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Posts tagged ‘COVID restrictions’

California Pastor Che Ahn warns church closures rooted in Marxist ideology


Reported By Ryan Foley, Christian Post Reporter| Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Read more at https://www.christianpost.com/news/california-pastor-covid-church-closures-rooted-in-marxism.html/

Harvest Rock Church, Ché Ahn
Pastor Ché Ahn speaks at Harvest Rock Church in Pasadena, California, 2019. | Facebook/Harvest Rock Church

A California pastor who has challenged his state government over worship restrictions and church closures in response to COVID-19 believes such restrictions are rooted in Marxist ideology. 

In an interview with The Epoch Times published Saturday, Pastor Che Ahn of Harvest Rock Church in Pasadena, California, asserted that “When the pandemic happened, I think a lot of what I would call left-wing governors, you can call Democrat or liberals, but I feel they’re more left-wing, I think they seized the opportunity to really control society and one of the areas that I think they really like to control is the church because historically, the church has been the most outspoken against government control in this country.” 

While many proponents of limiting the number of people who can attend in-person church services point to public health concerns as the justification for their actions, Ahn attributes the restrictions to a more sinister motive: “Marxism is a religion. Humanism is a religion. It is putting the human at the top instead of God, and so, [socialism] will do everything possible to get people to reject worshiping the true God.” 

“That’s why we’re having such a battle in our nation against the values of our Founding Fathers who are mostly Christians and you know they had biblical values, Judeo-Christian values. So that’s why I feel there is an assault going on,” he asserted. 

Over the past year, Ahn has found himself among several pastors clashing with the government over coronavirus worship restrictions. California implemented particularly strict restrictions on worship services during the coronavirus pandemic. The state faced criticism for not imposing similar restrictions on secular businesses, which led to some pastors to designate their churches as “strip clubs” so they could remain open during the pandemic. 

In addition to limiting the number of people who could gather for in-person worship services, the state prevented people from conducting at-home Bible studies, which prompted Ahn to file a lawsuit against the state. Pastor Ahn took his challenge against the ban on all forms of in-person worship to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and later to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ordered the district court to rehear the case in light of its ruling in Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo that struck down coronavirus worship restrictions in New York state. 

In April, more than a year after the coronavirus pandemic first began to spread in the U.S., California lifted its mandatory restrictions on religious services, changing the language on capacity limits regarding worship services from “mandatory” to “highly recommended.” In response to this move, Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel, who represented Harvest Rock in its legal proceedings, expressed relief that California’s Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom “finally dropped his draconian restrictions on churches.”

In May, the state of California was ordered to pay Harvest Rock Church $1.35 million in attorneys’ fees and legal costs that the church incurred as a result of its litigation against the state. Last month, a federal judge ordered the state to pay $1.6 million in attorneys’ fees to South Bay United Pentecostal Church and an additional $550,000 to a Catholic priest who also sued the state over its worship restrictions. 

At the same time, the same federal judge issued an injunction preventing Newsom and other state officials from “issuing or enforcing regulations” against churches and places of worship in response to the pandemic. Although Ahn was threatened with fines and jail time for holding in-person worship services in violation of public health orders, he maintained that he made the right decision by defying the state’s restrictions in his interview with The Epoch Times. 

“Thank God that we chose to be open, defying [Newsom’s] orders because we feel strongly that the Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land, and no one’s above the Constitution, even our president or governor, and the Constitution protects our right, not only for free speech but for us to assemble, to worship, and they will not interfere with a free exercise thereof, ” he said. 

Ahn is not the only person warning about the advance of Marxism in the U.S. In a recent interview with The Christian Post, Kevin McGary, the co-founder of Every Black Life Matters, said “Marxism is really what we’re fighting on all fronts at the moment,” specifically noting its prominence in American education.

Even as churches in California no longer face the strict worship restrictions they were subject to at the beginning of the pandemic, Newsom could still face political consequences for the restrictions he imposed during the height of the pandemic. His private dinner at an upscale French restaurant, which took place as coronavirus restrictions prevented Californians from eating out, resulted in allegations of hypocrisy and accelerated the effort to recall him. 

The recall campaign gathered enough signatures to force a recall election, which is scheduled to take place Sept. 14. California voters will be asked if they want to remove Newsom from office. If a majority vote to oust him, the votes for replacement candidates will be tallied. In such a scenario, the replacement candidate that receives the most votes would become governor. 

The most recent poll of the recall election, conducted by Democratic pollster Change Research in June, found that 54% of California voters oppose the recall election compared to 40% who support it. However, a June poll from Republican pollster Moore Information Group found a plurality of likely voters (49%) support the recall effort and 46% oppose it. The most recent nonpartisan poll, conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California in May, found that 57% of Californians oppose the recall while 40% would vote in favor of it. 

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: ryan.foley@christianpost.com

DC to pay $220K for restricting Baptist church’s in-person worship during pandemic


Reported By Michael Gryboski, Christian Post Reporter | Friday, July 09, 2021

Read more at https://www.christianpost.com/news/dc-to-pay-220k-for-restricting-in-person-worship-of-church.html/

Capitol Hill Baptist
Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. | Wikimedia Commons/Farragutful

The District of Columbia and Mayor Muriel Bowser have agreed to pay $220,000 as part of a legal settlement with a local Baptist church that sued the city over in-person worship restrictions during the pandemic. 

Last September, Capitol Hill Baptist Church sued the district over the government’s ban on outdoor worship services that had more than 100 people in attendance. In a settlement agreement and release approved on Thursday, the city agreed to pay $220,000 to the counsels representing the church, which broke down to $210,000 for the law firm WilmerHale and $10,000 for the national legal nonprofit First Liberty Institute.

As explained in the settlement, the district has lifted earlier meeting restrictions so that Capitol Hill Baptist can gather indoors for worship services.

“The District agrees that it will not enforce any current or future COVID-19 restrictions to prohibit CHBC from gathering as one congregation in the District of Columbia,” explained the settlement.

“The District further agrees that, should it decide that new restrictions on religious gatherings are necessary during the current, or any future, COVID-19 (or variant thereof) public health emergency, it will not impose restrictions on CHBC that are more restrictive than the restrictions on comparable secular activities, as defined by the Supreme Court.”

Hiram Sasser, executive general counsel for the First Liberty Institute, said in a statement that Capitol Hill Baptist “is relieved and grateful that this ordeal is behind them.”

“All Capitol Hill Baptist Church ever asked is for equal treatment under the law so they could meet together safely as a church,” stated Sasser. “Government officials need to know that illegal restrictions on First Amendment rights are intolerable and costly.”

In March 2020, as part of the effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus, Mayor Bowser issued an executive order restricting the capacity for religious services of 10 or more people. The restriction was eventually expanded to no more than 100 people or 50% of the building capacity.

The 850-member Capitol Hill Baptist filed its lawsuit last September, arguing that the restrictions unfairly burdened houses of worship compared to comparable secular entities. U.S. District Court Judge Trevor McFadden, a Trump appointee, granted an injunction in favor of the church last October, arguing that the “current restrictions substantially burden the Church’s exercise of religion.”

“… the District has failed to offer evidence at this stage showing that it has a compelling interest in preventing the Church from meeting outdoors with appropriate precautions, or that this prohibition is the least-restrictive means to achieve its interest,” wrote McFadden.

Soon after, the church held its first outdoor service since the litigation began, meeting at Anacostia Park in Southeast D.C. on a Sunday morning. The attendees wore face masks and maintained social distancing in keeping with the official public health recommendations at that time.

“It is absolutely appropriate to take stock, to give thanks, to give honor to whom honor is due, to recognize the many blessings that our government continually secures and provides for us,” Associate Pastor Bobby Jamieson preached at the October 2020 service.

“The only conditions that justify disobedience to legitimate government authority, legitimate earthly authority are when they either command something God forbids or forbid something God commands.”    Follow Michael Gryboski on Twitter or Facebook


Suicide attempts by teen girls spiked during COVID-19 pandemic: CDC

NEWSPAUL SACCA | June 12, 2021

Read more at https://www.theblaze.com/news/suicides-teen-girls-covid-pandemic/

Suicide attempts by teen girls spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among the adolescent girls aged 12-17 years, the average weekly visits to the emergency department for suspected suicide attempts from February 2021 to March 2021 was 50.6% higher than the same period the year before, according to the CDC analysis. Boys were far less likely to show suicidal tendencies during the same time period; the number of emergency department visits for suicide attempts rose by 3.7% for males.

“In May 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, ED visits for suspected suicide attempts began to increase among adolescents aged 12–17 years, especially girls,” the CDC study found.

From late July to late August 2020, the average weekly number of emergency department visits for suspected suicide attempts among 12- to 17-year-old girls increased by 26.2% from the same time period the prior year.

“The study likely underrepresents the real number of suspected suicide attempts because Americans were hesitant to go to hospitals during the pandemic, in fear of contracting COVID-19,” according to CNBC. “In spring 2020, there was a 16.8% drop in emergency department visits among men and women aged 18 to 24 compared with the same time period a year prior.”

The study theorized that the stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic may have been toxic to the mental health of young people.

“Young persons might represent a group at high risk because they might have been particularly affected by mitigation measures, such as physical distancing (including a lack of connectedness to schools, teachers, and peers); barriers to mental health treatment; increases in substance use; and anxiety about family health and economic problems, which are all risk factors for suicide,” the CDC study said.

The CDC suggested that parents spending more time with children at home because of lockdowns may have tipped off adults to suicidal thoughts and behaviors of their children.

“The findings from this study suggest more severe distress among young females than has been identified in previous reports during the pandemic, reinforcing the need for increased attention to, and prevention for, this population,” the CDC said of the significant difference of suicide attempts by boys and girls.

States began implementing stay-at-home orders in March 2020, and by the end of March, 32 out of 50 states had locked down. The CDC noted that the increase in suicide attempts did not equate to more deaths. The suicide rate among young persons aged 15-24 from the third quarter of 2019 and the third quarter of 2020 “saw no significant change.” Earlier studies also found an alarming increase in suicide attempts and suicidal thoughts during the COVID-19 pandemic. A poll conducted in June 2020 by the CDC found that 25.5% of Americans ages 18 and 24 reported “having seriously considered suicide in the 30 days before completing the survey.”

In January 2021, a rash of suicides forced Las Vegas schools to reopen partially.

In Japan, suicides were up nearly 40% in October 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. Suicides by Japanese women spiked by 82.6% in October, compared to a 21.3% increase in suicides by men.

Drug overdose deaths in the United States surged during the coronavirus pandemic, reaching the highest totals since the opioid epidemic began, according to the CDC.

A GREAT “FEEL GOOD” REPORT: ‘If We Can’t Work, He Can’t Work!’: Fed Up Restaurant Owner Stands Up to California Health Gestapo


Reported by  

A California restaurant owner blocked in a public health bureaucrat with his truck earlier today after the government thug gave him a citation for operating his business against Gov. Gavin Newsom’s unconstitutional edicts.

The owner of the Breda & Barley restaurant in Covina, a suburb of Los Angeles, used his truck to block in a public health official who fined him for serving customers in an outdoor setting. A viral video shows the restaurant owner telling a police officer about the situation.

“If we can’t work, he can’t work,” he said.

“When I go to the bank, do I tell the bank the health department said it’s okay? The health department said I don’t have to pay you. The health department said I can’t make a living… Is that what I tell the bank? What do I tell my employees?” the restaurant owner added.

The video can be seen here:

Big League Politics has reported on the tyranny in California where left-wing bureaucrats have exploited media-generated pandemic hysteria to enact totalitarian social controls, prompting a backlash from constitutional sheriffs:

Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco is pushing back against California Governor Gavin Newsom’s latest round of COVID-19 lockdown insanity.

People are getting fed up with surrendering to fear. Patriots are beginning to stand up to left-wing COVID tyranny.

WATCH: California health secretary admits that outdoor dining closures were to keep people home, and not because restaurants were spreading COVID


Reported by Noah David Alter, Toronto-Canada|

As the big tech tyrants tighten their grip, join us for more free speech at Parler—the anti-censorship social media platform.

California Health Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said in a video announcement on Wednesday that the lockdown rules in the state preventing outdoor dining are not a tool for safety, but rather a tactic to “keep people at home.”

“Turning to restaurants to deliver and provide takeout options instead really has to do with the goal of trying to keep people at home,” Ghaly said. “Not a comment on the relative safety of outdoor dining.”

Ghaly commented on the extensive steps which restaurants have taken with the government to make outdoor dining as safe as possible including “keeping tables farther apart, to ensuring masking happens as much as possible, to create opportunities for air circulation.” He pointed out “all of those factors make outdoor dining lower risk.”

“But right now,” Ghaly continued, “we advise against anything that you can do in another way, in a lower risk way, that avoids you either leaving your home, or only leaving your home in a way that doesn’t expose you and cause you to mix with others.”

California’s lockdown rules have come under extensive criticism by conservatives who have suggested that the restrictions put in place are arbitrary and draconian, while Democrats have mostly, although in Ghaly’s case not always, argued that they are necessary steps to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Conservatives have also pointed the fact that some state officials and healthcare profession leaders, who have strongly supported lockdown measures, have flaunted the rules themselves. California Governor Gavin Newsom was photographed in November dining at a lavish restaurant in Napa, California with a small group of people even at a time when his own orders restricted such gatherings.

California sheriff has blunt message for Gov. Gavin Newsom over new coronavirus lockdown


Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes announced Saturday that his agency would not enforce the new coronavirus-related lockdown enacted in California.

According to the Associated Press, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced a plan last week for the most restrictive lockdown since the beginning of the pandemic if the state’s COVID-19 metrics met certain thresholds, which has now happened.

From the AP:

The vast region of Southern California, much of the San Francisco Bay area and a large swath of the Central Valley are about to be placed under a sweeping new lockdown in an urgent attempt to slow the rapid rise of coronavirus cases.

The California Department of Public Health said Saturday the intensive care unit capacity in Southern California and Central Valley hospitals had fallen below a 15% threshold that triggers the new measures, which include strict closures for businesses and a ban on gathering with anyone outside of your own household. The new measures will take effect Sunday evening and remain in place for at least three weeks, meaning the lockdown will cover the Christmas holiday.

What did the sheriff say?

Barnes did not mince words: He said that compliance with the new order is a matter of “personal responsibility,” so his agency would not be enforcing the “ever-changing” nature of Democrat-imposed restrictions.

“The Orange County Sheriff’s Department will remain consistent in our approach,” Barnes explained. “Orange County Sheriff’s deputies will not be dispatched to, or respond to, calls for service to enforce compliance with face coverings, social gatherings, or stay-at-home orders only. Deputies will respond to calls for potential criminal behavior and for the protection of life and property. Our actions remain consistent with the protections of constitutional rights.”

The sheriff also criticized the restrictions because they hurt Americans who are “already struggling through difficult circumstances.”

“To put the onus on law enforcement to enforce these orders against law abiding citizens who are already struggling through difficult circumstances, while at the same time criticizing law enforcement and taking away tools to do our job, is both contradictory and disingenuous,” Barnes said.

When Newsom enacted a less restrictive stay-at-home order last month, Barnes also bucked the Democratic governor.

“At this time, due to the need to have deputies available for emergency calls for service, deputies will not be responding to requests for face-coverings or social gatherings-only enforcement,” Barnes said.

Today’s TWO Politically INCORRECT Cartoons by A.F. Branco


A.F. Branco Cartoon – On the Lookout

Gov Walz cares more about enforcing lockdowns for business than he does mobs burning them down.

Minnesota LockdownPolitical cartoon by A.F. Branco ©2020.

A. F. Branco Cartoon – The New Abnormal

Some folks are more concerned about mean Trump tweets than handing the country over to Biden’s tyrants.

Biden Tyrannical AgendaPolitical cartoon by A.F. Branco.
Donations/Tips accepted and appreciated – $1.00 –  $5.00 –  $25.00 – $50.00 – $100 –  it all helps to fund this website and keep the cartoons coming. Also Venmo @AFBranco – THANK YOU!

A.F. Branco has taken his two greatest passions, (art and politics) and translated them into the cartoons that have been popular all over the country, in various news outlets including “Fox News”, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, and “The Washington Post.” He has been recognized by such personalities as Dinesh D’Souza, James Woods, Sarah Palin, Larry Elder, Lars Larson, Rush Limbaugh, and shared by President Donald Trump.

Americans increasingly comfortable with church defiance of COVID-19 restrictions: survey


Reported By Ryan Foley, Christian Post Reporter 

Pastor Rob McCoy speaks at Godspeak Calvary Chapel in California, Aug. 23, 2020. | YouTube/Godspeak Calvary Chapel

A new survey reveals that the American public is much more accepting of churches defying coronavirus lockdowns than they were when the pandemic first broke out in March.

Paul Djupe, an affiliated scholar with the Public Religion Research Institute, and Ryan Burge, a political science professor at Eastern Illinois University, collaborated on a survey asking 1,750 Americans for their views about the coronavirus pandemic in October. They had previously collaborated on a coronavirus-related survey in March, when they spoke to 3,100 Americans.

When asked if they agreed with the statement, “If the government told us to stop gathering in person for worship I would want my congregation to defy the order,” 34% of respondents who participated in the October survey agreed (with 16% strongly agreeing). By contrast, 21.8% of Americans surveyed in March said that they agreed (with 10.7% strongly agreeing) with their congregation defying in-person worship restrictions.

Meanwhile, the share of Americans who disagreed with churches’ defiance of worship restrictions dropped significantly from March to October. In October, 39.1% of Americans disagreed (with 25.8% strongly disagreeing) with the defiance compared to 55.6% (with 36.4% strongly disagreeing) in March.

Those who strongly disagreed with churches’ defiance of in-person worship restrictions made up a plurality of the respondents in March but by October, a plurality of respondents (26.9%) said that they neither agreed nor disagreed with defiance of worship restrictions.

The survey also analyzed the responses to the question based on political party affiliation, finding that support for defiance of coronavirus worship restrictions had increased among all party identifiers. “Our data suggest defiance is growing across the board. Even strong Democrats are urging a more defiant stance, though the growth among Republicans is much greater,” Djupe and Burge wrote.

According to Djupe and Burge, another factor explains the increased support for churches defying worship restrictions: adherence to the prosperity gospel, which teaches that “religious belief is a quid pro quo, returning a wide range of benefits for believers, especially health and wealth.”

“Prosperity gospel belief is also linked to opposition to state health orders, and the connection is easy to see: if the church is the instrument of personal health, then shuttering the church is a direct threat to personal safety during a pandemic,” they said.

Data collected by the researchers show that the correlation between adherence to prosperity gospel beliefs and the opinion that churches should defy worship restrictions was even stronger in October than it was in March. They measured adherence to prosperity gospel beliefs using a “three question index.”

They attributed the increased support for lockdown defiance among prosperity gospel believers to “the messaging they are hearing from religious and political sources,” including Republican politicians who “continue to take a freedom-first approach.” 

“Agreement with prosperity gospel views has grown about 3 percent since March,” they said.

Other findings show a drop in the percentage of adults who believe “the government should tell churches and houses of worship that they should stop meeting in person to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.” While 66.1% of Americans agreed with that in March, 56% said the same in October.

As the idea that churches should defy in-person worship restrictions has gained ground since March, the idea that “hysteria over the coronavirus is politically motivated” has become less popular. In October, 22.5% of Americans strongly rejected that idea, an increase from the 14% who strongly disagreed with that assessment in March. The share of Americans who either agree or strongly agree with the idea that hysteria over the coronavirus was politically motivated dropped from 42.5% in March to 40% in October.

In their analysis, Djupe and Burge offered two theories to explain Americans’ changes in views about the coronavirus over the past seven months. The first theory contended that “people are responding to an elite messaging that combines with unorthodox Christian beliefs to promote an individualistic, go-it-alone style response,” an idea that they argue is “widespread enough to spell doom to efforts to inspire collective action against the behaviors that are spreading the virus.”

Their other explanation rests on the premise that “Trump’s gross mismanagement of the pandemic soured Americans on Trump as well as on government efforts to curtail the pandemic, which, strangely enough, redounded to the benefit of Republicans opposed to state action.” They concluded that “a bit of both explanations are in play.”

The survey comes as more states returned to strict lockdowns after reporting another surge in coronavirus cases since October.

After the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and Agudath Israel of America sued, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on Wednesday to temporarily block New York’s restrictions on houses of worship, saying that the rules “cannot be viewed as neutral” and appear to violate the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.

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