Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, churches have had to make difficult decisions. Now, as states and cities reopen, church leaders are deciding whether to reopen for public services or continue providing livestreams and smaller, home-based ministry. Considerations such as protecting the health of worshippers, the public witness of the church, the spiritual and physical needs of members, and complying with government mandates are all a part of the conversation.
Complicating matters are the strict reopening policies that some overreaching state and local governments have ordered churches to follow. In some states, governors and mayors have appeared to single out churches for unfair treatment, and as a result, pastors in these areas are beginning to defy unconstitutional and overreaching mandates from the authorities.
This Issue Analysis provides a list of churches across the country that have been subjected to unequal treatment, explores the theological and legal implications of unfair restrictions on churches, and offers a path forward on safely reopening your church.