By M.H. Cavanaugh
Christian Action League
May 21, 2020
Monday, North Carolina lawmakers reconvened in Raleigh with pandemic protocols for legislative operations.
The legislative building is open to the public, but only at 50% of its fire code occupancy. Senate and House members are maintaining separate procedural rules regarding legislative sessions, committee meetings, and voting practices.
Everyone who enters the legislative building, whether a Senate or House member, their staff, reporters, and visitors must have their temperature checked upon entering the building.
Social distancing practices are being strictly maintained, while Committee meetings take place in the largest rooms available.
Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, who attended a Senate Commerce Committee meeting on Wednesday, said the legislative building had “a creepy feel.”
“There is hardly anyone there. The halls are mostly very quite – not the usual hustle and bustle. People are wearing masks and seem to dart quickly from one room to the next, as if they are sneaking off somewhere,” said Rev. Creech. “It’s purely a subjective observation on my part, but fear seems pervasive.”
Creech said he has always believed the people who do the people’s work in the people’s house are usually a good cross-section of the people of North Carolina. “What you see at the legislative building, whether you approve or not, is largely representative of the beliefs and behaviors of the state,” he said.
“It clear to me and it’s so unfortunate, what I saw in the legislative building, I think, is indicative of how so many people in our state are living in the bondage of fear. I’m not saying the coronavirus isn’t dangerous. But I suggest that living in fear can be as debilitating, if not more deadly, than the virus itself. It’s paralyzing us, keeping us from our necessary work.
“Psychiatrists will tell you the greatest problem many of their patients face is fear. Fear will drive you insane. Fear causes people to commit suicide. Fear helps to drive all sorts of diseases: gastrointestinal problems, obesity, heart attacks, cancer, accelerated aging, and even premature death. I think the current pandemic plainly demonstrates we’ve become a nation of fearful people.
“Yes, you should take precautions. Wash your hands and exercise social distancing. You don’t want to tempt the Lord by being stupid or careless. But be reasonable about it. And mostly, don’t forget God’s providence. If you are meant to get COVID 19, you’re going to get it no matter how cautious you are. If you aren’t meant to have it, you won’t. God is in control of our destinies.
“If you are a Christian, if you’ve surrendered your life to Christ, then you can look into the future with promise, hope, and joy. You don’t have to live in fear or despair.
“When I was young, there used to be a creepy graveyard that I had to pass by on my way home. I might have been tempted to be afraid a time or two, but it didn’t ever really bother me much because I knew my house was on the other side. That’s the way it is for Christians. We may even pass through the valley of the shadow of death, but we know because of Christ – because he has saved us from our sins – our Redeemer and our heavenly home are just on the other side.
“I’m in no hurry to die. I don’t have a death wish. Still, I refuse to live in fear. I refuse to be beset with worry. Why should I, if God is with me?
“Our country, our state, has to break out of this incapacitating fear. Our governor, our state’s officials, should reopen before we lose more from the lockdown than we would from the coronavirus.
“Let’s not ignore the science, but let’s not forget its limits. We cannot afford to place all of our faith in fallible human beings and institutions. Ultimately, our hope is in God alone. We can no longer afford to stay hunkered down in foxholes. We have to get out and fight to get our lives back, even if we die trying.”
Rev. Creech also said he was disappointed in the slow response of churches to reopen their church sanctuaries for worship services since a federal judge had blocked Gov. Roy Cooper’s limits on church attendance.
“I ask: how is the world going to believe that what our churches have to offer is ‘essential,’ if we don’t act like it? Go back. Make arrangements as quickly as possible to resume services inside,” said Rev. Creech. “You can do that while also making use of the health protocols. But don’t let your fears keep you from corporate worship within the building, the beautiful sanctuary, the edifice designed to assist you in having the fullest worship experience possible – that blessed place which is meant to shut you in with God and away from the distractions – away from what is mostly a profane and irreligious world.”