Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas drew notable criticism over his recent order that churches and other places of worship keep lists of names of service attendees so the city's health department can track those potentially exposed to the coronavirus — but now he's backing down.
What's the background?
The requirement to keep lists of worship service attendees was part of the reopening plan for nonessential businesses. The city's website noted the "10/10/10 rule," which "specifies that these businesses must limit the number of individuals on-site (inclusive of employees and customers) to no more than 10 percent of building occupancy or 10 people (whichever is larger), and record the names, contact information, and approximate entry/exit time of all customers who are on premises for more than 10 minutes."
The website added: "In-person religious gatherings (including weddings and funerals) may resume, subject to the 10/10/10 rule (if held inside), or limited to 50 people outside, provided social distancing precautions are followed and event organizers maintain records of all attendees."
Last Friday, Matt Staver — founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel — raised a stink over the list-of-names mandate:
I am running out of adjectives to describe how completely insane the tyrannical abuses launched by state governors and local officials against pastors and churches are becoming. It is as if these leaders never bothered to so much as glance at the Constitution they swore to uphold and defend. They seem to be governing from some make-believe, dystopian viewpoint. ...
The Germans did this very thing to Jews – collecting the names and locations of all known synagogue attendees - in the early days of the Nazi regime.
Never in our wildest dreams could we have imagined Nazi-like measures designed to surveil, track and spy upon what was once a FREE American people. Yet that is exactly what Kansas City's misguided government officials are now demanding.
Change of heart
However, Lucas appears to have experienced a change of heart — and the Kansas City Star reported that he signed new guidance Monday making record-keeping optional, saying merely that businesses and religious groups "should consider" the data.
Lucas' spokeswoman, Morgan Said, told the paper that the mayor "late last week and over the weekend ... felt clearer guidance expressing the voluntary nature of the requirement would be helpful, so the city could discuss the core public health needs addressed by allowing for contact tracing, rather than engaging in ad nauseum political debate."
Here's a clip of Lucas explaining the path forward for Kansas City's reopening. "Must gather contact info of all attendees" can be seen on the bottom right-hand corner of the large 10/10/10 sign.
(H/T: The Christian Post)