January 2021 Church & State Magazine | People & Events

A church-run child care center in Fairlawn, Va., is ignoring state mandates designed to curb the spread of coronavirus, several parents have charged.

At Little Lambs Christian Day­school, which is run by Fairlawn Christian Academy, teachers refused to wear masks – even after one of them tested positive for coronavirus, reported The Washington Post.

In November, Pastor Stephen Phil­lips sent a memo to parents, telling them not to worry about the pandemic.

“Don’t allow yourself to be controlled and manipulated by media hype and government propaganda,” Phillips asserted. “Please do your own research!”

After several parents contacted the Virginia Department of Health, officials suspended the daycare’s food-service permit. Department officials said this is the only step they have the power to take because the facility is exempt from full licensing because it is religious in nature.

The officials told Phillips he could get the permit back if he agreed to follow state regulations designed to curb the spread of the virus, but he refused and subsequently closed the center, inaccurately asserting that he was forced to take this action by the state.

“Because we have refused to adopt state mandated Covid guidelines, we have had our license to do business rescinded,” Phillips wrote in a letter to parents. “If you are not already aware, the entire Covid pandemic has been a hoax to establish the anti-Christ Kingdom on earth.”

The Post reported that at least three people complained after Phil­lips began spreading inaccurate claims about the virus.

State officials visited the center, but Phillips and his wife refused to cooperate with them. Reportedly, Phillips even denied that an unmasked teacher had tested positive for the virus, even though the teacher herself had already confirmed that she did.