Let me begin by noting that “the church” is not a grand cathedral. It is not even that tiny, cinder block structure, filled with folding metal chairs and a pulpit made of pine that Grandma was so faithful to, for all her days.
The “church” can be anywhere, at any time.
“For wherever two or three come together in honor of my name, I am right there with them!” – Matthew 18:20 (TPT)
That word, “wherever” covers a lot of ground. Our worship is not restrained by walls – or the lack thereof.
Our worship is a God-given, not man-granted freedom. You can worship anywhere, and some of us do!
So this is where I have to remind all those quivering serfs and slaves to government mandates, that if you allow your freedoms to be taken, due to fear, then there will always be someone ready to step in and oblige you.
This is also where I point out that the Supreme Court of the United States should not be who we look to as the defenders of all our freedoms. They are human, and they will let us down. They already have, far too often.
Today’s outrage comes from SCOTUS, and the state of Nevada. It is the latest arbitrary turn in the ongoing struggle with the Covid-19 crisis.
Big thanks to Justice John Roberts for doing the right thing.
He wiped his feet all over the Constitution, with this one.
From The Guardian:
In a 5-4 decision on Friday, the court refused to grant a request from Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley, east of Reno, to be subjected to the same Covid-19 restrictions that allow casinos, restaurants and other businesses to operate at 50% of capacity with proper social distancing.
The church argued that a hard cap on religious gatherings was an unconstitutional violation of first amendment rights to express and exercise beliefs.
Roberts did not explain his vote. Three justices wrote strongly worded dissenting opinions on behalf of the four other conservatives who said they would have granted injunctive relief while the court fully considers the merits of the case.
All they wanted was the freedom to gather, as a church body, in the same capacity as has been allowed for casinos in the state. It never should have gotten as far as the Supreme Court.
So how can anyone allow this to be the law of the land, when the First Amendment is so clear?
The most basic freedoms spelled out are the freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom to petition the courts with our grievances, freedom of religion, and freedom of assembly.
With this latest SCOTUS decision, a huge portion of the First Amendment was cut out, and while the Supreme Court is powerful, it was never meant to be so powerful that it could deny us our rights!
“That Nevada would discriminate in favor of the powerful gaming industry and its employees may not come as a surprise, but this court’s willingness to allow such discrimination is disappointing,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in a dissent joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh.
“We have a duty to defend the constitution, and even a public health emergency does not absolve us of that responsibility. The constitution guarantees the free exercise of religion. It says nothing about freedom to play craps or blackjack, to feed tokens into a slot machine or to engage in any other game of chance.”
There’s no way to nuance this. These words are absolutely correct, and Roberts, along with the other leftists on the bench made a determination as to who was entitled to the First Amendment and who was not.
I get that the virus is a threat, but if it’s a threat to church-goers, then it’s a threat to casino patrons.
I greatly appreciated Justice Neil Gorsuch’s position.
Gorsuch dissent is one paragraph long and it's a dandy pic.twitter.com/eF3sWxOKyL
— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) July 25, 2020
And the church said, “Amen.”
So let’s put some things about the virus in perspective.
There have been about 640k Covid-linked deaths, worldwide (with over 9 million of the 15 million cases recovered).
There is an average of 7 million smoking-related deaths, worldwide, per year.
There are approximately 3 million alcohol-related deaths, per year, worldwide.
Annually, the average death from influenza is 646k.
What about auto accidents or road deaths? It’s a staggering 1.35 million, with half of those being motorcyclists, cyclists, or just people walking down the road.
Just to keep the tragedy and terror quirky: 646k, worldwide, die of falls each year.
For those who think I pulled this from a meme, fear not. I searched out the data from the WHO and the CDC, as well as other health sites.
And yes, I know I’ll have some of my “conservative” friends cluck their tongues, shake their heads, and tell me how disappointed they are in me for not accepting MASK as my lord and savior. They’ll do this, as they gently stroke their designer face clothes, maybe pull it down to take another drag on their coffin nail, or another drink of their preferred fire water.
Some will go on a ride later, not wear a seatbelt (or a helmet, if on a bike of either kind), but they’ll have that mask, because Daddy Govt told them it will keep them safe.
And no, I’m not “anti-mask,” as I’ve reiterated SO MANY TIMES. I wear it where required and it’s no big deal. Otherwise, I practice the social distancing and the hand washing.
You know what else I do?
I practice a healthy lifestyle. I don’t drink or smoke. I wear my seatbelt, at all times.
Common sense goes a long way, but it seems fear has overtaken that, even among those who consider themselves to be true patriots and advocates of our freedoms.
I have liberal friends who will also “BOOOOOO, HISSSSS!” at my skepticism. That’s fine. Most of them feel freedom is whatever the government tells them it is, anyway.
Now that SCOTUS has decided casinos, packed with people destroying their bodies with tobacco, alcohol, and riotous living is allowed during this crisis, but houses of worship are to be strictly regulated, with as few people inside as possible, we can either accept that this is an overblown “crisis” in a godless age and do something, or we can hide away in fear and compliance.
It is time for a bit of peaceful disobedience. This has gone to a place where man’s law is at war with God’s call to bring in the harvest.
I’m not calling for the public burning of masks, or storming businesses, faces out and fists raised, in willful defiance.
I absolutely despise seeing anyone called names or being shouted down, simply because of their opinion of the virus and mask wearing. When you start that, you’ve proven you have no ability to reason or behave rationally.
If you want to wear a mask and it makes you feel safe, by all means, do it.
If you don’t want to wear a mask, at least respect the wishes of any facility you enter. Take the virus serious enough to stay a safe distance, keep your hands washed and sanitized, and watch after your own health.
I simply feel there are ulterior motives – dark, sinister, and foretold ages ago.
I’m advocating for people of faith to exert their rights, in spite of the government. They can do so, safely, and using the already mandated distancing precautions.
We may see a time when the laws and government we once depended on becomes an enemy of people of faith, and this virus was simply the catalyst for the falling away.
We may see our nation go the way of other nations, where Christians have to hide in fear from our government, meeting in secret, moving from place to place, in order to avoid detection and arrest.
It will happen, and we will see then whose faith was lip service and whose was heartfelt.
I also feel it necessary to point out that I’m no conspiracy nut, but I do believe every syllable of the Bible, holding it to be the inerrant Word of God.
“24 and let us consider [thoughtfully] how we may encourage one another to love and to do good deeds, 25 not forsaking our meeting together [as believers for worship and instruction], as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more [faithfully] as you see the day [of Christ’s return] approaching.” – Hebrews 10:24-26 (AMP)
So if the ability to meet in church buildings and worship does not have the same protections as meeting in establishments that promote the ungodly, we have to prepare ourselves for battle. We have to, if we are people of any faith, determine how far we’re willing to go to continue the Great Commission.
We can march into our churches, with or without masks, or we can gather on the steps of the Supreme Court or any other government facility. The Word of God will be proclaimed, songs of praise will be sang, souls will be redeemed and we do it with no fear.
What we should not do, however, is allow fear to steal away our rights.