Michael Cooper-White


Five hundred years ago, the bubonic plague raged throughout Europe. In response to inquiries about how Christians should respond, Martin Luther wrote: “I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine, and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance inflict and pollute others and so cause their death as a result of my negligence.”

In this time of the continuing need for social distancing and avoiding crowded conditions, some see an infringement on religious freedom. Those who argue that our constitutional rights are being violated by stay-at-home orders or limits on crowd size may hold some fundamental misunderstandings of church-state relations.

Rev. Cooper-White is President Emeritus of Gettysburg (now United) Lutheran Seminary, Director of Lutheran Formation at Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York, and a regular correspondent for The Gettysburg Times.

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