Concerns about government “guidelines” for Easter worship

Government issues “caution” covid-19 advice to Christian worshippers for the Easter weekend

Following concern from some of the government’s medical and scientific advisers that some Christians may “overact” to the easing of religious worship restrictions and let “lax standards of compliance become the norm.” the government have issued an urgent cautionary warning to Christian bodies today ( 1ST April) in England.

It is thought that the other Home countries have done the same.

The letter to the Heads of the Christian denominations, states that “the reminder of the rules,” was not just aimed at Christian Churches, and that similar “clarifications” would be sent to other religions at “appropriate times.”

The message to Christians was being sent because of the Easter weekend and the major significance of this to the Christian faith.

It was felt that “religious enthusiasm may get out of hand resulting in a breaking of government rules on worship.” If this happened, then the government would have no alternative but to enforce penalties on anyone perceived to be breaking such regulations.” To do otherwise,” the letter stated, “would be detrimental to the fight against covid-19.” The letter further said: “It would encourage people to believe they had the right to worship how and when they want, and they should have accepted by now that their own faith feelings always need to be secondary to following the government’s advice.”

A spokesperson from one of the leading Churches said: “ We have stuck rigidly to the regulations imposed on worship, and to intimate we would let the government down now after a year of abstinence, could not be further from the truth. We will comply with whatever the government asks of us.”

They added “For the very restricted indoor services, we reiterate that we will be adhering to only having a singer if they are deemed absolutely essential.”

As for outdoor services, the spokesperson confirmed that there will now be some flexibility and up to 50 persons permitted. However, they said that the “allowing of some communal singing would not be taken advantage of, and would be strictly monitored.” Anyone singing too loudly or being too close to someone would receive a quiet warning. Also, “strict social distancing, family bubbles, criteria would be abided by and  there would be no mingling permitted.”

When the Church spokesperson was asked how they could ensure the “good behaviour of their congregations,” they confirmed that “church covid wardens” had been given training in ensuring their compliance. This included the use of appropriate sign language as social distancing rules meant that they could not personally approach any perpetuators. They would be  “assisted by a necessary police attendance at some Churches.,” “to make absolutely certain” the rules were obeyed.” Trouble is expected in some Scottish Churches where a Court victory recently overturned Nicola Sturgeon’s banning of Church services.

UK Government concern about foot washing breaking coronavirus regulations

The government letter also expressed concern about an activity carried out by a small number of Churches, the act of the washing or bathing of worshippers’ feet.

This is based on the fact that Jesus Christ carried out foot washing of his disciples at the Last Supper ( Maunday or Holy Thursday) to teach them how to be servants. Maundy also means “command” so it was the Lord’s command that his followers carried out such serving.

However, the government letter explicably stated : “This religious act is not permitted, as the washing of feet is a potential breach of the coronavirus regulations.”

“Anyone seen engaging in this unauthorised activity will be advised to desist immediately otherwise they will be fined, and if still non complaint, will be arrested.”

The government letter went on to refer to other events in the Christian Easter weekend, and that those such as the traditional carrying of the Cross to visit to seven Church stations, were not allowed, and there would be serious consequences for those who were “covidiot enough to disobey.”

The Church spokesperson admitted that they had “not made an issue of the government’s instructions” and that it was more important “to do the right thing for the government,” rather than plead for Christian Easter events to return to traditional normality.

Christians not happy with either their leaders or the government, complained that there was also a dark side to Maunday Thursday and it was the night that Jesus Christ was betrayed by Judas Iscariot.

They felt that both their leaders and the government had betrayed them in a similar way, but that they, like Jesus, would rise again in glory, and be free.

They also expressed sympathy with the 300,000 Jewish people in the UK, who have had their Passover between 27th March and 4th April, disrupted by the government’s regulations. This event was of significance to Christians too, because it celebrates the anniversary of the Israelites liberation from slavery in Egypt, and much of what Jesus did at that time was related to Passover.

The governments of the four Home countries denied that they were part of a global plan to use covid-19 to reset society so that people were drawn away from adherence to a religious faith to be replaced by obedient adherence to whatever the governments decided. However, they stated that anyone caught making such conspiracy theory comments would be brought in for questioning. If necessary would be put on a re-education course, with the worst offenders being put in rehabilitation camps until they were deemed no longer a danger to the best interests of the public. Religious items such as Bibles would of course be banned, and a new “common purpose” programme would be studied instead.

Anthony Webber

Independent Political Commentator

07824 444604

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