EDITORIAL — Where’s the apology for church’s superspreader event?

Published 4:29 pm Thursday, October 15, 2020

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Pardon me, but contrary to the Facebook post from Emmanuel Bible Church in Keysville, I don’t think it is a silly question to ask why the church would hold a revival service in the middle of a pandemic.

Perhaps, as the post suggests, I am just an “enemy of God” because I have the audacity and the unmitigated gall to question the church’s leadership for allowing such an event to take place.

Pardon me, but I can’t understand how a church could hold an event that becomes a super spreader event and not apologize. Among all the rationalization of why the church leadership decided to have multiple indoor worship services September 20 through 23 I missed the part where they said they regretted having an event where people got sick.

Where is the apology to the community? Where is the apology to the people who got sick?  Where is the concern for the people who will get sick from the people who got sick at the revival? Where is the apologies to the first responders and front-line health care workers who now have to risk their health by taking care of those who became infected?

The church’s Facebook post about the issue tells all the precautions the church did to try to control the virus while admitting no one can safeguard against the virus. You certainly can’t safeguard against it when having an indoor revival service.

I’ve been to a few revival services in my time. I think a revival service that followed COVID-19 guidelines would be the most boring revival ever. Typically there is enthusiastic preaching, lots of singing and amens from every corner. There is hugging, crying and altar calls. I’m not sure what went on at this superspreader revival service but it obviously was most effective at transmitting the virus.

The church says masks were available to the parishioners but does not say they were required. I wonder what percentage of those gathered actually wore masks.

There is nothing Emmanuel Bible Church can do to put the virus back in the bottle. That ship has sailed and the results will be what they will be.

What they need to do now is two things –

• Apologize for the sickness and pain wrought on the community by this event.

• Let others who think they can outsmart this virus know that revival services like these are still not a good idea.

No matter what the president, who has seen more than 220,000 Americans perish as a result of this pandemic says, this virus is serious business. Wash your hands, wear a mask  and stay six feet apart.

After having low case totals since the beginning of the pandemic, this event has caused the county to have its largest number of active cases since the pandemic began just as students return to school. Now is the time for Charlotte County residents to take steps to stop the virus in its tracks. A total of 76 cases have been diagnosed since Oct. 1 after only having 107 cases in the first 198 days of the pandemic.

One thing the entire area should learn from this event is that indoor events like revival services revive the virus more than anything else.

Roger Watson is editor of The Charlotte Gazette. His email address is Roger.Watson@TheCharlotteGazette.com.