On Friday, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear announced that on Easter Sunday police will be ordered to visit any church where the parish has decided to hold services and photograph the license plates of the cars in the parking lots. The registered addresses of those cars will then be sent to the health department. Those workers will then go door to door and place the residents of that home under house arrest for the next 14 days.
They are calling this a “quarantine” and not “house arrest” because quarantine sounds better than house arrest. It is also designed to get the general public to buy into the idea because calling it what it is, religious persecution and a police state (terms generally frightening to sensible folks), is alarming. Calling it a quarantine sounds like something that promotes the public good and the general will; two terms collectivists can rally around.
The governor turned dictator did not specify if the house arrested members will be forced to wear ankle monitors.
What I am wondering is, both in the particular Kentucky case and around the country in general, where is the protest and opposition to this government lockdown of Christian places of worship? In a country where religious freedom is literally part of our founding and codified in our Constitution, why do people seem more likely to insist that a local 7-11 remain open than that the corner Presbyterian Church has a Sunday service?
We do have some heroes out there who are making a stand. They deserve to be recognized. Last week in Thousand Oaks, California, Councilman Rob McCoy, also the Pastor at Godspeak Calvary Chapel, resigned from his elected position so that he could defy the State’s shutdown order and administer communion to his parish members on Palm Sunday. While the church did conform to “social distancing” guidelines (I can’t wait for that PC term to disappear from our vocabulary) by allowing only 10 parish members in at a time, they refused to be denied the right to worship. Rob McCoy is a hero.
Last Saturday, pro-life Christian activist David Benham was arrested outside a North Carolina abortion mill for the sin of providing counseling to women contemplating ending their child’s life. An exercise of faith confronted by an exercise of a police state. David Benham is a hero.
Our battle for religious freedom goes back to our very beginning. America was settled early by groups who were seeking freedom from religious persecution. Both the Pilgrims of the early 1600’s (wanted to break from the Church of England) and the Puritans a decade later (wanted to reform the same Church) risked their lives to make a perilous cross-ocean voyage so that they could freely practice their faith. There were other drivers, but faith was at the forefront.
Since our birth 400 years ago in religious liberty, our nation’s history has been so filled with incidents of religious protest and Christians standing together that it is a waste of word count to list any of them. The First Amendment to our Constitution guarantees us our religious liberty and we have been fighting to keep it ever since. We need some of that fight now.
Allow me to be blunt about what is taking place. There is a movement in this country almost exclusively within the “left’s” dominion to wipe out organized religion; especially Christianity. Liberalism is, from its very origins (Rousseau and Marx), hostile to the idea of God. They embrace the idea of a civil state being the divine authority that everyone citizen needs to worship and obey. This China Flu event has given state and local secularists in positions of authority the opportunity they have been waiting for. They are using their powers under state of emergency declarations to deprive us Christians of our chance to worship during the most Holy Week of the year; that of Easter.
They cannot stop us from silently worshipping but they want to stop us from doing it publicly, from drawing strength from one another. We are surrendering easily to them. Shame on us.
The beauty of springtime and the children’s tale of a bunny hiding colored eggs can easily lead us away from the very solemn and spiritually celebratory nature of Holy Week. The eight days of Christ’s life and death which begin on Palm Sunday and culminate with His Resurrection the following Sunday are the most momentous eight days in all of human history. As Christians, we are literally nothing without them. Joining together to celebrate is fundamental and essential to the full expression of our faith in the community.
Yet, we seem to have just surrendered. Worse still, our church leaders have surrendered. Across the country they seem more interested in appeasing Caesar than they do in serving God. Christ stood up to the Pharisees. He stood up to Herod. He stood up to Pilate. He sacrificed everything. Where is our willingness to embrace His strength?
I am tired of seeing the American Christian serving themselves up like paschal lambs. I much prefer that we channel our inner Daniel who, after being sentenced to death by King Darius for worshipping a god other than the king, was thrown into the lion’s den. When the stone was rolled away, Daniel emerged, unscathed, because he had refused to renounce his belief in God; our God. Daniel stood against the ferocious teeth of savage beasts and allowed his faith to protect him.
Surely, as Christians in 21st Century America we can stand against feckless, godless governors and demand a free and public expression of our faith.
May God bless you and keep you this Easter weekend.