November 2, 2020 - Monday
San Jose Will Fined a Way to Worship
November 2, 2020
If someone asked you where Christians could be fined $300,000 for worshipping Jesus, most of you would probably say communist China. Try San Jose, California. That's where liberal local officials have decided to make an example of any congregation willing to stand up to the governor's ridiculous orders. They're willing to bankrupt churches and even send Calvary Chapel Senior Pastor Mike McClure to jail for daring to safely gather God's people.
"I don't want to break the law," he said to the congregation on Sunday, "but I'm called to preach gospel." McClure also made it clear that by showing up, anyone could be in trouble with the law. "...[T]hey could arrest you, give you a fine, or a citation," he warned. That didn't seem to deter the 600 or so people in attendance. They cheered McClure's bold stand, which attorneys defended this morning in a Santa Clara County court.
"Over the past five months, not one person has contracted COVID-19, they have contributed zero to the infection rate of this county," said Mariah Gondeiro, who's representing the church. Despite that fact, Santa Clara officials have been relentless. County counsel James Williams told reporters, "We tried to work with them for a long time. They've admitted to the violations, and so we are seeking the help of the court in enforcing these really important orders," he said. "The reality is, almost every congregation, regardless of faith tradition has been safely in compliance with the public health directives."
Other area pastors have come to McClure's defense, arguing that they've had 600 people in a space that holds almost 2,000. "What I see happening right now is cruel and unusual punishment -- $330,000 in fines levied against a pastor simply for opening up," said Hector Moreno with the Home Church in Campbell. Unfortunately, McClure said, the health department shows no interest in finding a fair solution for local churches. "They came here, got really upset and yelled at us and left, they never wanted to talk to me or work with me -- and I'd love to, we're trying to help the community."
As several respected medical experts have pointed out, California's virus situation isn't nearly as dire as local officials have described it. Just last week on "Washington Watch," Dr. Andrew Bostom was explaining that there are actually a lot of reassuring long-term COVID trends right now, showing that "we've really flattened out in terms of hospitalizations and deaths and even infections." And unfortunately, the fearmongers in the media and liberals in the Democratic Party refuse to recognize any of that. "They will take any little uptick and stick that on the front of the web page. And I think this is being done all over the country." But, with the exception of the elderly, the actual infection-fatality ratio is about 6.5 percent, "so five in 10,000 people under 70."
Keeping people locked up and disconnected is what has actually hurt people -- a fact that President Trump pointed out in the final debate. When Joe Biden -- who vowed to lock everyone back down if he's president -- said ominously, "We're about to go into a dark winter," the president replied, "I don't think we're going to have a dark winter at all. We're opening up our country. We've learned and studied and understand the disease, which we didn't at the beginning... Ninety-nine percent of young people recover... We have to recover. We can't close up our nation... or you're not going to have a nation."
America is in a desperate situation right now, and the Left wants to control and limit the church. I shared the reality of the choice that is before voters yesterday at King Jesus Miami church in Miami, Florida. As George Barna, a well-known pollster that has studied religious beliefs and behavior of Americans better than anyone has said, "This election is really not about personality, it's not about politics. It's about which worldview will dominate." And I agree.
Which worldview will it be? A worldview that denies the reality and sovereignty of God through public policy? That promotes abortion and makes you pay for it, redefines marriage and human sexuality, and punishes any dissent? A worldview that seeks to quarantine Christianity within the four walls of our church -- or as we've seen with the shutdowns, the four walls of your home -- denying you the ability to live your life according to your Christian faith?
Or will we have the worldview that founded America and has sustained it for 244 years? The view that acknowledges we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, among them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? That's what's on the ballot this Tuesday. We know the Left's answer. What about yours?
Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC Action senior writers.