As lawmakers across the country slowly roll back their COVID-19 lockdown mandates, governors in several states have refused to lift restrictions on houses of worship. Some are even doubling down on their efforts to target people of faith, in spite of President Trump’s proclamation that churches are an essential service. This is no longer about health and safety; it’s religious persecution.
California’s Outrageous “No Worship” Orders
In California, Governor Gavin Newsom has banned ALL worship – including “singing and chanting” – for 80 percent of the population, no matter how many people are gathered and even if they practice social distancing. This not only applies to churches but also applies to one’s home if you have someone present who does not live there. Newsom is so drunk with power that he actually declares he has the authority to prohibit home Bible studies and fellowship groups.
This is so outrageous that I’ll say it again: the governor has decreed that Californians may not worship, sing hymns, or even hold Bible studies in their own homes! At the same time, Gov. Newsom openly supports the state’s protesters, rioters, and Marxist revolutionaries who stand should-to-shoulder and chant slogans in the streets, telling them “God bless you. Keep doing it!”
Violation of Gov. Newsom’s no worship order may result in a criminal charge “punishable by fine or imprisonment.” But because some Christians in California continue to follow their consciences – obeying God rather than the governor – elected officials and bureaucrats are doubling down on draconian enforcement measures.
Los Angeles City Mayor Eric Garcetti – who applauded the Bible-burning anarchists of Portland, Oregon – announced that he will shut off water and electric services to any church or home that violates California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s unconstitutional “no worship” orders. California Christians now have a choice – serve the Lord or have their basic utilities cut off!
That is religious persecution. And while Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti may have been the first to issue threats of utility shutoffs, governors and mayors in other states are following a similar course.
Religious Persecution in Other States
Liberty Counsel, a nonprofit legal organization that defends the First Amendment, has filed federal lawsuits against the governors of Maine, Virginia, Kentucky, and Illinois. In each of these states, governors and local officials have closed churches, squashed religious freedom, and criminalized worship practices.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has restricted church gatherings since April when he issued guidance urging religious leaders to “find alternatives” to in-person gatherings and directing individuals to “not gather in religious buildings or homes for services or celebrations.”
Even more outrageous, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak won’t allow churches – no matter their size – to have more than 50 people in attendance even while casinos can operate at 50% capacity. That’s called discrimination.
One Nevada church, Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley, sued the governor for his strict cap on service attendance. Incredibly, the church lost its Supreme Court battle after Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the liberal majority to discriminate against religion. In a scathing repudiation, conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch noted “there is no world in which the Constitution permits Nevada to favor Caesars Palace over Calvary Chapel.”
Christians Are Pushing Back
In Pennsylvania, worshipers decided to gather at their local Walmart since they weren’t allowed to have church anywhere else. In Nevada, Christians gathered for prayer and worship at a Las Vegas casino (shown in the #EvangelicalsforTrump photo above).
Los Angeles’ Grace Community Church and Pastor John MacArthur have been holding in-person church services despite the ban on church assemblies. The City of Los Angeles sent the church a cease and desist letter, threatening to charge BOTH the church as a whole and Pastor MacArthur as an individual, a $1,000 a day fine. The pastor also faces the possibility of being arrested should in-person services to continue.
Despite the threat, the church and Pastor MacArthur are holding firm. MacArthur explained, “We stand firm to continue fulfilling our biblical mandate from Christ to proclaim the Gospel and assemble together, and I earnestly hope that our stance will encourage other pastors, churches, and the general public across America and the world to also stand firm for biblical Truth.”
Jenna Ellis, a constitutional law attorney, said, “Pastor MacArthur and Grace Community church are not disobeying the Constitution; it is California’s Governor Gavin Newsom and Mayor Eric Garcetti that are defying their constitutional obligation to protect religious freedom and church assembly.”
“Our American system of government specifically recognizes that our individual, fundamental right to free exercise of religion and freedom of assembly is a pre-political, God-given, inalienable right. That right is not given by the government or the Constitution, but rather, government is mandated by the Constitution to preserve and protect it for the church. Grace Community Church has every right to assemble without impossible and unreasonable infringement from the state, and the state has absolutely no power to impose the restrictions it is demanding.”
The fact is that it’s the constitutional right of any group of people to publicly gather and peacefully protest. No elected official should be picking who is allowed to exercise their rights and who isn’t.
Likewise, Christians have a First Amendment right to worship without government restrictions. We need to stand up for that right. Pastor John MacArthur appeared on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson to defend his church’s decision, reminding viewers that Christians have always been the “original protestors.”
“We go back 500 years to the protestant reformation,” MacArthur said. “We’re still protesting lies and deception for the sake of the truth.” The Pilgrims who came to the New World were fleeing religious persecution to live their lives as God ordained. That’s why the United States of America was founded on the precept of religious freedom.
Yet now a pool of out-of-control Democrat governors, who openly support Bible-burning Marxist revolutionaries, seek to undermine our unalienable right to religious liberty! But it won’t stop there. In the Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx sought to abolish private property, the family, individuality, religion, nations, history and tradition.
Sound familiar??? Is that scary or what! The War to Destroy Christian America is not fiction – it’s reaching a point of intensity at which action must be taken. That’s why you hear people say the coming election will be the most important one of our lifetime – and it’s true. Will America rise and be great again? Or will it fall, destroyed from the inside?
As Christians, we are called to serve Christ first, not Caesar. Moreover, we know that the answer to chaos is Christ. So we need to pray for the spiritual health of our country.
“I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.” ~1 Tim 2:1-2
“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” ~2 Chron. 7:14