I'm not ready to go along with the idea that this is a First Amendment issue and that this pastor is right to hold a public gathering as he did. The more I look at it, the more I see him as being more interested in making a point and, frankly, portraying himself as being persecuted for the cause. I can see both sides on this one, but I look at how our own church has handled it and believe we are definitely on the right side of this one.
If the order had allowed the bars and nightclubs to remain open while closing church services, then our church would have clearly defied the order. No question about it, and I would fully support it. As it is, we have just switched gears.
- We have our services on YouTube, and there is a major emphasis on folks using the chat function to try and replicate the gathering of the brothers and sisters in Christ.
- We organize large scale public ministry, holding Gospel signs along major roads.
- We printed a tract the compares a virus to sin (it's an excellent illustration)
- We emphasize the need for our folks to use the church phone list to call others and support each other in whatever ways we can.
It's not as good as "real life" church services, and there is clearly a limit to how long we can continue like this, but we look at this as a golden opportunity to reach people we could not otherwise reach. There are also Biblical reasons why not defying the orders is the right thing to do.