Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)

LETTER: Middle ground for defiant church-goers could have been to protest in law-abiding ways

Illegal activity stems from prevalent message that nothing matters more than my rights and feelings

This is in response to “I will disobey until government sorts itself out”, (Chilliwack Progress, letters, posted Dec. 18, 2020).

As a Christian, I find it sad that the mandate regarding church closures has splintered the faith community, with the majority obeying the ruling and a minority going against it. A middle ground would be expressing opposition in law-abiding ways, such as letters to newspapers and government pointing out the ambiguity in regulations pertaining to what constitutes an essential service. That’s a freedom we all have, so why not use it wisely, rather than take it for granted and overstep it? Refusing to comply “until the government sorts itself out” not only stirs up controversy, but raises a disturbing question: what fuels this act of civil disobedience?

READ MORE: LETTER: Church attendee says ban on in-person gathering is inconsistent with government policy

Presumably Christian conscience. However, it’s hard to give credence to that statement when it’s intertwined with a message not found in the Bible, but prevalent in our culture. The message is that nothing matters more than my rights and my feelings.

Mr. Penner, admitting that you felt “inspired” to act like a “badass” when approached by the police, does nothing to advance your argument that conscience forbids you to obey the regulation, nor does expressing incredulity that anyone could “possibly” take a different view. What shared public platform are you assuming, and why? You say you would have “no issue” with the closures if schools and restaurants were also closed, but then why do you have an issue now? Feeling treated unfairly is maddening, but when you combine your anger with a plea to worship the creator, you muddy the waters.

We all have human rights, but allowing our rights to be taken is not a betrayal of conscience. On the contrary, it’s an act of humility entirely compatible with God’s Word, especially when it gives life to someone else. Presently, the rights of faith communities are being taken, perhaps unfairly and unjustly, but if the result is that someone outside my community is spared a deadly virus, I won’t complain.

Shirley Isaac

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