In July, New York City’s Redeemer Presbyterian — Tim Keller’s theologically conservative church, firmly embedded in the mainstream of American evangelicalism — quietly posted a statement to its website regarding service attendance: “Individuals who are fully vaccinated … are welcome to sit on the main floor of the sanctuary without social distancing and masks will be optional … Individuals who are not fully vaccinated … are welcome to sit in the balcony …”
The language of the announcement was understated but the import was not — Redeemer Presbyterian had effectually segregated its church body based on vaccine status.
Redeemer, at least, is trusting the honor system to enforce its (literally) divisive policy. Anyone over 12 years of age who wants to attend Episcopal worship at St. Peter’s in Rockland, Maine; St. Luke in the Fields in New York; or Grace Cathedral in San Francisco will have to show vaccine passports.
Given how often progressive ministers baptize leftist rhetoric with out-of-context Christianese, it would be easy to assume mandates are only cropping up in churches that proudly fly rainbow flags and hang Black Lives Matter banners in their sanctuaries. But that is hardly the case.
So will anyone looking for fellowship at Atlanta’s Greater Piney Grove Baptist. Those not prepared to provide proof of vaccination will be asked to provide a doctor’s note explaining why they can’t get the shot. They’ll also need to enter a sanctuary without social distancing and masks!!!