Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam ignited controversy Thursday with remarks he made during a COVID-19 press conference about people who want to attend church this holiday season.
While announcing new crackdown measures aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19, Northam said on the matter of gathering in a place of worship:
Now, I’d like to take a moment to talk about our faith communities. This is a holy time for multiple faith traditions. Tonight, as a matter of fact, is the first night of Hanukkah, Christmas is two weeks away. The holidays are typically times of joy and community. We gather together, we celebrate our faith, and we celebrate with family. But this year we need to think about what is truly the most important thing. Is it the worship or the building? For me, God is wherever you are. You don’t have to sit in the church pew for God to hear your prayers.
So I strongly call on our faith leaders to lead the way and set an example for their members. Worship with a mask on is still worship, worship outside or worship online is still worship. I can’t remind Virginians enough how serious this virus is and as I call on our faith leaders to set the example, I also hope that our local leaders across the commonwealth will do the same, many already have. We have seen so many people who didn’t fully realize how dangerous this disease was until they experienced it themselves. Read more…