Belmont University sent out an email to students condemning Sunday’s worship protest and asking students to self-report if they attended. The university cited concern over the “city’s ability to manage the spread of this virus.”
“Regardless of your personal views about COVID-related restrictions on religious worship, events like this severely challenge our city’s ability to manage the spread of this virus,” read the email. “If you are a Belmont student and you did attend this event without wearing a mask and maintaining proper distance from others, please contact Health Services so they can evaluate your potential exposure and determine if a period of quarantine or being tested is necessary.”
Christian artist Sean Feucht hosted the mass worship event on Sunday, saying that it was legal because it was a protest. It is one in a series of “worship protests” in a nationwide campaign of events called, “Let Us Worship.” The Metro Public Health Department is investigating the event to issue “penalties” against Feucht.
Sami Lin, a Belmont student, shared with The Tennessee Star that she doesn’t believe the university should have issued a statement on the safety of this event.
“Well, I think if people are allowed to go into Home Depot and Starbucks, then a worship service is no different. Students and others are expressing their religious beliefs in the great country of America where they have the freedom to do so. No one took this much precaution with flu season. If masks are supposed to work then I don’t see the issue in practicing religion, whatever it may be. It’s a Christian university and students are getting in trouble for practicing their Christianity.”
In an interview with The Star, Belmont Turning Point USA President Jeffrey Seraphine stated that he disagreed with the university’s email entirely.
“I trust that the leadership at Belmont is concerned about the health and well being of their students. When I saw that email, I understood their interest in reaching out to students. What I don’t understand is why they have decided to single out this event to address the well being of the students,” he added.
Seraphine added that the university’s level of concern over Sunday’s event wasn’t uniformly applied to other events throughout this semester.
“The only form of communication concerning the potential hazards from the virus was during the first week of school. Bob Fisher sent us an email warning us not to go out and party. Since then, there have been a multitude of events such as parties, marches for racial justice, and riots. All of which Belmont students have participated in. I don’t understand why this event would be singled out as a challenge to the entire city’s ability to control a virus while other events go unnoticed. As a student, all I ask for is transparency and fairness. But when Belmont decides to attack this service out of all the other things that have happened, it makes you wonder if the standards are being applied consistently.”
Belmont University didn’t respond with a comment by press time.
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