The director of the National Institutes of Health is urging churches to close their doors as COVID-19 cases spike around the country.
Dr. Francis Collins, a frequent church-goer and outspoken believer who converted from atheism to Christianity in his twenties after observing the faith of his patients, pushed for congregations to stop gathering in-person during a Zoom conversation Thursday with Dr. Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, a branch of the Southern Baptist Convention.
“The virus is having a wonderful time right now, taking advantage of circumstances where people have let their guard down,” he told Moore, according to NPR. “Churches gathering in-person is a source of considerable concern and has certainly been an instance where super spreading has happened and could happen again.”
Collins went on to say most churches “really ought to be advised to go to remote services, if they’re not already doing so.”
He explained that, while many believers do a good job of wearing their masks and remaining socially distant at the beginning of church gatherings and during church services, they often let their guards down when worship services end, because, Collins said, “you can’t get a bunch of Christians not to hug each other and not want to shake hands with the pastor as they go out the door.”
The NIH director also pushed back on those who see the mask mandates around the country — something former Vice President Joe Biden has fully embraced — as “a political statement” or “an invasion of your personal freedom.”
“This is a lifesaving device,” he said of cloth face coverings. “Think about it that way. And remember, when you put on that mask, you’re protecting yourself from other people, but mostly you’re protecting them from yourself. You’re doing the altruistic, loving thing of saying, ‘I’m going to protect people from me.’ And that’s a Christian action if I’ve ever heard one.”
Collins’ comments came just a couple days before Biden said that, upon his inauguration on Jan. 20, 2021, he will ask — and mandate, where he can — all Americans to wear masks for the first 100 days of his administration.
The doctor also spoke with Moore about the safety and efficacy of coming vaccinations for COVID-19. You can read more about that at CBN News.