health Rules and Went to Church During a Pandemic. Plus an Ethical Question: Should Evangelicals Who Spurn Health Law Designed to Keep People Safe Receive Medical Treatment When They Become Ill with COVID-19?

Some evangelicals continued to wage their culture wars in Kentucky when Governor Andy Beshear ordered law enforcement to take down license plates of Christians who gathered in church in violation of health rules during a pandemic. This post looks at the situation and also raises an ethical question. Should evangelicals who spurn public health guidance and have contempt for the law be eligible for medical treatment after they get sick with the coronavirus? 

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Benjamin Franklin

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.

Romans 13:1-2 NIV

The coronavirus 

Andy Beshear on how Christians in Kentucky who violate health rules should be quarantined. 

In various parts of the United States evangelicals are reacting differently to the COVID-19 pandemic. A large number of them are following the law it appears and are engaging in social distancing. I chronicled a sampling of that in, “A Sampling of How a Number of Evangelical Free Churches in the United States Celebrated Easter Online in the Middle of the COVID-19 Pandemic.”  However there are a number of places where evangelicals are not following health guidelines. Last week I wrote about a church in Monroe, Ohio that was not following health requirements. You can read about that in, “When a Church Becomes a Threat to its Community. Solid Rock Church in Monroe, Ohio Continues to Meet During a Pandemic While Public Anger Grows Toward the Church.” In Kentucky this has been a hot issue especially among the fringe elements of evangelicalism. This is not the first time I have written about the evangelical culture wars. This blog did an article about Matt Bevin and Christian nationalism in, “Former Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin Who Issued a Number of Controversial Pardons Illustrates Why Christian Nationalists are not Pro-Life.” 

 

What Kentucky Did With Christians Who Violated Social Distancing Rules to Make Communities Safe

In Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear had an order that prevented large meetings during a pandemic. The order which you can read here was issued on March 19, 2020. The order prevented all large scale gatherings from religious to sports and other social activities to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. While most people understood some evangelicals reacted in outrage in Kentucky. Many evangelicals have a warped perspective when it comes to persecution. You can read about that in, “As White Evangelicals Believe They are Being Persecuted in the United States, a Story About Evangelical Christians and a House Church in Chengdu, China Reveals What Persecution Really Is.”  On Good Friday Kentucky Governor stated that any Kentuckian who attends church and violates health rules in a pandemic will be quarantined for 14 days. At the time this was announced at least seven churches in Kentucky were considering to meet for worship. On the day that the order was issued 1,693 were infected with the coronavirus in Kentucky and 90 died as a result of the infection. This is what Beshear said about worship on Easter in person. “I hope everybody knows that even on a weekend like this we cannot have in-person gatherings of any type. We absolutely cannot bring people together in one building like that because that is how the coronavirus spreads, and that’s how people die.”The governor talked about his own faith and how the COVID-19 pandemic affected his son’s baptism.  The governor asked Christians to be responsible and to love their neighbor as themself. Some clergy put together a video calling for people to stay home and stay safe and echo Beshear’s message. 

Those who attended a worship service in person would have their license plate recorded and they would be quarantined for 14 days. Some churches have a drive in service where people stayed in their car as they were following social distancing they were okay.  In response to Beshear’s order three Christians  filed a lawsuit saying their Constitutional right to worship was infringed

If you want to read more you can do so at the following articles: 

  1. USA Today, “Fact check: Did Kentucky order police to record the license plates of Easter churchgoers?
  2. Louisville Courier-Journal, “Easter churchgoers defiant after Kentucky troopers write down their license plate numbers.” 
  3. NBC News, “Kentucky gov. announces mandatory quarantine for anyone who attends Easter services.” 
  4. The Hill, “Kentucky governor announces state will record license plate information of church attendees, impose mandatory quarantine.” 
  5. Lexington Herald-Leader, “‘Take a step back.’ Beshear’s plan to quarantine Easter churchgoers draws fire from GOP.

 

How Evangelicals Move the Goal Posts When it Comes to Religious Freedom

Many evangelicals like to rally around the term, “religious freedom.” But the question must be asked what is religious freedom? Evangelical Christians are notorious for moving the goal posts when it comes to the culture wars. Before the COVID-19 pandemic religious freedom meant the right to discriminate against gays and lesbians. That is how it was interpreted and practiced. In the COVID-19 era religious freedom takes on a whole different meaning. It means the right for people to violate health rules  and meet in person in large gatherings. Or in another description religious freedom means the right to be able to kill your neighbor of loved one by exposing them to the COVID-19 virus. Because of the constantly shifting sand religious freedom in my view has lost much of its meaning. It has been warped and twisted in many ways that are quite toxic. 

What Andy Beshear was trying to do was prevent the flare up of a pandemic and what he is saying is rooted in science and history. In 1918 the Spanish flu (which originated in Kansas) broke out and had a foothold in Philadelphia when the city held a parade to sell Liberty bonds. As a result of the Liberty parade influenza broke out and in the end of the first week 4,500 were dead. By the end of the pandemic in Philadelphia alone 12,000 residents would be dead.  St. Louis in contrast shut everything down and became the model for social distancing which is used today. If you would like to read more you and can do so here and here.  By the way this is why Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans were so deadly and why the COVID-19 pandemic took off in Louisiana. The 1918 Spanish flu can teach us a lot about how to respond to the current pandemic. 

 

Ethics Question: Should Christians Who Disobey Health Rules Be Eligible for Medical Treatment When They Get Ill?

Here is an ethics question that I want to pose. What Andy Beshear is doing in Kentucky is reasonable. Its for the good of the community and most Christians understand. For those evangelicals who reject it can you expect anything more from those who reject science and biology? But here is the question that needs to be asked. The COVID-19 pandemic is straining resources due to the large volume and nature of the situation. For those evangelicals who violate the health and safety guidelines what should happen to them when they become ill? What they did was negligence in that it exposes other people in their community to the coronavirus. The same is true in that they exposed a dangerous disease to law enforcement, first responders and medical personnel who work in the hospitals. So what should happen to them? 

When the AIDS outbreak started in the early 1980’s in the United States it challenged modern medicine. Its also challenged the social system at the time. During the epidemic people learned how AIDS develops from HIV and that it can came about because of risky sexual activity by gays or drug use. Today we know that HIV can spread to many people both gay and straight. At the time some evangelicals deemed AIDS as being God’s punishment for immoral living. As a result that led some evangelicals to ask the following question. Why should I pay for treatment of someone who picked up a disease by engaging in risky behavior?  After all some evangelicals pointed out that through moral living or that by not being gay HIV can be avoided. In some parts of evangelicalism this was said and believed. 

Now let’s turn the table and ask the question in another way. What should be done about Evangelical Christians who violate health rules and then get sick?  From a Christian perspective you can say that they have contempt for Jesus in that they do not love their neighbor as themself. One can also say they they are also not following Romans 13 about following civil law which is designed for health reasons. Their reasons are selfish and leads me to ask a question if some are addicted to religion and go to church for the wrong reasons. The pastors of these places are narcissistic most likely. But this COVID-19 situation in Kentucky is revealing some of what I wrote about not long ago in, “How the COVID-19 Pandemic is Going to Reveal the Dark Flaws and Systemic Issues of Evangelical Christianity.” But here is another aspect that is troubling in addition to exposing and possibly killing their neighbors and loved ones by passing on the coronavirus. Evangelicals are also causing a drain on crucial medical supplies during a pandemic. The medical system does not need additional stress right now. So here is the question in light of this health situation being made more dire by some evangelicals; should evangelicals have a right to health care after they get sick when they show contempt for the law? Should they be given all the treatment, ICU privileges, medicine and more when it could have been avoided if they followed health guidelines? 

While this might bother some people I think an argument can be made that those evangelicals who spurned the law can be denied medical treatment. Many no doubt will be in denial as they thought they could not get sick or the illness was overblown. But the reality of the situation is that they were explicitly warned. They made a choice.  They were warned by health officials. They were warned by people like Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear. They were warned by law enforcement. And they spurned all of that.  Why should we have sympathy  for those who show contempt for the rules? This is not like its a first responder who gets infected. Or a grocery store clerk who was doing their job who came down with the virus. Its not like this is someone in a nursing home where there was an outbreak. No this is someone who could have avoided the illness most likely if they followed the guidelines. While nothing is guaranteed in life following the guidelines reduces your likelihood of infection. Why should we have sympathy for someone who used his religion in a selfish way to engage in risky behavior? So when you look at competing resources and the strain of a health care system I think an argument can be made that those evangelicals who show contempt for following the rules should not be afforded the health care when they get sick. Following Andy Beshear’s guidance like 99% of evangelicals who are doing so do can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. 

11 thoughts on “How Kentucky Dealt With Christians Who Violated Health Rules and Went to Church During a Pandemic. Plus an Ethical Question: Should Evangelicals Who Spurn Health Law Designed to Keep People Safe Receive Medical Treatment When They Become Ill with COVID-19?

  1. Wondering,
    This needs to be balanced out with the whack nuts that are in New York, too, ya know.

    Whose bright idea was it to have a CELEBRATION of a New Year of a certain country in New York, which CERTAINLY is not GOP/Christian territory? They didn’t care of a virus, cuz they supposedly had SCIENTIFIC FACTS, not fear!!! And now look, Babylon is falling!

    While I agree with your criticisms on the Christian (RIGHT), I’d also point to the non-Christian (Left) as being just as stupid.

    I’ve been listening to these scientific EXPERTS on all the networks. My conclusions indicate that EVERYONE is in a LEARNING phase here, so for ANYONE to conclude ANY OF THOSE scientists as EXPERTS…go back and listen to what they were originally saying. They were NOT AFRAID. It was NOT A BIG DEAL.

    Confusion came from all sides. And we still don’t have answers to anything yet. They are still in the data collecting phase.

    Ed Chapman

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    • When there is nothing but confusion and lack of hard data, The gap will be filled and certainty created by Messiah Figures and Conspiracy Conspiracy Conspiracy Conspiracy Conspiracy…

      Like

      • Hey, HUG,

        My ex-wife, who is not a Christian, but is SPIRITUAL, whatever that means in English, is into conspiracy theory stuff. Her and her brother. They hate the government at all cost. Her brother does not even use a bank when he earns money…cash only in a pillow. My ex-wife thinks that little green men from mars is gonna take over the planet. But you guys bash Christians? Look at the other SPIRITUAL whack jobs that think that the UNIVERSE provides for your every EXOTIC hedonistic wish.

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  2. Many evangelicals like to rally around the term, “religious freedom.” But the question must be asked what is religious freedom?

    For a lot of them it’s “All For MEEEEEEEEEE, NEVER THEE!!!!!”

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  3. So your line here appears to be 5-6 weeks after Democrats were hosting Chinatown rendezvous and telling people to not listen to the racist travel bans? It was fine to not heed all these warnings Democrats claim were there in Feb when Trump “did nothing” by listening to the liberal leaders and thereby likely getting infected? Why do they get medical care and not “Christians” now? Help me out here because I’m not a psycho wishing death upon those that I disagree with, so I need some insight into your way of thinking.

    I’m so sick of BS liberal talking points. You people disgust me at this point. So blatantly revisionist you exist within your own reality. Get some help Eagle, seriously. You and your blogger pals should be prepared for the reality that will bite you hard in Nov. The reality that while you may not like Trump and his offensive maneuvers on the press and liberal hacks, the regular people see right straight thru it. Caring about their livelihood turns into “elitists only wanting more money”. Wanting to put this into perspective becomes “denying science”. Pathetic little people, the whole lot of you.

    Keep wishing death upon those you disagree with, true colors are bleeding thru on you…just another worthless POS with a wordpress.

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    • I am asking for people to be responsible. 99.9% of the evangelicals are following the rules. The few that make a stink about it are the ones who are the problem Ronery. In Louisana one person from Tony Spell’s church has died of COVID. Its preventable if people follow the rules in this area. People are being asked to sacrifice. And a person can watch a sermon online. I provided 11 examples from the EFCA around the United States. Its not a political issue Ronary its a health issue.

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      • It’s absolutely become a political issue. It was literally right off the bat. Anything Trump said, didn’t matter what, the left took the opposite stance. Racist travel restrictions. Disbanding pandemic offices letting a virus run wild. Trump calls covid a hoax. PPE in short supply due to Trump ineptitude. Trump didn’t have tests available.

        These are all the headlines – actual friggin headlines. And they are all 100% lies. Now if media and Democrats can’t avoid making a worldwide pandemic into an attack on Trump less than a week onto it, then there is no hope for them to redeem any semblance of decency in my mind. It’s disgusting.

        So is this hot take post that not doing anything other than falling in line with whatever governor drunk with power expects the sheeple to do deserves death. Are we China? Are we Russia? We are not under marshall law. Like it or not, the punishment for disobeying an executive order is usually a fine and maybe a couple days in jail. NOT DEATH LIKE WE LIVE IN A GULAG. What the heck is wrong with you? Serious question, you still haven’t provided a logical rationale why we should let people suffer or die who defy an executive order, let alone the states that have just enacted “general guidelines”. Its nuts that I’m even having this conversation in this country, yet people continue to suprise me with this crap daily.

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      • And the intelligence agencies that warned about the pandemic as far back as November? The cry after 9-11 is where was the intel? The intel was there it was ignored. Trump would rather be masturbated by people like yourself than deal with the facts. Would this have happened under Bush Sr or Bush Jr or Reagan. No, because they took their job seriously. But live in your own bubble. Drink from the well of alternative facts. I recently had a conversation with someone who realized that COVID-19 is an actual situation. He was in shock. Total shock to realize that he was misled. And if you think social distancing is something that Russia would do, well it was designed in the Spanish flu pandemic in St, Louis, Missouri. Get your facts straight before you shoot off your mouth. You can take the time to read, and research just as much as I do.

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  4. The hell are you talking about? I need reading comprehension? Do you have the ability to read what I’m saying? My point is you are calling for the suffering and death of people who defy a government order. You’re not only a moron, you’re a dangerous kook. I dont give a flying flip about social distancing effectiveness. NOT MY POINT, ignoramus. It’s that you, Mr. Bonner, are calling for the suffering of people you disagree with. Again. Many times I’ve read similar lines of thinking from your posts. You try to take a high road and say its beyond politics and then follow it up with a response proving my point. You lefties are all the same. Dumb and dangerous.

    You have problems dude. Get help.

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  5. I still can’t get over your thought process here. Because some intelligence report warned of a pandemic coming with zero additional details, this is Trumps fault? Generic warninga in a report, you know how many of those there are? Probably weekly warnings of a pandemic for the last 85 years. Would GHW have saved the UK, Italy, and Spain? France? Iran? Every country on earth? Are we condeming those leaders too? The level of nuttiness here is astounding.

    There was a virus unleashed on the world due to crappy health standards in China. It spread like wildfire because no health agency appropriately recognized the threat. This is not on Trump, he’s done better at minimizing the impact to our nation than nearly every other nation on earth. I don’t need to masturbate Trump to recognize the real enemy to living free (or apparently according to your post here, just living) is people like you, not him.

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  6. the enemy has always been satan and the works of the devil, not people, “flesh and blood,” as Ephesians 6:10–19 so eloquently tells us who the real enemy is and that our battle is spiritual, not against people
    I know churches that never stopped meeting because they believe the whole, full gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and they know that they sought their guidance and direction from the Holy Spirit, not government or religion, but the Lord who is now the Spirit, and where the
    Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.
    Last night during the full moon, witches gathered, assembled, casting spells against our Christian nation as only Christians and America under President Trump are keeping this nation from becoming a “goat nation” that will be judged with the other goat nations at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Instead of criticizing Christians couldn’t you be praying fo the true Church whose Holy Spirit River is the only thing restraining evil from taking over in America.
    There are MILLIONS assembling today, defying health department rules and regulations, yet people are complaining that bible-based, Spirit-filled true believers are meeting and praying for America. Media is applauding protesters assembling and defying rules but against the Church, Christ’s Body of believers assembling. This agenda to remove true Christianity, true followers of Christ who do not conform to this world, but are transformed by the renewal of their minds in the Mind of Christ of God, has to be exposed for it is the satanic agenda to remove Christ from America and replace our republic under God with socialism, communism, or worse, under a luciferian agenda; the hidden capstone, the god of this world who blinds minds (2 Corinthians 4:4). Please take this to prayer and see if you are siding with God or the enemy of our souls. Father God, I ask and pray for you to send the Spirit of Truth to guide us to all the Truth. Amen.

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