When President Donald Trump proclaimed that churches need to reopen effective immediately, and if governors have a problem with that, they can take it up with him, Evangelicals across this country cheered. Finally, we have a president who has our back!
Now, I want to make this extremely clear: I am not one of those guys who demeans pastors who decide not to hold church services. I understand that each church needs to make the decision that is best for them and their congregations, especially if their church family are older or have a large number with underlying health conditions that make them more vulnerable to COVID-19. Each church has to do what they feel is most glorifying to God based upon the makeup of their church members. I can honor and respect that.
My issue right now is that the government does NOT have the authority to restrict religious expression. The 1st Amendment of the United States Constitution clearly states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” This is why many of us have serious issues with many of the leftist governors that are single-handedly tossing our Constitutional Rights out the window… pretending that they don’t even exist!
Sure, in a pandemic, the government has the authority to shut down beaches. We may not like it, and it may be idiotic to do so, but Constitutionally, they are allowed to do that. The government is even allowed to make restrictions to businesses. There’s no constitutional amendment protecting our right to beaches or stopping the government from putting regulations on businesses. Again, doing so may be stupid, but that doesn’t make it unConstitutional.
When it come to religion, however, there IS a Constitutional Right to worship God as we see fit. This means that when the government prohibits the free exercise of our faith for whatever reason, that is unconstitutional behavior. If something is unconstitutional, it is illegal. We are not compelled to obey illegal “laws”.
Speaking of illegal laws, Gavin Newsom put out the new restrictions for churches reopening for Sunday Services in California. More than likely, this was Governor Newsom dragging his feet to comply with President Trump’s demand. With that said, it clearly shows his contempt and targeting of those seeking to worship God as they see fit.
Let’s put this in perspective. Eating in a restaurant is MUCH more dangerous to the spreading of COVID-19. Think about it, you are sitting in a circle facing each each other around a table, all while you are not wearing a mask. You have a waiter or waitress moving from table to table, possibly spreading COVID-19 across the restaurant at warp speed. Plus, most restaurants are tiny, small, cramped spaces.
In contrast to that, most churches are large, open buildings with high ceilings. You enter and sit in a pew with everyone facing in the same direction. There’s some easy steps to take to avoid contact between church members.
Yet, when we look at the regulations, they are significantly stricter for churches than for restaurants, despite the fact that churches are safer. An example of these stricter guidelines is that Governor Newsom says that a church can only be at 25% capacity, holding a maximum of 100 people in the room at one time. Think about it… if you attend a megachurch that seats 5000 people, you can only have 100 in that room. Yet, when it comes to restaurants, there are no capacity limits.
Our constitution protects our right to gather together and worship God as we see fit. The government doesn’t have the authority to tell us otherwise. They can provide guidance. But they cannot implement laws. There’s a difference.
For those that believe that this is a Romans 13 issue, let’s take your logic to it’s logical conclusion. Romans 13 says to submit to the governing authorities. Now, remember, we are a government by the people and for the people. That makes us all the government. We are self-governed. So, then who are we to submit to, per Romans 13? We submit to the Constitution of the United States of America. That is the law of the land. All the rest of the laws that we or our representatives vote on MUST comply with the Constitution, because it is the ultimate law of the land.
So, if you want to obey Romans 13, you’ll submit to the Constitution, not to governors who illegally pass “laws” that are, in fact, illegal. If we submit to illegal laws, we are complicit in illegal behavior. Think about that for a second… why would you encourage illegal behavior? Clearly, that’s not what God had in mind when He wrote Romans 13.
Romans 13 tells us to submit to authority. The question is, what authority are you submitting to? Our Founding Fathers set up our system for us to submit to the Constitution, NOT fallible man. Remember the battle cry of the great patriots during the Revolutionary War?
Remember that next time Gavin Newsom unilaterally declares and attempts to enforce a new law. He’s not king.
NO KING BUT KING JESUS!