State and local governments across the country are walking a cultural and legal divide, weighing public health and freedom of religious practice. Over 95% of Americans have been directed them to stay at home except for the absolute necessities, like groceries, drug stores or taking care of loved ones. But, government and religious leaders are divided over whether it is necessary for people to gather for worship at the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus.
Class discussion: Would you go to a church, temple or mosque if it could lead to you or other people dying from the coronavirus? Why or why not? Is your religion more important to you than your health or the health of others? What do you think of religious leaders who urge their followers to gather for services or prayer? Should they face legal sanctions or would that infringe on religious freedom? Aren’t clergy subject to the same laws as the rest of us? Should people be exempt from laws because of their religious beliefs? Why or why not?