One of the things we’re beginning to see as states move toward “reopening” is elected officials and health directors mandating even more stringent precautions than had existed in prior orders. In Ohio, for example, Gov. Mike DeWine announced last week a plan to reopen the state, even while ordering restaurants, stores, and their customers to wear masks — something that wasn’t required under his previous shutdown order.
It’s even worse in Knox County, Tenn., where the health department just announced that while churches may reopen on May 1, the Lord’s Supper is forbidden.
The order was announced by Knox County Health Department Regional Hospital Coordinator Charity Menefee, who announced that Communion is not part of “core worship.”
“The Community Strategy for Phased Reopening is complementary to Governor Lee’s ‘Tennessee Pledge: Reopening Tennessee Responsibly’ framework and the White House’s ‘Opening Up America Again’ guidance,” the edict explains. “Local government has been empowered to create strategies relevant to the unique needs of the community.”
“If there are differences between the plans, the community should follow this local plan,” the document explains. The order lists the rules for reopening a wide variety of businesses including restaurants, spas, tattoo parlors, and museums. It also allows churches to hold services, provided they follow the county’s stringent guidelines that include social distancing, sanitizing surfaces between services, treating every partitioner “as if they are potentially dangerous,” and a requirement that everyone in attendance at Knox County churches wear a mask—unlike stores and restaurants, where employees and patrons are only required to wear a mask when social distancing cannot be maintained.
In addition, “The physical taking of communion/sacrament should not be performed due to the serial breaking of physical distancing across a congregation.” Churches are urged to “consider guiding parishioners in how to connect with the spiritual aspects of these practices during this phase.” Never mind that for Christians, Communion is a requirement, not an optional activity that can be transmitted over the internet.
Not only that, but church attendees are also banned from physically embracing or shaking hands with one another. And singing, while not banned, “is discouraged as it is thought to be an activity that expels significantly more virus than talking.”
Author: Paula Bolyard
Source: PJ Media