Letters to the Editor: Unruly protests are OK, but outdoor church services are not?

·2 min read
Hundreds gathered for the weekly Saturate OC worship event held north of the pier in Huntington Beach, on Friday, July 10, 2020.
Hundreds gathered for the weekly Saturate OC worship event held north of the pier in Huntington Beach on July 10. (Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Over the last two months we've watched helplessly as unlawful gatherings took place in cities across the country, with people angrily taking over streets and highways to block traffic. There was little social distancing, and not many of the people were wearing masks.

How absolutely strange, then, to open my newspaper and read about hundreds of people gathering peacefully at Huntington Beach without social distancing or wearing masks. What gives?

Oh, I see: It was the evangelicals.

These people were breaking the law by gathering peacefully at the beach, honoring their God. How awful. They didn't even have a permit. They were praying for peace, good health and asking for forgiveness. In these trying times, Christians believe this is essential.

I might remind the L.A. Times that there is a 1st Amendment right to freedom of religion. We have the right to worship. There is no 1st Amendment right to riot and block streets and freeways in the name of social justice.

But thank you so much for pointing out those evangelicals in Huntington Beach worshiping in these trying times.

Dan Jones, Rancho Santa Margarita

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To the editor: Moving religious gatherings to outdoor venues seems prudent — but not when congregants remain closely packed and maskless, as was the case with a Thursday night Pasadena event that ended with them singing, "He's got the whole world in His hands."

However comforting that 1958 pop-gospel hit's lyrics, they hardly provide divine assurance that the faithful might mingle together closely and still escape the pandemic's deadly orbit.

How about a change of tune? Next time, close with another 1958 pop-gospel hit, "A Wonderful Time Up There," in which Pat Boone croons an apt caveat:

"Brother, there's a reckonin' a comin' in the mornin'/ Better get ready 'cause I'm given' you the warnin'/ Everybody's gonna have a wonderful time up there."

Singing that tune might prompt congregants to reconsider whether they want to gamble on their deity's virus-shielding reach.

Devra Mindell, Santa Monica

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To the editor: About 1,800 people gathered at the "Saturate OC" evangelical event "with no masks, waving their hands in the air, and singing songs of praise."

Their contingent is named well — they will surely contribute to saturating Orange County with COVID-19.

One of the organizers of the event noted, "We have people crying on the beach because they're getting set free from suicidal thoughts."

The people crying on the beach are not being set free from suicidal ideation; they are, in essence, acting in a suicidal manner and worse, raising the probability that they themselves will be infected and the probability of infecting the rest of us.

Glenn A. Goodwin, Claremont