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Tipsheet

Governors Closed Their Churches, So Christians Are Getting Creative

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As lawmakers across the country slowly rollback their COVID-19 lockdown mandates, governors in several states have refused to lift restrictions on houses of worship. Christians have finally had enough.

Earlier this week, a tweet showing Christians gathered for a time of prayer and worship at a Las Vegas casino went viral. Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak has allowed casinos to reopen with precautions while keeping churches shuttered. The event was hosted by Evangelicals for Trump, said Faith and Freedom Coalition Chairman Ralph Reed.

The gathering was held just over a month after one Nevada church, Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley, sued the governor for his strict cap on service attendance. The church lost its Supreme Court battle after Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the liberal majority. The decision elicited scathing repudiations from the conservative members of the court, with Justice Brett Kavanaugh asserting that Nevada was “discriminating against religion” and Justice Neil Gorsuch noting “there is no world in which the Constitution permits Nevada to favor Caesars Palace over Calvary Chapel.”

In Pennsylvania, Christians gathered for worship in the grocery aisles of a Walmart near Pittsburgh. Gov. Tom Wolf has restricted church gatherings since April when he issued guidance urging religious leaders to “find alternatives” to in-person gatherings and directing individuals to “not gather in religious buildings or homes for services or celebrations until the stay at home order is lifted.”

Ironically, Gov. Wolf found himself in hot water after he tweeted a picture of himself at a Black Lives Matter rally in June, a violation of his own executive order prohibiting gatherings of more than 25 people. Although the governor acknowledged that his actions were “inconsistent,” he justified them by arguing that the eradication of racism was “very, very important.”

The videos from Las Vegas and Pennsylvania are just the latest examples of believers pushing back on dictatorial governors. Last month, Grace Community Church in Los Angeles defied California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s order indefinitely restricting mass gatherings, including those in houses of worship. Pastor John MacArthur appeared on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson to defend his church’s decision, reminding viewers that Christians have always been the “original protestors.”

“We go back 500 years to the protestant reformation,” MacArthur said. “We’re still protesting lies and deception for the sake of the truth.”

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