"Grind a fool up in a mortar with a pestle, grinding him like grain, still, his foolishness will not depart from him."
That bit of Proverbial wisdom came to mind as we considered those churches around the country that defied common sense and in some cases local and state authorities to hold services last weekend.
It happened in Texas, in Florida, in Louisiana and elsewhere. It happened in Kentucky and Colorado and California.
We fear it will happen again this weekend.
One pastor in Baton Route told his congregation they had “nothing to fear but fear itself.”
Well, that and the virus. More than 16,000 cases to date, and nearly 600 deaths have been reported so far in Louisiana.
He sent out 26 buses to pick up members of his congregation.
Around the region, many area churches have found safe ways to serve their flocks: online, via Facebook services, even using drive-in theaters that allow people to tune in to the service just as they tune into a movie while staying in their cars.
Americans are generally a people of deep faith — and how much more so with the beginning of the Holy Triduum, how much more so during a pandemic?
But they also are a practical people, who can see through the recklessness of some pastors trying to force some kind of First Amendment confrontation.
Human nature being what it is, we're pretty sure more churches will try something similar on Easter Sunday.
We urge them to remember this: The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem closed its doors to pilgrims on March 25. It is the first time in nearly 700 years that perhaps the holiest site in all Christendom closed for an extended period because of disease.
The last time the church closed was in 1349, when the Black Death reached the Middle East.
The good Lord gave us common sense for a reason.
The Joplin Globe