Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam was widely rebuked for telling churchgoers during a press conference this week how they should worship.
In discussing the latest COVID-19 restrictions in the commonwealth, the governor turned his attention to the religious holidays celebrated this month, noting they are “typically times of joy and community.”
“But this year we need to think about what is truly the most important thing,” he continued. “Is it the worship or the building? For me, God is wherever you are. You don’t have to sit in the church pew for God to hear your prayers.
“So I strongly call on our faith leaders to lead the way and set an example for their members,” added Northam, who once defended leaving infants to die after birth. “Worship with a mask on is still worship, worship outside or worship online is still worship. I can’t remind Virginians enough how serious this virus is and as I call on our faith leaders to set the example, I also hope that our local leaders across the commonwealth will do the same, many already have. We have seen so many people who didn’t fully realize how dangerous this disease was until they experienced it themselves.”
Heading into the holiday season, Virginia's Democrat Governor Ralph Northam ramps up his attacks on faith communities during his press conference on new coronavirus restrictions.— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) December 10, 2020
"You don't have to sit in the Church pew..." pic.twitter.com/U6Uwv4k971
The governor's advice was sharply criticized on Twitter.
What a theologically illiterate comment on the essential nature of corporate worship. https://t.co/iXFjxvGmWi— Mollie (@MZHemingway) December 10, 2020
Don't Catholics, in particular, need to be in Church to receive etc? Jews, I know, need a minyan. What's more important, though, is that it's none of this guy's business. https://t.co/o0CaF7aiJS— David Harsanyi (@davidharsanyi) December 10, 2020
From the court ruling that ruled in favor of my church:"It is for the Church, not the District or this Court, to define for itself the meaning of “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together.” Hebrews 10:25." Someone pass it along to Northam. https://t.co/SujzGJWJ4a— Rebeccah Heinrichs (@RLHeinrichs) December 10, 2020
Northam is clueless and unsympathetic. It is hard enough to deal with the pandemic and then have a governor who shows little respect and lack of understand for people of faith. https://t.co/9wc6zFO47y— Mercedes Schlapp (@mercedesschlapp) December 10, 2020
Someone needs to inform Gov. Northam about the sacraments, although it’s unlikely that he would care! https://t.co/jstNM4tGDr— Alexandra DeSanctis (@xan_desanctis) December 10, 2020
This type of statement can only come from the mouth of someone who grossly misunderstands just how important communal worship and the reception of the sacraments are to spiritual health. https://t.co/dwEbPSQvVw— Amy Swearer (@AmySwearer) December 10, 2020
From the governor who promotes infanticide and the party eliminates “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance. https://t.co/WFdSFpopKl— Jim DeMint (@JimDeMint) December 10, 2020
Northam now thinks government has the authority to tell people how to worship?? Dangerous. https://t.co/FtbktrBTIb— Abigail Marone (@abigailmarone) December 10, 2020