Alcoholics Anonymous in Chilliwack is being forced to take meetings online in response to the COVID-19 crisis. (Nanaimo AA/John Van Hasselt/Corbis)

Alcoholics Anonymous in Chilliwack is being forced to take meetings online in response to the COVID-19 crisis. (Nanaimo AA/John Van Hasselt/Corbis)

LETTER: Criminalizing normal human connections will do irreparable harm

‘Trust in public health by the religious community and many others is already being eroded’

Alcoholics Anonymous can still gather for meetings. Good.

In all the wrangling over “rights” and “selfishness,” something is being forgotten: the support that family and religious gatherings bring to people’s mental and emotional health.

It is hard to quantify or pinpoint, but it is very, very real.

To ban all family and religious gatherings outright instead of reducing numbers and requiring strict protocols may make it easier for authorities to enforce. But criminalizing and punishing normal, supportive human connections will do irreparable, long-lasting harm to individuals and to our society.

RELATED: Chilliwack churches fined $18,400 for violating public health orders

RELATED: OPINION: On individual rights versus community health

“Just till Dec. 7,” Health Minister Adrian Dix first said. Now it’s to Jan. 8.

Any pastor will tell you their parishioners are already suffering from the ban.

Trust in public health by the religious community and many others is already being eroded.

Let’s hope a less across the board approach can be taken when the current order expires.

Donna Farley

Surrey

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