Parishioners fought admirably and with a positive attitude, and they appear ready to keep fighting for their religious freedom, but the Santa Clara County Superior Court (paid through taxation of said parishioners) Monday banned the Calvary Chapel in San Jose, California from hosting its normal indoor gatherings.
County health orders state indoor gatherings should be limited to 100 people. Social distancing and the wearing of masks is required.
But, of course, this is not public property, for it is not a space on which tax money is spent. As such, the agents of the county – who are following Governor Gavin Newsom’s edicts – have no constitutional or moral authority to tell the visitors and pastor how they will voluntarily interact. The stark difference between the peaceful activities of the churchgoers and the aggressive threats and edicts of the involuntarily-funded state is shamefully obvious.
Yet, for months, the county has persecuted the innocent.
The move follows repeated citations from county officials for violating coronavirus restrictions, which have led to more than $350,000 in fines.
And let’s not be confused about the source of the fines. This stems solely from actions taken by the government, based not on any moral or ethical authority, or a claimed “constitutional authority,” or even any so-called “statutory authority” (which, axiomatically, cannot exist, because the state breaches fundamental moral codes).
Mitchell reports that the Chapel and its Pastor, Michael McClure, have yet to officially respond to the order, and that they have until their requested hearing about it on December 1 to act.
Speaking on Friday, before the order was granted, Pastor Michael McClure - who along with the church is named as a defendant in the suit - said county officials had never genuinely tried to work with the church to find a solution.
County bureaucrats offered a PR statement after they filed their suit.
The statement added that the county DA and counsel filed the request for the court order 'after church officials made clear they had no intention of ending their dangerous conduct.'
What “dangerous conduct” would the bureaucrats want to prevent?
Would that be voluntarily inviting people to worship God? Would that be peacefully reading aloud and singing? Speaking to friends and loved ones? Asking forgiveness from God? Recognizing the real authority of the Creator, rather than the claimed authority of state hacks backed by tax-funded police and courts?
And, even if one is disinclined to allow his or her neighbors to make decisions about their own peaceful interactions and risk assumption, if the case fatality rate of COVID19 (even with the government-inflated numbers) is about the same as the seasonal flu, what other “dangerous conduct” would the government cite as its bogus “justification” to infringe on fundamental religious liberty?
Those are questions that invite shivers, as they should.
But we cannot shy away from the reality. The people of the Calvary Chapel in San Jose are facing it, even as we see information like this in the MailOnline:
The suit accused the church of endangering congregants and others by holding in-person services and 'trumpeting' them on live streams.
How dare people not bow before the state? How DARE they believe in free will and think that the agents of the state might acknowledge the U.S. and California constitutions, which forbid them from attacking churches and churchgoers in this way?
In ancient days, people wrote down the struggles of devout people to resist the threats of the state.
Now, we do the same. The fight is ageless, and ours to engage.