California Governor Edicts Are 'Blatantly Targeting Churches'

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (Gavin Newsom Facebook page)

On Thursday, March 19, 2020, in a drastic, startilingly punitive move, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a first in the nation mandatory, statewide shelter-in-place order, putting 40 million people and the world's fifth largest economy in peril.

In a frenzied outburst of health-related hysteria, he projected that "56% of Californians—25.5 million people—could be infected with coronavirus in the next 2 months."

One hundred and forty-one long drawn-out days later, the governor has ruined innumerable businesses across the state, the overwhelming majority of which will never recover. And as if the harm and hurt done had not been enough yet, add to that the prohibition of 9 million Los Angeles County children to attend public school this fall, despite the fact that not a single L.A. School District child had died from the coronavirus. All this goes to show how reckless and witless Newsom's unprecedented encroachment—the first of this type in American history—has been.

On Friday, Aug. 7, Ventura County Superior Court Judge Matthew P. Guasco managed to outdo Newsom's roughshod COVID-19 edict from March by issuing a temporary restraining order halting all services at Calvary Chapel Godspeak. In a blast of blustering intimidation, Judge Guasco added that "1–1000 Does" who dared to attend worship services at Godspeak, would be held in contempt of court

Leroy Smith, the Ventura County counselor whose $382,428 annual salary and benefits are paid by taxpayers, announced that local government bureaucrats would be watching to see if Pastor Rob McCoy and Godspeak parishioners complied with Judge Guasco's order.

They assembled a surveillance team to keep tabs on Godspeak's parking lot for 6½ hours and came up with some "alarming" observations:

"The director of code compliance said, 'At one point while we were parked in the parking lot on the Property, a woman approached from the driver side of our car and asked if we had signed the Newsom recall petition yet. She approached numerous other individuals in the parking lot with the same request; she was not wearing a mask or face covering (read: a modernized badge of shame).

"A senior code compliance officer said, 'Throughout my time observing the people in the parking lot and sidewalk areas on the property, I saw no obvious attempts at social distancing and behavior and comments overheard suggested that many were friends, rather than household members. Many people were seen hugging and shaking hands and standing in close groups talking together for extended periods of time.'"

Pent-up anger at strong-arm overreach and iniquity by politicians and healthcare bureaucrats is increasing in every hamlet, town and city across America. Whereas typically about 400 people attend Sunday services at Calvary Chapel Godspeak, 2,500 worshippers showed up last Sunday, Aug. 9, sending a message to Governor Newsom and blue county functionaries that bowing the knee to Baal will be refused (see 1 Kings 19:18).

As a result of the Sunday, Aug. 9 services, Ventura County officials on Tuesday, Aug. 11, asked Judge Vincent J. O'Neill Jr. of the Superior Court of Ventura County, to hold Pastor McCoy in contempt of court and "authorize and direct" the Ventura County sheriff to take "all actions reasonable and necessary to close the church property."

The Court denied the County's request to order the sheriff to close Godspeak but did schedule a hearing on the County's motion for contempt for Aug. 21, 2020.

Please join us in fasting and praying for God's mercy on our nation this week.

In abandoning Jesus' kingdom assignment from Matthew 16:18—His ekklesia—Christians, perhaps inadvertently but unwisely nonetheless, have given occasion to the culture going awry. While having developed a Christian subculture, replete with rock stars, celebrities, massive buildings, CEOs, Christian radio, Christian television, Christian publishing, prodigious budgets and feel-good messages, it still only amounts to a Lilliputian stick to swing in the culture.

The 1960s revolution uprooted all laws and rules anchored in Christian doctrine concerning divorce, homosexuality and abortion, as shown in Pat Buchanan's eye-opening Day of Reckoning. The process of de-Christianizing and the secularization of American public education was further accelerated by the radically secular Warren Court's removal of prayer from public school in Engel v. Vitale (1962) and the removal of the Bible from public education in Abington School District v. Schempp (1963). The U.S. Supreme Court under Chief Justice Warren E. Burger completed the takeover by removing the Ten Commandments from public schools in Stone v. Graham (1980).

The church slept through it all.

The robust theology of the American Founding Fathers brought a 'warrior spirit' and a vigorous Christianity to America's shores. Their unshakable faith had been forged by persecution for "non-conformity, and the religious agitations and conflicts in Germany by Luther, in Geneva by Calvin, and in Scotland by Knox. ... They were trained in stormy times, in order to prepare them to elaborate and establish the fundamental principles of civil and religious liberty and of just systems of civil government." (Benjamin F. Morris, The Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States, 1864).

A delayed but similar depth of faith that We The People hold sway has begun to appear in the imperious environment of blue state governors and mayors in answer to their perverse disregard of the Constitution. We're calling time on being pushed around by overzealous tyrants.

A case in point is California-based evangelical pastor John MacArthur, who has sued Governor Gavin Newsom, Attorney General Xavier Becerra, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti and several state and county public health officials, contending that the state and county have violated six provisions of the state constitution.

His attorney, Jenna Ellis, special counsel with the Thomas More Society, said: "After Grace Community Church voluntarily complied with state orders for nearly six months, California's edicts demanding an indefinite shutdown have gone now far past rational or reasonable and are firmly in the territory of tyranny and discrimination. This isn't about health. It's about blatantly targeting churches."

In their wisdom and genius, the Founding Fathers created the Second Amendment to counter those who would transgress with "tyranny and discrimination." It says, "A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

The author of 21 books, and often called "America's Patriot Pastor," Dr. Richard Lee, PhD, served as the pastor of six churches over a period of 42 years.

As general editor of The American Patriot's Bible: The Word of God and the Shaping of America, he writes: "The early laws of America are very clear about this. The people were responsible for their own defense and freedoms and needed to be prepared to fight. Thomas Jefferson said, 'The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.' George Mason, called the father of the Bill of Rights, said, 'What is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.' ... For the colonists, at the heart of their religion was liberty, a sacred gift from God. ... For the most part, the colonial churches, particularly New England's Congregational congregations, believed that to revolt against tyrants, such as King George (and California Governor Gavin Newsom) was to obey God."

More Gideons and Rahabs are beginning to stand.

David Lane is the founder of the American Renewal Project.

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