COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The lights dimmed. Guitars thrummed. And a nine-piece band kicked off what amounted to a rock concert inside an amphitheater of a church. “Shout for joy to the Lord,” one musician called out, quoting Scripture.
Any such shout could release the coronavirus to congregants. With some 500 people singing along, though, any concern about a deadly virus circulating was hard to find other than the spaced-out chairs in the 6,000-person hall. Although Colorado’s governor had issued a statewide order days earlier mandating masks, hardly anyone at this service at New Life Church obeyed.
“I’m finding this to be true at churches all over America: If they’re told they have to wear a mask, they’ll stay home,” said Brady Boyd, senior pastor of the 15,000-member New Life Church, a nondenominational megachurch that meets in five locations across the Pikes Peak region.
Long considered one of the