Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is on a crusade to crack down on churches and pastors who defy her stay at home orders.
A couple of weeks ago, a Romanian church was declared “a public health nuisance” by the city for holding in-person services. Another Romanian pastor said they had escaped oppression only to be oppressed in Illinois after receiving threats from the city.
Kelly Shackelford, president of the First Liberty Institute who is defending the churches, told the “Todd Starnes Show” that he believes governors are “really overplaying their power. We want public health protected—and I think the churches have been the first to help make that happen,” he said.
Indeed, one California minister was quoted as saying, “Our feeling is that we are every bit as competent as Walmart to assemble people safely.”
This past Sunday, five Chicago police vehicles unloaded in front of Cornerstone Baptist Church, a small black neighborhood church on Chicago’s south side. They began pounding on the door demanding that the Rev. Courtney Lewis stop the service and empty the church.
Lewis refused. But an unmarked vehicle sitting outside the church was photographing and filming everyone who arrived.
Pastor Lewis said the intent was to shut down their Sunday services. It was “like the Soviet-style KGB,” he said.
“The only thing she hasn’t done yet is beat the doors down and arrest our members,” the pastor said.
Don’t worry, Reverend. That’s next.
“Thankfully our doors were locked as a normal safety precaution we take each service to protect our members from the escalating gun violence in Chicago,” the pastor said.
A church usher, who is typically positioned outside the building during the services, saw the mayor’s goon force attempt to enter the building and began taking photographs.
Even more disturbing, an individual in an unmarked car with tinted windows was seen filming and photographing church members as they arrived to worship Jesus Christ.
“The mayor wants to educate everyone into compliance – which means intimidate,” the pastor said.
Armed police showing up at a church, pounding on the door to gain entrance, is not the way the American government deals with American churches. It’s not the way a country that guarantees freedom of worship enforces the law.
But Lightfoot’s goons would have fit right in during 1930s Germany.
Pastor Lewis contacted U.S. Attorney John Lausch for assistance.
“We are trying to follow the laws of man as much as reasonably possible, but when the laws of man conflict with the laws of God, I, as a pastor, have a duty to follow the laws of God,” Lewis wrote in a letter to Lausch. “We will not be intimidated by this overhanded government bully, but we are requesting the assistance of our president and our Justice Department in correcting this grave miscarriage of the law.”
The question of why Walmart can open and not churches is a fair one. In truth, I go to Walmart once a week and buy food. Their “social distancing” is strictly left up to customers and I wouldn’t trust those bored kids with cleaning my shopping car any more than I’d trust my pet cat Snowball. I bring in my own disinfectant wipes.
If Walmart customers are clearly capable of following CDC rules — even if Walmart isn’t — shouldn’t that tell us something about opening up the economy and throwing open the doors of churches? Public health officials are incapable of making the political decisions that need to be made to get the country moving again. And politicians who listen to them at the expense of their own good judgment and political instincts should suffer for it.