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Christian Arrested for Attending Outdoor Worship Service with No Mask Celebrates 'Victory' as Blue City Pays Up

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Justice was further served when Moscow, Idaho, agreed to settle a lawsuit with three residents arrested in September 2020 for violating the city’s masking and social distancing orders during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The liberal city, home of the University of Idaho, will pay Gabriel Rench and Sean and Rachel Bohnet a combined $300,000 for the incident, The Spokesman-Review of nearby Spokane, Washington, reported July 15.

Video of Rench, a deacon at Christ Church in Moscow, being arrested while he and fellow members of his church participated in an outdoor “Psalm sing” protest in front of City Hall went viral at the time.

Moscow had spray-painted circles 6 feet apart in the City Hall parking where one person each was supposed to stand during the protest.



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In January 2021, a county judge dismissed the misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest and violating the city’s pandemic policies against Rench and the Bohnets, KTVB-TV in Boise reported.

The resisting arrest charges stemmed from all three initially refusing to provide identification to the officers.

Rench and the Bohnets, a married couple, then filed a civil lawsuit against the city arguing their First Amendment rights were violated.



The First Amendment, of course, protects the rights to the free exercise of religion and speech and to peacefully assemble to petition the government for redress of grievances.

Do you believe justice was done in this case?

In February, U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. rejected the city’s motion to dismiss the civil suit.

The city’s “Emergency Powers Ordinance” specifically carved out exemptions for activities protected under the U.S. Constitution and the Idaho Constitution, including religious activity, the judge noted.

In his order denying the city’s motion to dismiss, England wrote, “Plaintiffs should never have been arrested in the first place, and the constitutionality of what the City thought [its] code said is irrelevant.”

“Somehow, every single City official involved overlooked the exclusionary language in the Ordinance,” the judge said.

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Rench discussed the city’s $300,000 settlement with Fox News last week.

“I’m in a conservative state, but I live in a liberal town, and the liberals had no problem arresting me for practicing my religious rights and my constitutional rights,” he said on “The Ingraham Angle.”

“But my governor also didn’t defend me either,” he said, referring to Republican Gov. Brad Little. “If you look at what’s going on in Canada, I think America’s 10 years, at most 20 years, behind Canada if we don’t make significant changes.”

Rench said he knows pastors who have been jailed in Canada for holding church services or preaching biblical truth in violation of government policy.

“I’m very grateful that I got a victory. How many people nationwide didn’t get a victory?” the Idaho man added in a Monday interview on “Fox & Friends.”

“This is the city trying to pay off a massive PR problem for them,” he said, indicating Moscow officials weren’t really admitting they did wrong.

Moscow downplayed the settlement, suggesting officials may not have learned their lesson.

In a July 14 news release, the city said its liability insurance provider “determined that a financial settlement in the case was the best course of action to dispose of the suit and avoid a protracted litigation proceeding.”

“This settlement provides closure of a matter related to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic and the City’s efforts to protect the public during an exceptionally trying time,” the release said.

Justice was done in Rench and the Bohnets’ case, but it clearly highlights that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.

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Randy DeSoto has written more than 3,000 articles for The Western Journal since he joined the company in 2015. He is a graduate of West Point and Regent University School of Law. He is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths" and screenwriter of the political documentary "I Want Your Money."
Randy DeSoto is the senior staff writer for The Western Journal. He wrote and was the assistant producer of the documentary film "I Want Your Money" about the perils of Big Government, comparing the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Randy is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths," which addresses how leaders have appealed to beliefs found in the Declaration of Independence at defining moments in our nation's history. He has been published in several political sites and newspapers.

Randy graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a BS in political science and Regent University School of Law with a juris doctorate.
Birthplace
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Nationality
American
Honors/Awards
Graduated dean's list from West Point
Education
United States Military Academy at West Point, Regent University School of Law
Books Written
We Hold These Truths
Professional Memberships
Virginia and Pennsylvania state bars
Location
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment, Faith




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