Public health officials have been urging people to stay in their homes if they can and practice social distancing to stop the rapid spread of the coronavirus. But churches across the nation plan to disobey orders just to open their doors on Easter Sunday.
While many religious entities, including the Roman Catholic Church, have switched to a virtual service, churches across the United States plan on opening their doors this Sunday to host large gatherings of people.
The Centers for Disease Control has highly recommended that churches keep their doors closed.
“US residents should adhere to CDC recommendations for social distancing, avoid gatherings, and follow stay-at-home orders when required by state or local authorities,” the CDC wrote in its report.
Pastors are already planning to host thousands of people to celebrate Easter.
Reverend Tony Spell — pastor of the evangelical Life Tabernacle Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, said this week that “Satan and a virus will not stop us” from holding service.
“God will shield us from all harm and sickness,” Spell told Reuters. “We are not afraid. We are called by God to stand against the Antichrist creeping into America’s borders. We will spread the Gospel.”
Reverend John Greiner of Glorious Way Church in Houston, Texas, also plans on opening his church doors after initially stating he would hold services online, according to ABC News.
“We can’t do what God called us to do on Livestream,” Greiner told ABC News.