LAST Sunday I went to the basketball where the courtside announcer encouraged us to chant “defence, defence” as the Sydney Kings tried, in vain, to stop their opponents from scoring.

This Sunday I went to church where our pastor told us that singing was not permitted.

There was no QR code check in at the Sydney Kings game. But church volunteers would not even let me into the auditorium without first checking that I had registered my whereabouts with the NSW State Government.

There was no social distancing at the basketball; we sat where we wanted. But ushers at our church ensured there was a gap between groups of people who had to sit with family members.

I didn’t see a single basketball spectator wearing a mask, but numbers of people wore masks at church.

So what gives? 

How is it that, in NSW, spectators at a sporting event can take very few Covid precautions while cheering and chanting to their heart’s content?

Meanwhile, church leaders are bowing down to every miniature of government interference and yet parishioners can’t even say “Amen” – without wearing a mask and observing the 4 square metre rule – for fear of committing an offence!

Perhaps Covid-19 avoids Sydney Kings games. With no Andrew Bogut and a win-loss record of 5-6, who could blame it? 

Or maybe Covid-19 just hates Christians. It originated in Communist China, after all.

But more likely, churches are an afterthought for a government that fails to appreciate the important role of faith in the community and that takes for granted that Christians, whose Bible commands them to obey those in authority, will comply even when regulations make no sense.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard, when asked at the weekend why church congregations still could not sing without wearing masks and observing strict distancing rules, told journalists that church-goers should “keep the faith”.

Keep the faith? Seriously? In a government whose regulations are inconsistent and whose Health Minister, when asked for explanations, offers condescending puns?

No-one, wearing a mask or not, can say “amen” to that.

James Macpherson is a sought after international speaker with a background in journalism at the Courier Mail and Daily Telegraph. He previously pastored a significant church in Australia and South Africa. James' weekly Good Sauce podcast comes out every Tuesday. He also writes regularly for The Spectator.

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