News by email Donate


Top Stories

Most Read

Popular Videos

UK News

Gov minister regrets 'letting down those with a passion for worship' in church singing ban

by Press Association

A health minister has been challenged over why he could sing Roll Out The Barrel in a pub, but not a hymn in church under coronavirus restrictions.

Tackled in Parliament, Tory frontbencher Lord Bethell acknowledged there were inconsistencies in the Covid-19 guidance issued by the Government and that it was "entirely right to beat up the minister" about it.

He made his remarks after the Government delayed the final easing of lockdown measures to 19th July to give more time for people to receive vaccinations in the face of the rapidly spreading Delta variant, which was first identified in India.

Speaking in the House of Lords, the Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Rev Nick Baines, said: "Would the minister agree that the prolonging of the restrictions might be justified for certain reasons - I wouldn't demur from that - but the prolonging of inconsistencies is a serious impediment to public adherence to the rules?"

He added: "For example, you can sing in a pub but you can't sing in a church.

"This is what brings the rules into disrepute."

Responding, Lord Bethell said: "It is enormously frustrating to those who have a passion for singing."

However, pointing out it was an airborne aerosol disease, he added: "The decision that has been made has been made with huge regret and not without a huge amount of scientific analysis. But we have to fight this virus and we have to prevent people getting sick."

The minister also flatly rejected that there had been any breakdown in discipline over the rules.

"I am astounded by the British public and their adherence to voluntary guidelines and arrangements," he said.

Pressing the minister, Tory peer Lord Cormack said: "Why is he allowed to go down to his local pub and sing Roll Out The Barrel but he can't go into his local church and sing Guide Me O My Great Redeemer?"

Lord Bethell said: "I completely accept the challenge and these anomalies do exist and he is entirely right to beat up the minister for this kind of stuff.

"It is unbelievably difficult to write guidelines that touch so many different parts of life. I wouldn't pretend for a moment that there is absolutely 100% consistency in everything that is done.

"These things are done in order to save lives and to protect people from infection.

"They are done with a heavy heart and they are done having looked at the scientific evidence and with an absolute sense of regret that we are I know letting down those who have a passion for singing and for religious worship."

Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

A Monthly Gift Of $11 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the USA is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of $11 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Support Us

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.

News by email