Children, teachers and school staff need our prayers.
I am joining many others in praying for those who are being ordered to return to school buildings and classrooms in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
However, we should also pray for the adults who knowingly send children of God into the teeth of a lethal virus under conditions we know are harmful because of the pandemic and the dangers of COVID-19.
Adults (politicians, school officials, educators and parents) know indoor gatherings of groups of people threaten the health of persons who breathe.
Adults know children breathe.
Adults know children can be asymptomatic yet infected with coronavirus.
Adults know schools do not have enough personal protective equipment (masks, gloves, gowns and so on) to protect students, teachers, support staff and school visitors).
We know these facts. That knowledge gives us the moral power and ethical duty to keep children out of school to protect them from the heightened risk of coronavirus infection.
And we know when (not if) children become infected, their infections will threaten other children, teachers, staff, parents and their elders.
Yes, pray for the children. Pray for all the children of God (adults and youth) who are being ordered to face the harms of coronavirus infection.
But I am praying more urgently for adults who are supposed to safeguard their lives and health yet are being ordered by authorities to send them unprotected (without vaccine, without other protection and with a high risk of infection) into a situation we know threatens them with bodily and other harm.
Beloved, I am praying those adults get into the “good trouble, necessary trouble” that the late Congressman John Lewis preached about and lived to protect the lives and health of God’s children and the future of our society.
Now is the time when adults should follow the example of Shiphrah and Puah, the midwives (who may have been Egyptians) who rescued Hebrew children by refusing to obey an imperial command to kill male babies (see Exodus 1:15-21).
Now is the time for families to follow the biblical example of Amram and Jochebed, the parents of Moses (see Exodus 6:20), who hid their infant son to protect him from death.
Now we should get into “good trouble, necessary trouble” with the authorities whose decisions threaten God’s children.
Now we should boycott the in-person school re-opening, defying orders to send God’s children to schools during a pandemic and refusing to obey authoritarian and capitalistic demands we throw God’s children into the COVID-19 furnace.
Pray for God’s children. Then defy the orders of politicians whose disregard for science and whose lust and greed threatens us all.
Pray for the children and boycott reopening the schools for in-person instruction.
Pray and get into “good trouble, necessary trouble” for the sake of God’s children and our nation.
The children of God are waiting and praying for Shiphrah, Puah, Amram and Jochebed to be their saviors. We have the moral and ethical power and responsibility to answer their prayers.
If we truly revere God and love “the children,” why will we not do so?
Good Faith Media and Pastors for Children are hosting a series of Good Faith Forums on public education in August. Learn more here.
Pastor at New Millennium Church in Little Rock, Arkansas, and a circuit court judge in Arkansas.