Ira Stoll argues in the New York Sun that churches could play a major role in helping America recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s not the politicians who have the power to re-open America, or at least the parts that are now closed. It’s individuals, families, businesses, and religious congregations.

The politicians can help by eventually lifting lockdown orders and school closures. That will make it easier for individuals, families, businesses, and religious congregations to resume more normal patterns of activity without the hassle of a legal challenge.

But when America re-opens, it won’t be the response to top-down orders from politicians. That’s not how America works, not how the world works. If the president or governor says “open” and hospitals and funeral homes are clogged with Covid-19 critical cases and fatalities, plenty of people are going to remain in place based on the assessment that it’s not worth risking death to comply with some politician’s restart timeline. America is not a light switch or a sink faucet that can be turned on and off at will. …

… The religious motive is also strong. The New Boston Post, in a memorable editorial, put it this way: “Christians need churches to tend to their souls. …church leaders need to begin the process of reopening their churches. By ‘process’ we mean series of steps that lead to churches eventually reopening their doors to anyone who wants to come. …Each bishop or pastor or church council should come up with a plan today that sets forth a date certain when the church these people administer is going to open.”

The editorial went on: “Church leaders should begin this process without any regard for the civil authorities. The civil authorities have their proper role, but it is limited. Our federal and state constitutions explicitly limit the role of government when it comes to religion.”

Follow Carolina Journal Online’s continuing coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic here.