Pastor Slams Government Lockdowns: “I Will Go to Jail Before I Close My Church”

National   Micaiah Bilger   Aug 3, 2020   |   2:25PM    Washington, DC

Pastors across America are speaking out against coronavirus orders that restrict religious gatherings, supposedly for safety reasons, while allowing huge protests to continue, casinos to open and abortion facilities to continue to kill unborn babies in elective abortions.

Last week, Tennessee pastor Greg Locke said he would rather go to jail than close his church, Global Vision Bible Church, the Washington Examiner reports.

“Churches should be open,” Locke said. “There should be no excuses. I will go to jail before I close my church.”

He said he refuses to “live in constant fear and media hysteria,” and he will not stop holding services because of the coronavirus crisis.

The pastor also shared a popular July sermon by Pastor John MacArthur titled, “Christ, not Caesar, is head of the church.”

Many believe government leaders are unfairly targeting houses of worship in violation of religious freedom, and a number of churches have filed lawsuits to challenge state orders.

In July, three California churches sued pro-abortion Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom for singling out houses of worship in his latest coronavirus restrictions.

The churches, Calvary Chapel of Ukiah, Calvary Chapel Fort Bragg and River of Life Church, said California leaders are unfairly targeting them by allowing massive protests to continue while heavily restricting religious worship.

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According to their lawsuit, “When asked to explain whether people should heed Newsom’s mandate and avoid large crowds and gatherings, Newsom refused to place the same restrictions on protesters and explained ‘we have a Constitution, we have a right to free speech,’ and further stated that ‘we are all dealing with a moment in our nation‘s history that is profound and pronounced — do what you think is best.’”

On July 1, the California Department of Public Health issued new guidelines outlining steps that houses of worship must take to help prevent further spread of the virus. One of those measures prohibits singing, even when people are social distancing and wearing masks. The state also limits indoor religious attendance to “25% of building capacity or a maximum of 100 attendees, whichever is lower.”

According to the lawsuit, the churches could face fines, imprisonment or both if they violate Newsom’s mandate.

Most religious leaders across the world urged their congregations to be safe and practice common-sense health measures to protect themselves and others during the coronavirus outbreak. Throughout the spring, many religious services were held online or in special drive-in venues where people stayed in their vehicles with the windows up while listening to the service on their radios.

Meanwhile, abortion facilities continued aborting unborn babies unhindered in most states. Some Planned Parenthood abortion facilities were open for abortions only. Others asked for donations of personal protective equipment (PPE) for their work aborting unborn babies – taking PPE away from hospitals that needed it for actual, life-saving health care.

And while massive Black Lives Matter protests have occurred in cities across the country, pro-life sidewalk counselors have been fined and arrested for offering information and resources to pregnant moms as they went into abortion facilities during the initial outbreak. In April, David Benham and several others were arrested for praying outside an abortion clinic in Charlotte, North Carolina. Police in San Francisco also cited a pro-life sidewalk counselor who was doing peaceful outreach outside a Planned Parenthood abortion facility.

In April, California churches filed another lawsuit against Newsom after he exempted abortion facilities but not houses of worship from his stay-at-home mandate. The governor lifted some of the restrictions in May after more than 3,000 churches protested, telling him that they would re-open even without his approval, according to the Examiner.