The Rev. Irene Monroe and the Rev. Emmett Price joined Boston Public Radio on Monday, offering their takes on last week's Supreme Court ruling barring New York officials from enforcing attendance limits on religious services in places where COVID-19 is spiking.
“The whole idea of going to church is it’s a haven, it’s a refuge,” Monroe said. "I don’t quite understand why a decision — when we’re in a pandemic — would be… okay, carte blanche, just do as you feel.” She added, "There has to be certain restrictions when you have a pandemic and [data] shows that we are surging.”
Price, meanwhile, noted that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo had already lifted the restrictions in question by the time the Supreme Court made their ruling. "We don’t even know who wins here," he said, in the context of a pandemic that has cost the U.S. over 280,000 lives.
"I just think there’s a point," Monroe said, "that you just drop everything and say ‘yeah, okay, we can fight later — like the way Emmett and I do — but this is the common goal that we all have to reach for,' which is saving life."
Irene Monroe is a syndicated religion columnist, the Boston voice for Detour’s African American Heritage Trail, and a visiting researcher in the Religion and Conflict Transformation Program at Boston University School of Theology. Emmett Price is a professor and executive director of the Institute for the Study of the Black Christian Experience at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Together, they host GBH’s All Rev’d Up podcast.