U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Saturday that England will go into a second lockdown lasting from November 5 until December 2 in an effort to control the spread of cor-navirus.
Under the new month-long restrictions, people will be required to stay home unless they are outside for essential purposes, such as education, medical needs, or grocery shopping.
Johnson said on Monday that there was “no alternative” but to take this course of action, warning there could be “twice as many deaths over the winter as we saw in the first wave.”
The new lockdown would also see a ban on church services, a decision that has prompted 71 church leaders from various denominations to start a legal challenge against the government’s ban on corporate worship.
“Never in our history have churches closed — not during wars, plagues or famines. Instead we have been places of respite and hope,” Pastor Ade Omooba told Christian Concern.
“The government seems not to understand the very important and long-held constitutional position of the independence of church and civil government.
“Churches provide many essential services to their members, local communities, and the nation as a whole. But we can’t be relegated to a social service. The motivation and key to our service is our love for Jesus Christ and our care for the whole person, body, mind, and soul. The very last thing that should be closed is churches, and then only with their agreement in times of dire emergency for a very short time,” Omooba added.
Omooba was one of 25 church leaders who initiated legal action against the government closure of churches during the first lockdown.
According to Christian Concern, “following the application for judicial review, which received favourable comments from the High Court Judge, Mr Justice Swift, the government backed down and allowed churches to meet, providing guidance with virtually no legal restrictions.”