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Darren Millar welsh senedd.png
UK News

Christian politician demands proof from Welsh Govt that closing churches in lockdown is necessary

by Cara Bentley

A Christian member of the Welsh Senedd has asked for evidence that proves closing churches is a necessary step to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. 

As of this Sunday, churches in Wales will be closed for three weekends, as part of a short lockdown in the country. 

Darren Millar, a Christian and the Conservative Member of the Senedd for Clwyd West, said on Wednesday: "In the absence of any evidence that suggests that churches and chapels in Wales pose a significant threat of transmission of the coronavirus, closure does not seem to be a proportionate or necessary act. I'm sure that you would agree with me that spiritual health is just as important as people's physical and mental health and well-being and houses of God should be a place of refuge in time for crisis and therefore, there is a very good case to keep them open."

He told fellow politicians that Wales has already had the longest closure of places in worship in the UK, still has a ban on choirs, unlike in England, Scotland or Northern Ireland, and recently had a case where communal reciting of the Lord's Prayer was said not to be allowed. 

Speaking to Premier, Mr Millar explained how some Christians in Wales are reacting: "I've had many church leaders getting in touch expressing their utter dismay. Frankly, Wales is a country where we have churches and chapels on every corner and they're doing a huge amount of positive work in their local communities, even more so because of the coronavirus pandemic. What sustains people of faith is their relationship with God, so their spiritual nourishment that comes from being able to attend church on a Sunday is obviously very important. So, the news that they would be required to close for the next three weekends in Wales was a devastating blow."

 

A petition has been launched entitled 'Classify Places of Worship as essential, to allow people to attend church during lockdowns' which has 1,787 signatures so far. 

Mr Millar has been praised by some church leaders online for "standing up for people of faith."

Labour's Rebecca Evans MS, Minister for Finance and Trefnydd, responded by saying she appreciates the importance of churches and that: "We can't look to every single type of setting, because we're looking at people's contacts in the round and trying to minimise the number of contacts that we have. But I do appreciate the difficulties that it will cause people."

Listen to Premier's full interview with Darren Millar here: 

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