Approved by the Executive Committee of the Governing Board of the North Carolina Council on April 23, 2020.
The North Carolina Council of Churches supports the Governor of N.C. and our municipal leaders across the state who are using stay at home orders to mitigate the effects of Covid-19 and protect all of us.
One of the hallmarks of our faith is the biblical imperative to place God and neighbor ahead of one’s own needs. We do this in the assurance that all our neighbors are doing likewise and, thus, our neighbors put our needs first even while we put our neighbors’ needs first. Clearly, this faith-filled way of living breaks down when some people or even one person puts individual needs ahead of what the community needs. Those who violate these stay at home orders—even those asserting their constitutional right to freedom of assembly—endanger not only themselves but the rest of us as well by impeding the only strategy that can stop the virus from spreading.
Health officials are united in their warnings to the public that the gains we have made over the past few weeks curbing the impact of Covid-19 could all unravel if we jettison our current distancing practices. Right now, our communities need to practice loving our neighbors by maintaining our distance from them. This need is paramount as we attempt to thwart the spread of a virus that is deadly for many of our neighbors. Those who gather in defiance of distancing practices not only place themselves and their neighbors in danger, but will further burden our overburdened health care system if they become infected.
While we understand the economic strain being experienced by individuals and business owners who employ these individuals, we believe the federal government, supplemented by state programs, has the responsibility to mitigate this harm. Congress should create strong safety nets for all people until this virus has been cowed for however long that takes. Realigning federal spending priorities could easily support our nation’s most vulnerable. Such support ensures that individuals will not be forced to pick between two impossible options.
Therefore, the Governing Board of the North Carolina Council of Churches supports the efforts of our elected officials to:
- Keep social distancing in place until credible health officials determine otherwise.
- Implement strong economic policies to protect the vulnerable.
Because the Covid-19 outbreak represents one of the more substantial challenges faced by our nation, the North Carolina Council of Churches believes the faith community can offer substantial wisdom to all of society by drawing on the challenges faced by the People of God throughout salvation history.