Deputy Information Minister for Press and Public Affairs, Eugene L. Fahngon says religious institutions, particularly churches, are said to be in complete violation of the prevention measure imposed by the government to protect people from being infected with the COVID-19.
Addressing a regular press briefing on Monday, April 6, Minister Fahngon said, since the government introduced the preventive measures, some clergymen are in defiant of the safety measures which, according to the minister, is intended to curtail the spread of the virus in the country.
Though, Minister Fahngon did not mention a specific clergyman, he said, "Few churches have decided to defy the rules and regulations given by health authorities."
Not explaining what next the government would do to those perceived to be in violation, the Minister said, "we are appealing to you; do not test the ability of the government, making sure that we fight the pandemic together."
When the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed and the government blew the alarm, some churches took the decision to suspend church congregational services earlier. First to take the decision were the Providence Baptist Church, the United Methodist Church and the Lutheran Church in Liberia.
Chiding some church leaders, Fahngon said, "Pastors nowadays are solely depending on tithes and offerings from their members that is the reason why they do not want to close Sunday services."
"What I am saying is that people continue to say, and I quote: 'I live by the word of God, so therefore I must open my Sunday services,'" Fahngon noted.
The Minister urged pastors to look for other means to survive, stressing, "they should not only depend on tithes and offerings during this crisis."
Fahngon was quick to say, "Other institutions were closed as a way of abiding by health authority's safety measures and so let those pastors do likewise."
He said pastors should look at the life style of great men in the Bible who were not just relying on tithes and offerings from members, but were men who had different profession outside the pastoral duties.
"King David, before becoming great and powerful in his priesthood, he was a shepherd boy, Joseph a carpenter, who later became the father of Jesus Christ, Peter, James and John men who wrote [New Testament books of] the Bible were also fishermen," Minister Fahngon narrated.
"These were powerful men of God who saw the word of God as primary to them but they still have other side jobs to do," he stressed.
Referencing Romans 13:1-2, Minister Fahngon warned: "Obey the government, for God is the one who has put it there and there is no government anywhere that God has not placed in power. Those who refuse to obey the law are refusing to obey God, and punishment will follow."