A shocking daylight raid of a church service in April 2020 attended by many elderly congregants was turned on its head by a defiant pastor who refused to be bullied by the government.
The Todd Starnes Radio Show reported that the police intervention didn’t happen in New York or California, but right in the middle of the Bible Belt — Greenville, Mississippi.
Despite participating in a drive-in service where worshipers were isolated in their own cars and listened to the sermon on the radio, congregants were found to be in violation of a City of Greenville order.
Cops raiding the Temple Baptist Church on Wednesday didn’t just inform churchgoers of the order, but reportedly also issued a whopping $500 fine to every person who refused to leave — many of them elderly.
Pastor Arthur Scott, who preaches to the church and its many elderly congregants, was not happy with the government punishing his flock for safely trying to hear the Gospel.
“One of the police officers said the mayor wanted to make an example of our church,” Scott told Starnes.
“I told them to get some more tickets ready because we will be preaching Sunday morning and Sunday night.”
According to Scott, the government’s recommendation that church services be held over Zoom, Facebook Live or other digital platforms would make his sermons inaccessible to many of the elderly worshipers who don’t have smartphones.
Worshiper Chris Owens recorded his interaction with a police officer, posting it on Facebook for the world to see.
Owens noted that an officer without gloves handed him a pen.
Assuming the officer had handed that same pen to other congregants he ticketed, it’s conceivable that the police intervention caused the worshipers to be exposed to more physical contact than if they had simply been left alone.
“I tried to talk to the mayor,” Scott told Starnes.
“I’ve been here 45 years and I’ve never been to the city council. I’ve never complained. I’ve never stirred up a stink. But I told him I’m going to fight them on this.”
It’s unclear why the government of Greenville thinks congregants in separate cars would risk transmitting the coronavirus to each other.
And Greenville Mayor Errick Simmons wasn’t offering much by way of specific reasoning when asked about the incident, except for claiming that church meetings could be epicenters for the spread of the disease.
“It’s all about trying to save lives,” Simmons told the Delta Democrat-Times. “If people continue to gather, it’s going to spread.”
“The police were respectful and just doing their job,” congregant Lee Gordon added. “They asked us to leave first and those who stayed got a ticket.”
With Easter quickly approaching, Scott’s shocking encounter with law enforcement is becoming the new normal in some places in America.
All of these attacks on our most cherished rights are due to fear of COVID-19 and the virus that causes it.
As can be seen in Florida, California and now Mississippi, the shameless trampling of our First Amendment rights happened not because of a threat to the government or a mass rebellion, but rather due to hysteria over a virus.
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