I am saddened by what I see in this community. After repeated, worldwide pleas on the part of the medical professionals to social distance and wear masks in public, now we see the results of the cavalier attitudes of many of our citizens, especially younger ones.

Having grown up in the United Kingdom, I look with interest at the response and attitude of the different countries.

While I understand the United States is built on a culture of individual freedom and personal rights, I believe many Americans see this as a ticket to do what feels good to them regardless of the consequences if they feel their own rights are violated.

Compare this to the U.K. and European countries that have been more intentional and deliberate in ordering their citizens to comply with rules, and, as a result, have not seen the upsurge of infection of COVID-19 as currently being witnessed in the USA.

While some states are finally seeing the need to take a firmer stand against the virus by closing their borders, many local and state authorities are reluctant to enforce any commonsense rules, merely “recommending” behaviors that have proved effective in restraining the spread of the virus.

They want to leave it to individual discretion as to whether these “suggestions” are followed in case they somehow violate someone’s rights. No matter that people are infected by the hundreds in the community and possibly will die.

We only have to look at what has happened in Union County the last couple of weeks with the behavior of the Lighthouse Pentecostal Church in Island City.

As a believer in Christ and a member of a church in La Grande, I am appalled at the stubbornness of a body of believers who not only insist on pursuing their beliefs at the peril of the community but choose to interpret the word of God in a manner that violates Christ’s words when tempted by Satan, “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.”

I am no theologian, but I choose to interpret Christ’s message to love all people and show compassion to those in need, which means paying attention to how my actions affect other people — in this case, the most vulnerable in our community.

I struggle with my attitude toward my brothers and sisters in Christ at the Lighthouse Church, and while I commend their commitment to their beliefs and their faith, I worry about what kind of witness they are to non-believers. Will they listen to anyone else? Will they follow the rules of quarantine?

I challenge the pastors in this community to collectively hold the pastors of the Lighthouse Pentecostal Church accountable in the same way as we are commissioned to do on an individual basis when a church member goes astray.

Meanwhile, I pray for all those affected, whether they attend the Lighthouse Church or not, and trust that God will watch over our community.

About the Author

Pamela Moore has lived in the U.S. for 55 years, the last 12 in La Grande. Now retired, she volunteers at the Grande Ronde Hospital Auxiliary and Next Step Pregnancy and Relationship Center.

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