The message posted on the front door of the North Valley Baptist Church in Santa Clara, California was jarring.
“Cease and Desist.” That’s what the four-page letter read.
The Santa Clara County Counsel officially ordered the mega-church to shut its doors. They were in violation of the law.
The congregation had been accused of holding indoor services, failing to ensure that speakers wore face masks and singing. Yes, good readers, the church stands accused of singing hymns and spiritual songs.
“North Valley Baptist is failing to prevent those attending, performing and speaking at North Valley Baptist’s services from singing,” read the letter. “This activity is unlawful.”
Let that sink in for just a moment, folks. Congregational worship is against the law in California. This is what I warned you about in my new book, "Culture Jihad."
“The county understands that singing is an intimate and meaningful component of religious worship,” the letter read. “However, public health experts have also determined that singing together in close proximity and without face coverings transmits virus particles further in the air than breathing or speaking quietly.”
Santa Clara County acknowledged in its cease and desist order they had been sending agents into the church to spy on the congregation during worship services.
“The county demands that North Valley Baptist immediately cease the activities listed above and fully comply with the Risk Reduction Order, the Gatherings Directive, the State July 13 Order and the State guidance,” the letter threatened. “Failure to do so will result in enforcement action by the county.”
Now it’s important to remember that North Valley Baptist Church is in the United States of America, not the Soviet Union.
The idea that government agents could infiltrate the congregation and post a cease and desist order on the front door of the church house is unthinkable. And the mere suggestion that pastors of the church could face some sort of legal penalty is outrageous.
Fortunately, Pastor Jack Trieber and the congregation of North Valley Baptist Church did what any red-blooded, Bible-believing, American patriot would do – they held church on Sunday.
“You can’t have any law against assembling in God’s house,” the pastor told the church on Sunday. “None.”
“I know we have a Constitutional right to worship, but we have a Higher Power that we answer to,” he said. “I have a biblical mandate.”
Pastor Trieber said the church has done its best to follow the mandates of local and state leaders. And he pointed out that they have implemented social distancing policies within the building.
“We have obeyed authority in this church. We’ve always obeyed authority. But when (local) authority begins to disregard this authority (God), we go with this book right here,” he said pointing at the Bible.
Pastor Trieber said he bears no ill will towards Santa Clara leaders or Gov. Gavin Newsom. And he is well aware that there is a remote possibility that he could suffer severe consequences for his decision to preach from the pulpit.
“If they close us down in the middle of the service, I’m just going to go over to the park,” he said.
But Pastor Trieber also offered a warning to state and local lawmakers.
“Politicians, do not move against the church,” he said.