The forced closure of churches during the Covid 'pandemic' was "outrageous", according to the UK's Faith Minister at the time.
Christians in England and Wales were unable to meet for worship between March and July 2020, and then again at the end of the year.
In an interview with the Catholic Union, Lord Stephen Greenhalgh, who became Faith Minister just before the first lockdown in March 2020, has now said that “people at the heart of power did not understand faith”.
Lord Greenhalgh’s comments come amid the UK Covid Inquiry’s investigation of the process behind the decisions made during the pandemic.
In November 2020, Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance admitted that SAGE didn’t have good evidence to justify imposing the new lockdown measures on churches, and his colleague Professor Chris Whitty even praised faith communities for being “extraordinarily responsible in the way they’ve tried to address this”.
The Faith Minister echoed these comments, saying places of worship did a “phenomenal job” of slowing the spread of coronavirus. He explained that the rates of transmission in other settings were much higher.
It is clear that those responsible for implementing restrictions had little regard for religious freedom.
In the second lockdown, ministers seemed to believe that opening gardening centres was ‘worth the risk’ but opening churches was not. This sent a very damaging signal about their view of the place of the Christian faith in our national life. Public worship had not been suspended since Magna Carta was signed. Since then, through plagues and the Blitz, churches remained resolutely open.
The change in attitude shows all too clearly the way in which Christianity has been sidelined and is treated with contempt by the country's atheistic liberal elite.