California: Churches Suing the Government for Fining Them for Wanting to Remain Open

People still haven’t even begun to grasp this new reality we are in.

There are no rights anymore, and the chance you had to defend these rights is long gone. We are now living under a virus regime, where everything about society is based on being afraid of catching the flu and dying.

The part of history where people had rights is now over and it’s not coming back. You gave all of your rights away to the government because you were scared of the flu, and that was something you probably should have thought through a little bit better.

LA Times:

Three Southern California churches that want to keep their doors open during the coronavirus outbreak sued Gov. Gavin Newsom and other officials Monday, arguing that social distancing orders violate the 1st Amendment right to freedom of religion and assembly.

The suit, filed in the federal court for the Central District of California, also names state Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra and officials of San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

The suit seeks to block Newsom’s month-old stay-at-home order and two county orders designed to slow the spread of COVID-19 by having people mostly stay at home, closing businesses except for those deemed essential and barring group gatherings. The orders don’t list houses of worship among the critical infrastructure where face-to-face contact is permitted.

A message to the governor’s office seeking comment was not immediately returned.

The suit names three churches in San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

One plaintiff, James Moffatt, senior pastor at Church Unlimited in Indio, was fined $1,000 for violating Riverside County’s order by holding a Palm Sunday service, according to the lawsuit.

Moffatt “believes that scripture commands him as a pastor to lay hands on people and pray for them, this includes the sick,” the suit said. “Moffatt also believes that he is required by scripture to baptize individuals, something that cannot be done at an online service.”

Also named are a parishioner, the head pastor of Shield of Faith Family Church in Fontana and the senior pastor of Word of Life Ministries International in Riverside, which usually has 20 to 30 regular attendees, according to the suit.

The churches argue that the state and local orders are overly broad and that they can practice safe social distancing in the same manner as grocery stores and other outlets that are considered essential services and allowed to remain open.

“The state does not get to dictate the method of worship to the faithful,” said Harmeet K. Dhillon, chief executive of the Center for American Liberty, a California nonprofit organization that filed the suit.

“If a Californian is able to go to Costco or the local marijuana shop or liquor store and buy goods in a responsible, socially distanced manner, then he or she must be allowed to practice their faith using the same precautions,” she said in a statement.

The center was founded in 2019 by Dhillon, who is on the Republican National Committee that helps steer the party’s platform and election strategy.

“I believe the suit has merit,” said John C. Eastman, a professor of law and community service at Chapman University in Orange.

“Obviously, stopping a pandemic is a compelling government interest” but the issue is whether the orders are narrowly tailored enough to meet the strict scrutiny required of laws dealing with religion, Eastman said in an email.

Obviously it has merit.

As long as you can go to a grocery store, the entire concept of the lockdown doesn’t make any sense in terms of what they say it is and what they say it is supposed to do. Everyone is at the grocery store. But no one is allowed to be anywhere else?

If this was actually serious, they would hire a team of laid-off people to deliver food rations door-to-door while wearing hazmat suits. Or at the very least require grocery stores to set up drive-thrus, like drive-thru beer places.

You could place your order online, one car enters at a time, and workers in hazmat suits load your groceries for you.

But no.

We just let everyone congregate at the grocery store to spread whatever germs they have, because the government is either that incompetent or knows that this is all a hoax and there is no new deadly virus, what there is is simply a new strand of the flu which is only going to kill as many people as any other flu.