Outspoken megachurch pastor Jamal Bryant of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church slammed the Georgia governor’s decision to begin reopening the local economy by Friday as akin to an “assault on the minority community” and “contrary to God’s will” amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“Gov. [Brian] Kemp, if you have a decibel of moral integrity, before Friday comes, I am pleading on your conscience, even when the evangelicals remain silent in this hour, I stand and cry loud and spare not, that what it is you are calling for is contrary to the will of God who declared openly ‘I came that you might have life and have it more abundantly,’” Bryant said in a Facebook Live broadcast Tuesday night.
“I am calling on Governor Kemp to immediately reverse and retract his order that is supposed to start on Friday. What it is that he is doing is launching, in no uncertain terms, an assault on the minority community in Georgia,” he argued.
On Monday, Kemp announced plans to begin reopening some businesses across the state as early as Friday with specific guidelines. Among the businesses that can begin reopening on Friday are fitness centers, bowling alleys, body art studios, barber shops, cosmetologists, hair designers, nail care artists, their respective schools and massage therapists.
The Georgia governor’s office further noted that minimum basic operations include but are not limited to screening workers for fever and respiratory illness, enhancing workplace sanitation, wearing masks and gloves, separating workplaces by six feet, teleworking if possible and staggered shifts.
Theaters, private social clubs and dine-in services at restaurants will also be allowed to reopen on Monday, April 27, with specific social distancing guidelines and sanitation mandates. Bars, nightclubs, amusement parks and live performance venues, however, will remain closed.
Bryant said he was banding with several other prominent black pastors across the state, including Raphael Warnock, E. Dewey Smith, and William Murphy, to keep their churches shuttered in a united show of resistance.
“I am afraid and I am frightened that this is going to set an immoral precedent for other wayward governors across the South who believe that if he can do it, then it is in fact the new standard for death to happen to the black community. I stand with countless numbers of other clergy who have resolved within our heart, our spirit, and our mind and our ethical compass, that we cannot resume church as normal because nothing is normal,” Bryant said.
Prior to making the call, Bryant pointed out that black and brown Americans are still disproportionately dying from the new coronavirus due to higher levels of underlying health conditions and lower access to healthcare. He also pointed to issues of lower levels of testing for the virus in minority communities.
“New Birth will not be holding church because we understand that life is valuable and we cannot in fact go down this rabbit hole of a slippery slope. Where are the testing kits? And if we’re gonna deal with testing kits we’ve got to deal with the inequity of healthcare that is provided to black and brown people in this state,” he said.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leonardo Blair