Correction: the original title for this article erroneously stated Kansas City was forcing all churches to turn over lists of members and visitors to the state. City policy has since changed, but at the time, churches were only required to keep said lists if they wanted to re-open which would only be shown to state authorities should the need for contact tracing arise.
As regions throughout the nation take baby steps toward reopening in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, some measures are proving to be perhaps more draconian than anything experienced during lockdowns.
In Kansas City, Missouri, Democratic mayor Quinton Lucas is requiring that churches record and, if asked, furnish authorities with names, addresses, and telephone numbers of church members and visitors—and all in the name of “contact tracing” in the event of an outbreak.
“I am running out of adjectives to describe how completely insane the tyrannical abuses launched by state governors and local officials against pastors and churches are becoming,” said Liberty Counsel founder Mat Staver in a Friday press release. “It is as if these leaders never bothered to so much as glance at the Constitution they swore to uphold and defend. They seem to be governing from some make-believe, dystopian viewpoint.”
Although Quinton’s order applies to businesses and doesn’t single out places of worship, Staver argues that it is no less unconstitutional.
“The new order states that by recording names and contact information, the health department will be able ‘to more quickly trace, test, and isolate individuals who may have been exposed to COVID-19,'” he explains. “The Germans did this very thing to Jews – collecting the names and locations of all known synagogue attendees – in the early days of the Nazi regime.”
The contact-tracing policy is a part of the city’s “10/10/10” plan, under which businesses and facilities closed in the pandemic are allowed to reopen with 10% of their occupancy or a maximum of 10 people.
In order to “quickly trace, test, and isolate individuals,” such places will be made to “take down contact information for anyone in their building more than 10 minutes in order to conduct contact tracing if there were an outbreak.” The policy also encourages refusal of entry to any individual not wearing a mask.
“Violations of any provision of this Order constitutes an imminent threat, creates an immediate menace to public health, and shall be considered a violation of Section 50-155 of the City’s Code of Ordinances,” the city’s website states. “These can include fines, orders to suspend business operations, and other penalties.”
In a statement to WND, Staver predicted the oppressive new rule will effectively keep people out of church:
That’s because 10 days later, they could “get a phone call that someone in that vicinity may have COVID-19. Then they get summoned to quarantine,” he said.
That requirement chills constitutional rights to free speech, religion and assembly.
Further, he warned it’s just the low-tech version of what several states are trying to do. Some plan to utilize smartphone technology to monitor people who test positive.
Anyone who, through Bluetooth, is identified as having been in proximity to an infected person would be contacted by the government and could be ordered quarantined.
Staver has received complaints from several churches in Kansas City and is awaiting word on whether his organization should take action.
“Never in our wildest dreams could we have imagined Nazi-like measures designed to surveil, track and spy upon what was once a FREE American people,” Staver’s newsletter concluded. “Yet that is exactly what Kansas City’s misguided government officials are now demanding.”
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