By Duncan Smith

Religious leaders around the country are fed up with endless coronavirus lockdown orders that require their churches to either restrict attendance or remain closed altogether — while thugs and rioters are allowed to take to the streets to ‘protest.’

The First Amendment contains provisions guaranteeing freedom of speech, expression, and religious freedom, but Democrat governors are forgetting about that last one.

So increasingly, pastors are vowing to risk jail and reopen rather than continuing to abide by the obvious use of the pandemic to infringe upon religious liberties.

The Washington Examiner has more:

When California Gov. Gavin Newsom in July announced revamped restrictions on worship, churches statewide resisted, drawing the attention of pastors nationwide as they prepare for a renewed struggle over church closures.

Newsom's restrictions require all churches to suspend singing during services and most to hold their churches outside. Citing already burdensome restrictions placed on them in the spring, many church leaders refused to comply, most notably John MacArthur, a celebrity pastor who declared in a Sunday sermon that 'Christ, not Caesar, is head of the church.'

MacArthur's sermon won widespread approval from many evangelicals. Greg Locke, a Tennessee pastor with a large social media following, in a video this week cited MacArthur to make clear to his congregation that he has no plans to close again if shutdowns return to the state.

'Churches should be open,' he said. 'There should be no excuses. I will go to jail before I close my church.' 


More recently, churches have cited a so-called double standard in the way that governors treat worship in the pews compared with how they treat protest in the streets. In New Jersey, the last state to remove coronavirus restrictions, three churches in a lawsuit accused Gov. Phil Murphy of favoring the cause of racial justice over that of religious exercise.

'This whole scheme is preposterous,' wrote Christopher Ferrara, the attorney for churches suing states for violating their religious freedom. 'America has never seen anything like it. Murphy is making up rules as he goes along. Meanwhile, almost no one in New Jersey is dying on account of the virus.'

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