A Baltimore pastor has taken it to the next level by tearing up a cease-and-desist letter during a May 20, 2020 sermon at night.
Stacey Shiflett was previously threatened with a $5,000 fine for holding the in-person services during the Wuhan virus pandemic.
Video that surfaced online shows Shiflett, the pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Dundalk, ripping apart the warning while declaring, “We’re going to do it God’s way.”
“With this cease-and-desist letter in my hand, the Bible says to the New Testament church ‘not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together as the manner of some is, but so much more as you see the day approaching,’ and the closer we get to Jesus coming back, the more church we ought to be having, not less church,” Shiflett stated during his sermon.
“Now that’s God’s parameters,” he added. “So I’m tearing up this cease-and-desist order right here, and I’m telling you right now, we’re gonna do it God’s way! God tells us how to worship Him, nobody else gets to do that.”
According to a report from Fox News, Shiflett’s church has been running in compliance with state orders but has not followed local ordinances.
Maryland Republican Governor Larry Hogan issued orders on May 15 that declared houses of worship can only run at 50 percent capacity. Calvary Baptist’s 100 attendants on May 2020 followed the guidelines due to the fact that the church has a capacity of 600.
However, the church is violating Baltimore County Department of Health and Human Services’s order requiring houses of worship to remain closed and limit gatherings to fewer than 10 people.
“Either we have liberty to worship or we have permission to worship,” Shiflett said on Fox News when talking about his defiance of the order. “It has become abundantly clear that if we settle for permission, we will never have liberty again.”
Shiflett said other churches have plans of reopening on Memorial Day weekend, and that he will be in attendance at a ReOpen Maryland rally on May 22.
The church’s decision follows in the footsteps of other houses of worship in America that have remained open and resisted Wuhan virus restrictions. One of the most notable cases involved Reverend Tony Spell in Louisiana, which had thousands attend its Easter service.
With summer right around the corner, Americans should begin exercising civil disobedience on a massive scale if their states continue to lag in their reopening plans.
Supreme Court Overturns NY Cuomo’s Coronavirus Restrictions on Houses of Worship
Religious freedom restored.
The US Supreme Court has overturned New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s coronavirus restrictions on houses of worship, preventing the state from enforcing limits on attendance at religious services.
The decision was reached by a 5-4 ruling on Wednesday night, with recently-confirmed Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett proving to be a decisive vote on overruling the restrictions. Bush administration appointee John Roberts joined progressive judges in voting to allow Cuomo to restrict attendance at religious services.
The ruling justices issued a majority opinion which identified the religious restrictions as a violation of the First Amendment not otherwise applied to “essential” businesses.
Cuomo’s 10 and 25-person occupancy restrictions were decided to “single out houses of worship for especially harsh treatment,” with justices pointing to a lack of restrictions on other institutions. Catholics of the Diocese of Brooklyn and Orthodox Jews had united in a lawsuit challenging the restrictions, which New York has recently sought to walk back of its own accord. Andrew Cuomo had applied no such restrictions to arbitrary businesses allowed to open, such as acupuncture and nail salons. Meanwhile, religious organizations have been required to turn away worshipers at their doors.
It’s not up to governors to dictate to American citizens whether or not they can attend religious services. Some things are simply best determined by personal conscience, as opposed to governmental mandates.
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