A Virginia pastor has filed a federal lawsuit against Virginia Governor Ralph Northam for his issuance of executive orders prohibiting religious gatherings with more than 10 people.
The pastor was served a summons for holding a service for 16 people on Palm Sunday, which spurred him to take legal action because he believes that this is a violation of the Virginia Constitution.
Liberty Counsel is representing Pastor Kevin Wilson and Lighthouse Fellowship Church on Chincoteague Island and filed the lawsuit on April 25, 2020 against Northam, whose COVID Order 55 establishes a penalty of up to a year in prison and/or a $2,500 fine.
Police served a summons to Wilson for conducting a church service on April 5 for 16 people that were socially distanced in a sanctuary that has a general capacity of 293 people, Liberty Counsel pointed out in a statement.
A police officer “abruptly” entered the church without identifying himself and told the congregation “they could not have more than 10 people spaced six feet apart,” the law firm recounted.
“Then, after the service, two police officers entered the church in full mask and gloves and asked to speak with the pastor. They issued him a summons and informed him that if he had service on Easter, all attending would get the same summons.”
Liberty Counsel claimed that the parking lots of various commercial establishments were filled with hundreds of cars on April 23. “Yet, Gov. Northam criminalizes religious worship that exceeds 10 people.”
“Governor Ralph Northam has clearly discriminated against Lighthouse Fellowship Church which provides essential physical, emotional and spiritual services to the community,” The law firm’s chair, Mat Staver, declared. “This church does not have internet and cannot flip a switch to broadcast online.”
Staver was of the opinion that Wilson prioritized the health of the 16 people that attended on Palm Sunday by requiring them to abide by strict social distancing standards. “But because the church had six more people than the 10 allowed by the governor, the pastor is being criminally charged. We must balance the First Amendment with protecting the health and welfare of people but picking an arbitrary number of 10 people for every church is not the answer,” he stated.
Citing the decision in W. Va. State Bd. of Educ. v. Barnette, Liberty Counsel noted that the Supreme Court resoundingly stated, “[i]f there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.”
“My kids said to me a couple of years ago as we saw another brand fall because of donations that went against our family principles, they said, ‘Mom you are going to have to start sewing,’” D’Addesi recounted.
We live in truly bizarre times when criminals get preferential treatment, while peaceful individuals assembling in places of worship get stomped on by the state.
Anarcho-tyranny at its finest.
U.S. Law Enforcement Bust 27 People Connected to Mexican Sinaloa Cartel
Over two dozen people were arrested on drug charges in connection to a Mexican cartel smuggling cocaine into the U.S. Following a two-year investigation, 27 people were arrested through Operation Tripwire, an investigation effort U.S. officials have been working on featuring members of the Sinaloa Cartel.
The trafficking network went from Los Angeles, California to Tucson, Arizona and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where cocaine originating from Mexico was smuggled stateside. The United States Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Scott Brady declared “this is a large organization that was trafficking hundreds of kilograms of cocaine throughout the country and has direct ties to the Sinaloa cartel in Mexico.”
U.S. authorities recounted that the investigations started after an agent in Pittsburgh was able to identify an address that received large quantities of suspicious-looking packages coming from California. Since then, agents started to do investigation on other members of the network across the U.S.
Across the span of seven months, authorities were able to intercept U.S. calls made by some of the alleged traffickers with Sinaloa carte leaders in Mexico. On September 9, 2020, 27 were arrested in Arizona, California, and Pennsylvania.
According to American authorities, $1.3 million in cash and over 140 kilograms of cocaine were seized. The aforementioned people arrested are now facing a prison sentence of between 10 years and life in prison.
The border situation is no joke. Prior administrations have largely neglected the issue and have allowed for unprecedented levels of illegal immigration and drug trafficking to cross the U.S. border.
In a prior instance, BLP reported on how Mexico is a failed state that cannot maintain public order and is largely being pushed around by cartels. Due to its proximity to the U.S., Mexico’s problems will likely spillover stateside.
This is why border security is crucial. Thankfully, the U.S. has a president in Donald Trump that gets the memo. He’ll still need help from Congress, however,
That’s why it’s crucial that America First Republicans have strong showings at all branches of government in 2020.
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