3,000 California Churches Vow to Reopen May 31, Risk Thousands of Lives, They Call Gov. Newsom ‘Dictator’

About 3,000 California churches are planning to reopen on May 31 in defiance of state coronavirus safety orders that save lives, reports the Christian Post (MORE VIDEO BELOW).

The churches want to make their own safety rules even though there have been numerous accounts of people contracting COVID-19 and dying after going to church services across the country.

The churches, which represent 2.5 million members, are part of an organization called Church United, which has attacked California Governor Gavin Newsom, and even called him a “dictator.”

Gov. Newsom explained his science-based health concerns on May 9, reports The Center Square:

Our fear is simply this, congregations of people from far and wide coming together in a closed space at a large scale remains a point of concern and anxiety for us. We are working on guidelines for physical distancing and working with faith leaders talking about unique conditions in their own facilities. Nothing is etched in stone.

Attorney Bob Tyler, who is representing the churches, compared California Gov. Gavin Newsom to a “dictator” for instituting safety rules that have saved lives, notes CBN:

The churches are not asking for permission. The governor is sitting here as a dictator, trumping the Constitution and is kind of hanging on to this state of emergency for as long as he can hold it.

Tyler failed to mention that churches seat people in pews for 1-2 hours during services, and churchgoers breathe the same air in a confined space during that time.

This is why Newsom placed churches to stage 3 of California’s re-opening plan.

Newsom is allowing the opening of “lower risk” workplaces like clothing stores, florists, and sporting goods stores — where people normally walk around and only stay for minutes — to open now under stage 2 of his plan.

Judge John Mendez ruled on May 5 that Newsom has the right to temporarily ban church gatherings for the sake of public health, reported the Associated Press.

This science-based ruling caused conservative pastors to go into persecution mode and choose to defy the state’s COVID-19 safety rules, which will likely result in more coronavirus-related death.

Pastor Jim Franklin of Cornerstone Church in Fresno parroted the Trump/Republican line to push for reopening: “There is a saying, the cure must not be deadly than the disease.”

However, since the disease in this case (coronavorius) causes death, it’s impossible that the cure could be worse than the disease.

Pro-Trump Pastor Jack Hibbs of Calvary Chapel in Chino Hills told CBN News that he wants to follow Romans 13 and obey the government, but also claims he must minister in person to the sick and dying (which could spread the deadly coronavirus).

Hibbs uploaded a video in which he claimed that the “pandemic has been far less lethal, than they told us.” Hibbs also claimed without evidence that the U.S. has reached the point of “bankruptcy.” Hibbs read from Acts chapter 2 in the Bible — which does not mention opening churches in pandemics — to tell pastors to reopen their churches.

Hibbs also claimed the May 31 date is “not my decision” because the date was “deposited in my head” during prayer three weeks earlier.

Pastor Rob McCoy of Calvary Chapel in Thousand Oaks claimed in a video that the governmental “authority” who Christians are told to obey in Romans 13 is actually “We the people” in the U.S. Constitution, which is is not true.

We have all kinds of emotional issues that are going on. We have marital issues in our church. We’re seeing a spike in depression, suicide, drug addiction.

Dr. John Jackson, the president of William Jessup University near Sacramento, was unable to understand how shopping in stores for a few minutes while moving around is different from sitting in a church pew for 1-2 hours:

I find it very inappropriate that I can go to the grocery store and buy a loaf of bread and be with all other kinds of people. I can go to the hardware store and get my supplies for my home maintenance but I cannot go to a church.

Dr. Russell Moore, the president of the Southern Baptists’ Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, also failed to grasp the simple concept of how different churches and businesses are:

I don’t think that churches should be treated differently because they’re churches. The issue has to be safety and so you have some areas where churches are treated in a different category that sees churches as less essential than other means of gathering. I think that’s a real mistake.

In a statement to the New York Times, Pastor Jim Franklin of the Cornerstone Church in Fresno also failed to grasp the difference between shopping for a few minutes and sitting in a confined area such as a church for 1-2 hours:

If people can be safe at a big-box store, if hundreds of people can gather there to pick up home improvement items, I think the church can also do it safely.

Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and editor-at-large for the Catholic magazine America, told the Los Angeles Times how stunned he was by “pro-life” churches that are intent on reopening:

I’m stunned by church leaders who reject the most basic advice from public health officials during a pandemic. It’s just plain old stupidity, of the type that puts people’s lives in danger. As such, it’s anti-life. The next time any of these groups calls themselves pro-life, we need to remind ourselves about these death-dealing decisions.

(Sources: CBN, The New York Times, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Advocate, The Independent, BBC News, The Associated Press, Christian Post, The Center Square)

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