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Going To Church Becomes A Crime In The Age Of COVID-19

With Easter coming on Sunday, the faithful want to go to church.
But if they do, they could be charged with a criminal offense and face a year in jail and/or a $2,500 fine.
All across the country, police are cracking down on churches, sometimes raiding the houses of worship and issuing summonses.
At the Temple Baptist Church in Greenville, Mississippi, the faithful packed into the parking lot on Wednesday night for a service, the Delta Democrat-Times reported.
The people gathered in parked vehicles — with their windows rolled up — “to listen to Pastor Arthur Scott’s sermon broadcast on a low-power FM frequency radio,” the paper said.
Lee Gordon, who has been going to the church for 23 years and serves on the Washington County Board of Supervisors — told the Democrat-Times the church has been broadcasting sermons in the parking lot for the last three weeks.
“The preacher is in the church at the pulpit, and we are streaming the service live as well,” Gordon added to the paper. “But a lot of our membership is elderly and doesn’t have access” to streaming technology.
Gordon told the paper he and his wife were each issued $500 tickets for violating social distancing orders and Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves’ shelter-in-place order issued on April 3.
“I think somebody called the police,” Gordon told the paper. “And we were just doing the same thing we’ve been doing the last three weeks.”
One of the churchgoers posted a video on YouTube.

The same sort of thing happened in Virginia.
“Police in Chincoteague, VA, served a summons to the pastor of the Lighthouse Fellowship for holding a church service for 16 people spaced far apart in a sanctuary that seats 293,” CBN News reported on Thursday.
The charge is for violating Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s COVID Order 55 with a penalty up to a year in jail and/or a $2,500 fine. Liberty Counsel, a religious rights law group, is representing Pastor Kevin Wilson and Lighthouse Fellowship Church.
Last Sunday before the service, a local police officer entered the church. He gave no introduction and did not ask for the pastor. He abruptly said they could not have more than 10 people spaced six feet apart. Then after the service, two police officers entered the church in full mask and gloves and asked to speak with the pastor. They issued him a summons and informed him that if he had service on Easter, all attending would receive the same summons, according to the Liberty Counsel.
Meanwhile in Kentucky, state police plan to record the license plates of residents who attend church on Easter — and report them to local health departments for quarantine, Gov. Andy Beshear said Friday.
“We’re having to take a new action, and I hoped that we wouldn’t, and it’s that any individual that’s going to participate in a mass gathering of any type that we know about this weekend we’re going to record license plates and provide it to local health departments,” Beshear said, according to the New York Post. “Local health departments are going to come to your door with an order for you to be quarantined for 14 days.”
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) blasted the plan, writing on Twitter: “Taking license plates at church? Quarantining someone for being Christian on Easter Sunday? Someone needs to take a step back here.”

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