For the right to sing in churches

Petition to the Federal Council

On 4 December, the Federal Council decided that singing would be prohibited outside the family circle and compulsory education establishments, from December 9. The life of churches is significantly impacted by this decision, and we respectfully ask our authorities to reconsider this decision and allow participants in religious ceremonies to sing once more.

We understand the responsibility of civil authorities to preserve the life and health of citizens. Since the start of the coronavirus crisis, churches, like most actors in society, have constantly adapted and submitted to federal and cantonal decisions: by interrupting church-based worship when requested, by developing health protection plans, systematically reorganizing their activities according to the number of authorized participants, etc.

However, the decision to ban singing in an absolute manner, including in churches, goes too far. It touches on the very essence of worship, since, for all Christians who hold fast to the Bible, singing is an untouchable element of worship (see Colossians 3:16 in particular). Also according to article 18 of the Declaration of Human Rights, “everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right implies the freedom to change religion or belief as well as the freedom to manifest one's religion or belief alone or in common, both in public and in private, through education, practice, worship and performance rites ". The restriction of such a fundamental freedom should be justified in particular by respecting the principle of proportionality.

It follows that the prohibition of singing in the life of the church takes on a character that appears to us to be disproportionate. A documented scientific study by "Public Health Ontario" (which offers an inventory, an analysis and a synthesis of studies on the question), dated 18 November, concludes with this concession: "It is still difficult to assess to what extent singing in a group or playing a wind instrument increases the risk of transmission of COVID-19 ” (see [1]). We believe that there is no proof that singing would constitute a risk of outbreaks of coronavirus cases, especially when we know that the Churches respect the measures of wearing masks and social distancing, considered effective by authorities.

Finally, the Federal Council's decision does not seem to take into account the practical reality of how churches operate: the Christians gathered during a religious service, far from constituting a choir made up of professionals singing at the top of their lungs for two hours, sing only a few hymns during worship, singing more with all their heart than with all their voice.

For all these reasons, we ask the Federal Council to modify article 6f of the Covid-19 Ordinance, in order to once again allow the practice of singing during church services.

Petition launched by officials of the Reformed Baptist Church of Lausanne, supported by officials of the Reformed Baptist Church of Neuchâtel, by officials of the Reformed Baptist Church of la Broye and by officials of the Baptist Church of Sion

[1] https://www.publichealthontario.ca/-/media/documents/ncov/covid-wwksf/2020/07/what-we-know-transmission-risks-singing-wind-instruments.pdf?la=fr#:~:text=Aucune%20%C3%A9tude%20n'a%20d%C3%A9montr%C3%A9,utilisation%20d'instruments%20%C3%A0%20vent.&text=La%20litt%C3%A9rature%20examin%C3%A9e%20a%20d%C3%A9montr%C3%A9,transmission%20de%20la%20COVID%E2%80%9119


Roger Dambach on behalf of the officials of the Reformed Baptist Church of Lausanne    Contact the author of the petition

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