WASHINGTON, D.C., May 22, 2020—Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, released the following statement in response to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new interim guidelines to communities of faith in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The CDC guidance seems reasonable and helpful to me. The tone is, appropriately, not a directive to churches but counsel based on the medical data. Such counsel is hard to make specific since practices differ so much from congregation to congregation, even within the same religion or denomination. Every church I know is working through a staging plan, telling their members what benchmarks they are looking for to know when to re-gather, how they will then phase that re-gathering in, and what steps they will take to ensure safety when they do. The CDC guidance is not a blueprint but it is a prompt to help leaders as they think through what questions to ask.
“Just as with shelter-in-place recommendations in March, most congregations are already on top of thinking through these issues. People want to be confident that when their church reopens every reasonable precaution is taken, and that’s exactly what I see church leaders doing. The CDC guidance will come as a reassurance to many churches that their hard work in planning out the path back to worship is, in most cases, in line with the recommendations of health officials.”