In Arab, Alabama a Southern Baptist Church holds a revival which leads to a massive COVID-19 outbreak with half the church falling ill. This blog is advocating for pastors who don’t follow health laws and who contribute to neglect to be prosecuted. There is no excuse for constant stories like this one.
“You can educate a fool, but you cannot make him think.”
“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.
Matthew 5:14 NLT
The other day there was an article that I read in the Los Angeles Times which bothered me and I did some more research and found a troubling situation. This bog post is about the neglect of a Southern Baptist Church in Arab, Alabama. Daryl Ross leads Warrior Creek Missionary Baptist Church in Marshall County. Warrior Creek is a small Southern Baptist Church of about 80 to 100 who attend Sunday services. This Baptist church traces its roots back to the 1860’s. In the middle of a pandemic this Southern Baptist Church decided to hold a revival.
The church in this revival claimed to have practiced social distancing but in many ways did not. People were not required to wear face masks and handshakes took place in this meeting. Baptist revivals are usually week-long events and they feature a guest evangelist. The goal was to encourage professions of faith and to hold baptisms as well. Services were held a couple of times a day in the afternoon and evening. Families carried the pastor and the evangelist home and had dinner with them. During this revival a member who was a-symptomatic with COVID-19 showed up.
Massive COVID-19 Outbreak and Over Half the Southern Baptist Church Becomes Ill
One of the members showed up being a-symptomatic. In the process over half the Southern Baptist Church became ill with COVID-19. In the middle of the revival Daryl Ross received a phone call that one member tested positive for the Coronavirus. The a-symptomatic person is believed to have contracted the virus through his job and while he is not ill, his family became sick. Warrior Creek Baptist became sick with dozens falling ill over the last weekend. Pastor Daryl Ross commented that, “I’ve got church members sick everywhere.” The number of people sick is over forty with two having serious health problems with one having respiratory issues. Despite that the pastor claimed that he knew what they were doing and he defended the revival saying he would do it again. “We knew what we were getting into,” he said. “We knew the possibilities.” The church has a Facebook page but they took it down. If you would like to read more you can do so at the following news stories.
- The Guardian, “‘The whole church has got it, just about’: dozens with Covid-19 after Alabama Baptist revival.”
- CBS News, “Over 40 infected with coronavirus after church revival event in Alabama: “We knew what we were getting into“
- AI.com, “A small Alabama church had a revival and now 40 people have coronavirus.”
- HuffPost, “Over 40 Infected With COVID-19 After Revival Event At Alabama Baptist Church: Pastor.”
- Time, “‘The Whole Church Has Got It, Just About.’ Alabama Pastor Says More Than 40 People Have Coronavirus After Revival Event.”
- Los Angeles Times, “At least 40 people test positive for coronavirus after church event, Alabama pastor says.”
Why Pastors Should be Prosecuted for Neglect
When I heard about this I was stunned. Who decides to hold a revival or large get together in the middle of a pandemic? How many times do I have to keep writing about this issue. There has been significant evidence that suggests that evangelical churches or places of worship have been breeding grounds for COVID-19. You can read about this in, “Evidence Suggests That Evangelical Churches Meeting During a Pandemic Are Helping to Worsen COVID-19 and Accelerate the Spread in the United States. Also Ed Stetzer Responds to a New York Times Article.” There is really no excuse for this behavior. The rejection of science by some evangelicals helps explain why situations like this happen, but for me that is no excuse in the end.
What this blog would like to see in situations like this is the following. If a church is going to violate health department rules and put people in danger then churches like this should be prosecuted. What kind of pastor exposes people to harm? And worse what type of pastor says that he knew what he was doing in this situation? Individuals like Daryl Ross should be arrested and prosecuted and spend time in jail. Sitting behind bars for a couple of months should give him plenty of time to reflect on his negligence. Worse, if someone does end up in the hospital and if someone does lose their life they should bring a lawsuit against the church for negligence. Churches like Warrior Creek Missionary Baptist Church are not good for their communities and end up doing more harm in the end. And don’t call this persecution, this is just common sense speaking. The United States will get no where in containing the COVID-19 pandemic as long as difficult stories like this keep happening. People who don’t learn from these situations or worse have the belief that it won’t happen to them are really showing their ignorance. The time has come, this blog is hoping that the book is thrown at some of these places and that they are prosecuted.