A Broadway actor who survived COVID-19 took heat for a Sunday post in which he expressed his intention to “respectfully disobey” Washington state’s restrictions on church gatherings and indoor singing.
Chad Kimball, a Seattle native who was nominated in 2011 for a Tony for his performance in “Memphis,” also hit out at Democratic Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, suggesting that his renewed lockdown orders are an example of “gathering ‘benevolent’ TYRANNY.”
Posting a picture of the lockdown order that caps religious services in Washington state at 25% occupancy or 200 people, Kimball highlighted the part of the regulation that prohibits congregational singing and wrote, “Respectfully, I will never allow a Governor, or anyone, to stop me from SINGING, let alone sing in worship to my God. Folks, absolute POWER corrupts ABSOLUTELY. This is not about safety. It’s about POWER. I will respectfully disobey these unlawful orders.”
“To be clear: nobody is going maskless,” Kimball added. “The overreach – in my opinion! – is not being able to sing even WITH a mask. No singing WITH a mask ON. Everyone will continue wearing masks. With respect and with hope and with care.”
To be clear: nobody is going maskless. The overreach – in my opinion! – is not being able to sing even WITH a mask. No singing WITH a mask ON. Everyone will continue wearing masks. With respect and with hope and with care.
— Chad Kimball (@chadkimball1) November 16, 2020
I respectfully implore you to open your eyes to this swiftly gathering “benevolent” TYRANNY. HURTING MORE THAN HELPING. — “Inslee announces the shutdown of indoor dining at restaurants in Washington state as COVID-19 numbers spike – The Seattle Times https://t.co/UHoHL9vUn4
— Chad Kimball (@chadkimball1) November 15, 2020
Kimball’s comments were met with criticism from some of his Broadway colleagues, such as Sharon Wheatley, who costarred with him in “Come From Away,” and wrote, “I respectfully totally and completely disagree with you. I respectfully feel you are very much on the wrong side of this. I FaceTimed with you when you had Covid, Chad. You were very sick. I remember. It scared me. I love you like a brother, but I disagree with you.”
I respectfully totally and completely disagree with you. I respectfully feel you are very much on the wrong side of this.
I FaceTimed with you when you had Covid, Chad. You were very sick. I remember. It scared me.
I love you like a brother, but I disagree with you. ♥️
— sharon wheatley (@sswheatley) November 15, 2020
Julie Reiber Bennett, another of Kimball’s “Come From Away” costars, wrote, “Chad, you sound a lot like the Republican councilman I heard say ‘I WILL have a huge family Thanksgiving! Government can’t tell me how many people I have in my house.’ Its ignorant. It’s arrogant. It’s selfish. It lacks ALL empathy for other humans except yourself. Unacceptable.”
Chad, you sound a lot like the Republican councilman I heard say “I WILL have a huge family Thanksgiving! Government can’t tell me how many people I have in my house.” Its ignorant. It’s arrogant. It’s selfish. It lacks ALL empathy for other humans except yourself. Unacceptable.
— Julie Reiber Bennett (@juliereiber) November 16, 2020
Kimball, who is a Christian, chronicled his COVID-19 experience when he came down with it in March. He pointed to his faith as a source of hope during his illness, writing in part, “And everyone is experiencing loss. All of our earthly pleasures – the things we rely on, our freedom, the things that help us escape – have been ripped away. And the only thing standing are those aching questions – Who am I? WHOSE am I? What is the thing that LASTS? Where does my strength come from? where does HOPE come from? These are questions I’ve been asking myself. So. We all stand here naked and apart from our comforts and pleasures. An we’ve got time to think!”
On Sunday, Inslee joined several other Democratic governors by renewing his state’s lockdown orders. As The Daily Wire reported:
Washington Governor Jay Inslee (D) called a rare news conference on Sunday to order broad, four-week restrictions intended to contain a “third wave” of coronavirus transmission he says is rapidly spreading across the state.
Inslee announced a ban on multi-household indoor social gatherings unless the guests quarantine for 14 days prior to the occasion, or quarantine for seven days and receive a negative COVID-19 test 48 hours before the event. The restrictions also prohibit indoor dining at restaurants and bars, while imposing a 25% occupancy limit for grocery and retail stores.
Most of the changes take effect on Monday at 11:59 p.m. local time through December 14. However, changes applying to restaurants and bars begin Wednesday at 12:01 a.m.
Religious services will also be limited to a quarter capacity, or no more than 200 people, whichever is fewer. No choirs or congregational singing permitted. Face coverings required at all times.
Outdoor gatherings are capped to no more than five persons.