Churches across the country have been affected by the coronavirus crisis through overreaching government mandates in their respective states. While a few churches have found success through the court system, thousands of churches still remain unconstitutionally shut down.
This week, one megachurch Pastor has issued a call-to-action for churches nationwide to decide to be “lions” and “stand up and roar” for religious freedom this Sunday, May 17th.
According to The Blaze, senior pastor Brian Gibson of HIS Church, a nondenominational church with two congregations in Amarillo, Texas, and two congregations in Owensboro, Kentucky, has announced his plans to “take back his congregations” in Kentucky for worship this Sunday in support of Americans’ First Amendment rights.
On Monday, he started an online petition called “Peaceably Gather,” in which he calls on churches across America to do the same.
“People in churches, mosques, and synagogues have been told that, regardless of any social distancing or protective practices they implement, they cannot gather, with threats of retribution from local governments if they don’t keep their doors closed,” Gibson said in a news release, according to The Blaze.
The Blaze goes on to report:
Gibson went on to call it “not just ironic” but “a deliberate slap in the face to religious freedom” that places such as grocery stores could have hundreds of people inside their building at any one time, “but places of worship and people of faith can’t be trusted to implement the same safety procedures in their own buildings.”
Gibson added that the Peaceably Gather initiative comes in response to state and local officials and law enforcement across the country that have targeted places worship during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a video for his online petition, Gibson starts out by saying that he believes “Jesus is a lamb, but he’s also a lion” before calling on all pastors across the country to be “lions and stand up and roar” for religious liberty and freedom in the face of lockdowns that have prohibited churches from gathering since early March.
Now that lockdowns have continued for over two months, states are slowly beginning to ease up on restrictions and executive orders, but not all states are seeing the same light at the end of this dark tunnel.
In Kentucky, where Gibson plans to reopen his churches this Sunday, Gov. Andy Beshear has eased church shutdown orders to allow for churches to reopen with reduced capacity starting on May 20. Other states, however, continue to see all religious gatherings being under government restrictions for the foreseeable future, such as Illinois where Democratic Governor J.B. Pritzker announced churches will not be allowed to hold services with more than 50 people “until there is a vaccine, highly effective treatment, or elimination of any new cases over a sustained period.”
Gibson isn’t the only religious leader taking action. According to various reports by NBC News, legal battles have ensued in Kentucky, California, Louisiana, Virginia, and elsewhere with success for churches and religious liberty varying.
According to The Blaze, “the Trump administration so far has been generally supportive of churches in such lawsuits. Last week, the Justice Department filed a statement of support for a rural Virginia church in its lawsuit against the state for not allowing services with more than 10 participants.”
Religious liberty and freedom should not be canceled just because there is a potential threat to public health safety. Attorney General William Barr had it right when he said last month in a memorandum that “the Constitution is not suspended in times of crisis.”
Now is the time to fight for religious freedoms before we lose them for good.
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