RALEIGH – Challenging times have different effects on different people. It often ties communities together, bringing out the best in neighbors and strangers alike. That example is undoubtedly brought to life in communities across North Carolina dealing with the coronavirus and its fallout. However, as with any uncertain threat, those that express skepticism, ask good questions, or merely haven’t toed the line as closely as the dogmatic consensus requires, get blasted, belittled, and accused of killing people.
An example of the latter can be found in Raleigh, where a church continuing to hold worship services while honoring the ’10 people of less’ limit on mass gatherings is receiving violent threats and hate mail.
From Joy Pullman at The Federalist:
“It was a parishioner who called local news and possibly the police on Rev. Kevin Martin for continuing to hold services during coronavirus shutdowns, even though he had explicit state permission to do so while taking extra health precautions.
Members of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Raleigh, N.C. were filmed by local television as they walked with their spouses and children into the church to worship and receive critical spiritual care at a time of unprecedented global panic. Families kept six feet apart and came in limited numbers, and the sanctuary was sanitized between services.
News cameras staked out the private property and filmed all entering and exiting for approximately two hours, Martin said, then posted their faces for the world to see under the headline “Raleigh church held in-person services Sunday.” […]”
That news station headline came from WRAL, an organization eager to call out those that dare question the consensus of fear. While a church holding services while others are closed maybe newsworthy, it had the effect of bringing out the worst in some people.
“[…] The alarmist TV spot targeted Our Savior as apparently the only church in the city of nearly half a million that continued to conduct in-person services within state and federal health guidelines. After it aired, Martin and his church received “more than 100” hate messages, including several threats of violence, he said in an interview.
“The fact that we’re so afraid to die surely shows that it’s not natural. I know only one remedy,” Martin said. “I know only one person who has died and come back victorious, and that’s Jesus. That’s why I see him as the only port in this storm.” […]”
Good job, Mob! Highlight someone thinking independently, but in a bad way because they obviously don’t care about saving lives like you, so then your consensus cohorts can write them hateful letters and threaten to beat them up….because they care about saving lives so much.
It is worth noting here that Pastor Martin is following all the state guidelines, and had permission to operate under those conditions. Six feet apart, limited numbers for each service, cleaning protocols in place. We’d probably highlight the congregation’s right to hold their service in any case, but being that they actually ARE COMPLIANT with the draconian rules, the agenda of the news editors and mobsters makes no sense.
As the pastor has said, if dog grooming, gin, guns, and garden supplies are good enough to operate this way, how in the world is this not? One is only left to wonder if the one identifying marker that marks Pastor Martin and his congregation for such treatment (by WRAL and the mob) is the fact they are Christians attending church.
Similar conclusions can be drawn from the authoritarian suppression of drive-in church services for Easter, while drive-thru food services don’t raise a single eyebrow.
To reiterate, challenging times can bring out the best in people; it can also bring out the worst. The mob mentality taking hold, the explicit endorsement of collectivism, and quickness with which the mob will move to ostracize and demonize those that think and act independently is a glaring example of how this unique challenge can bring out the worst.
However, Pastor Martin, and all those people acting with individual responsibility as they live freely, are examples of the best. Read more here.