Religious freedom in Canada must be protected for people of all faiths, and they must be allowed to meet and worship in person. This is a constitutional right, and it must be protected in Langley and throughout all of Canada.
At our Roman Catholic Parish of Holy Family in Bathurst, N.B., people sanitize their hands upon entry to the church, wear face masks, remain two metres apart at all times, and receive communion by placing their hands under a Plexiglas barrier. All of these are annoying, awkward accommodations due the COVID-19 pandemic, but they seem to be working. So far, not a single case of COVID-19 despite all the people that gather at our church on Sundays.
The bottom line is this: COVID-19 is spreading.
Unless we are prepared to shut down even essential services and force every single Canadian to live apart from his or her – or zer or zis – family for two to three weeks and completely shut down all international travel for about a month – and then keep Canada closed off to all goods and services from other countries for the duration of the pandemic – then COVID-19 will continue to spread.
That, clearly, is not possible. So, we will do what is possible while continuing to live our lives.
That means exercising our religious freedoms – and letting Muslims, Jews, Christians, Buddhists and all other religious groups gather in person to worship.
People of faith believe in the power of prayer. It’s time we all turned to prayer, and asked God to save His church and put an end to this pandemic.
James Risdon, Bathhurst, N.B.
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