Director of Arkansas Baptist State Convention Says Report ‘Singling Out’ Churches for Coronavirus Spread is ‘Unfair and Damaging’

An Arkansas Baptist leader has said that he believes a state government report on the spread of COVID-19 unfairly singles out and names churches as sources of infection.

Arkansas Baptist State Convention Executive Director J.D. “Sonny” Tucker recently sent out an email of complaint to Governor Asa Hutchinson and other state officials.

At issue was a report on June 26 by the Arkansas Department of Health in which they named dozens of churches, including two Baptist congregations, as having allegedly “documented COVID-19 exposure.”

The Christian Post reached out to the ABSC for comment, with the Convention directing CP to a statement that Tucker released on Monday regarding the emailed complaint.

Tucker explained that he questioned listing the two churches, calling to question the culpability of the congregations in actually spreading the coronavirus among the population.

“Those two churches had at least 22,000 unique individual attendees since February 26, yet the ADH put them on the list for having four people attend (a family of three at one church, one person at the other) who later tested positive for the virus­,” stated Tucker.

“These two churches in particular, as well as a multitude of other Arkansas Baptist Convention churches, have provided an incredible amount of ministry to Arkansans during this pandemic, provided thousands upon thousands of meals, served their communities through Disaster Relief efforts, and served first responders and the medical community.”

Tucker felt that “singling out churches is unfair and damaging,” adding that “Hutchinson graciously reached out to both churches and has also stated that he did not intend for the church list to be published.”

“Our churches are thankful for the protection the Governor has provided churches, and most have been diligent to meet or exceed the guidelines to protect those who visit our churches,” continued Tucker.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Michael Gryboski