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An Arkansas church is refusing to stop holding services by claiming that Jesus died from the coronavirusthey said that — so people could “go out in the world.”

They did it on April 1, but it wasn’t a joke.

They literally say, “Jesus died with COVID-19 so that you didn’t have to bear it.”

The church, in a separate post that day, had explained that it would continue to hold services despite the deadly novel coronavirus spreading at a rapid rate in the country. The church’s decision to continue opening its doors to worshippers was first reported by the local NEA Report news site.

“For us to not have services due to a virus would be for us to go against our extremely strong convictions of the power of God to protect and the power of God to heal,” the post continued. “Jesus knew the world He was sending us into contained sickness and disease. Instead of telling us to retreat from sickness, He told us to go into the world and to heal the sick.”

Healing the sick isn’t the same thing as spreading the sickness out of ignorance or stubbornness. If members want to help, they should volunteer at a hospital. Holding church services, where people will gather and hasten the spread of the disease, isn’t helping anybody.

Viruses don’t care about the religious beliefs of the people they infect. If that were the case, then Christians wouldn’t die from illnesses at the same rate as the secular. Instead, this church is putting its congregants — and everyone in the community — at risk. Nowhere in the Bible does Jesus condemn people trying to contain the spread so as to not overburden local hospitals.

Arkansas’ Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson has instituted a statewide ban on gatherings of more than 10 people. However, places of worship are exempt from the rule… which means it’s almost entirely worthless.

(via MEAWW)