Very High Risk
It’s been about a year since I published my one and only bit of commentary on the plague of 2020. I have written many pages about Covid since then, especially during lockdowns, but none made it to print as I tend not to publish anything I write while frustrated. One year ago, "Churches Are Non-Essential" was a satirical take on how churches behaved in the first weeks of the pandemic. I read it now wishing that it had remained satire.
A subtle shift that has taken place with recent lockdowns here that I felt obliged to comment on. Last week, the Ministry of Health COVID-19 website was updated with the following:
At different Alert Levels, gatherings may not be able to go ahead as usual because they present a very high risk of transmitting COVID-19. This means we need to change how we come together for religious events ...
Places of worship can use a variety of online methods to safely continue religious services.
The government is now giving churches directions and instructions on how to conduct worship. A year ago this might have been met with some outrage, but today I have seen no comment on it. The post-modern church itself taught the government that "cyber-church" was a perfectly acceptable replacement for the real thing. Most of those who disagree are too scared to stick their necks out in protest at the government usurping authority it does not have.
If worship is simply a product to be consumed, then of course it can be done online.
This past year, churches in other parts of the world that remained open, or re-opened, against government mandates were overflowing with people hungry for spiritual food. One Canadian pastor has recently ended up in jail, held without bail, because he refused to turn hungry seekers away from the spiritual feast. Other Canadian churches accept large fines as a worthy price for worshipping God together.
As evidenced by muted chatter, plenty of Christians disregarded the anti-Christian, unbiblical, and immoral proclamations of the magistrates. New Zealand’s underground church undoubtedly thrives during a lockdown yo-yo, especially in the Bible-belt of South Auckland.
Stay home, save lives. All this by a government that murders over ten thousand preborn babies every year and is in the process of adding a yet unknown number at the other end of the human lifecycle to its annual body count.
If you were to take the effect of lockdown on an average “life saved” from a Christian perspective, it would likely look like this: an elderly citizen gets locked in his room for a few weeks/months/year, has his life-expectancy extended by one extra year, he dies, and goes to hell.
There’s nothing Christian about that, which is precisely why the pre-modern church spent so much time ministering to the sick and dying, especially during plagues. Many people were saved—in the way that matters.
All this may sound bizarre to the atheist reader. Or perhaps not. After all, if the Bible is true then that’s how you would expect Christians to behave, right? What do non-believers see instead? God has no place in a pandemic response for post-modern Christians, because "the science" will bring us salvation from the plague. Covid isn't a judgement from God that requires public national repentance, that's just old stuff from the irrelevant parts of the Bible, not applicable to the post-modern Christian. Instead, God has given us "the science" so that we may find our own way out.
During the third lockdown in February, we saw the announcement delayed so that the sins of sodomy and pride could be publicly celebrated in an event attended by key members of cabinet who knew full well that they'd be forcing the country into lockdown hours later.
"The science" said it was safe.
The fourth lockdown this week was organised so that weekend night partying could be wrapped up, along with an ongoing boxing match at the time of the announcement. Another "Pride March" had taken place earlier in the day.
Saturday night partying and binge-drinking could not possibly be interrupted, so declared "the science".
The strange 6am cut-off rather than "11:59pm" or "noon" was designed to make sure most early morning church services would be cancelled, but gave enough time for revelers to party out the night without the discomfort of being sent home early and sober.
"The science" seems to have a strange penchant for the debauched and depraved.
Don't go to church though, "the science" says that's a very high risk. Only worship God if you can do so safely with permission from the government.