Easter, Passover, Ramadan festivals test the faithfuls resolve over lockdown
Anglican vicars are not the only spiritual guides fighting curbs imposed on worship, as people around the work seek solace in religion
Members of the Church of England are not noted for their resistance to authority. But during Holy Week, the most significant time in the Christian calendar, its leaders have faced mounting objections to its edict that all churches must close – even to their own clergy.
Some prominent Anglicans have taken to social media and blogs this Easter to argue that churches must remain open, and that to lock their doors is to risk peoples spiritual health. Even Sarah Mullally, the bishop of London a former nurse, and number three in the C of Es hierarchy suggested in a letter to parishes that vicars could live-stream services from their church buildings before correcting herself on Twitter.
Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury, was forced to restate the reasons for church closures in a Facebook video last week. In a tone of rebuke, he said the church must set an example.
All this was just a minor example of people of faith insisting on their right to worship in traditional ways in the face of near-global paralysis. Some of the most extreme have claimed they have divine protection, that the virus is Gods punishment for the sins of the world, or that it is a sign of the end of days.
Perhaps the first example of religious organisations elevating their right to worship above the right of others to health came in mid-February in the South Korean city of Daegu. More than 1,000 members of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus prayed shoulder to shoulder in a windowless basement. In the congregation was a 61-year-old woman with a sore throat and a fever.