Connecticut ‘Satanic’ Desecration Marks 11th Attack on Christian Church

St. Joseph Church in New Haven, CT

JOHN NOLTE 18 Jul 2020

“St. Joseph’s Church … was vandalized this week, as an unknown individual or individuals painted ‘satanic’ and ‘anarchist’ symbols on its doors,” reports the New Haven Register.

According to St. Joseph’s pastor, Rev. John Paul Walker, the church was desecrated using pink paint, including a pentagram and the symbol for anarchy.

The church announced in a Facebook post:

Between the hours of 9 PM last night and 6 AM this morning, a person or group of persons had painted anarchist and satanic symbols on the doors of St. Joseph Church in New Haven. This follows an apparent trend of desecrating Catholic spaces throughout the nation, as evidenced by incidents in Chattanooga, Queens, Boston, Sacramento, and Ocala. The underlying motive of these sacrilegious attacks is clear: to intimidate and instill fear in the hearts of those who worship Christ.

After being shut down on Thursday, Walker said the church reopened Friday after being blessed with an exorcism prayer.

Walker told the New Haven Register that the vandalism occurred after “a disruptive individual had attended services in the days leading up to the incident, prompting calls to police.” Police confirmed a call about the disruptions.

News 8 confirms local police are investigating the vandalism incident.

The “apparent trend of desecrating Catholic spaces” referred to in the St. Joseph Facebook post is becoming a little more than apparent.

Here’s the rundown of attacks on the Christian church over just the last two months — ten in the last month — which coincides with the lawless rioting, vandalism, and looting at the hands of the corporate media’s and Democrat Party’s Brownshirts in the left-wing Black Lives Matter and Antifa terrorist groups:

July 16: Statue of Christ decapitated inside a Florida church

July 15: Statue of Virgin Mary decapitated outside Tennessee church

July 12: Statue of Virgin Mary lit on fire in Boston

July 11: Suspect arrested after detectives “say he plowed a minivan through the front door of Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Ocala, doused the foyer with gasoline and set it on fire, causing extensive damage”

July 11: Arson suspected in devastating fire at San Gabriel Mission in California

July 10: Statue of Virgin Mary desecrated with spray paint in Brooklyn

July 4: Statue of St. Junipero Serra toppled in Sacramento, California

June 20: Statue of St. Junipero Serra toppled in Los Angeles, California

June 19: Statue of St. Junipero Serra toppled in San Francisco, California

May 31: St. John’s Church firebombed in Washington, DC

St. Junipero Serra is a specific target — he founded the San Gabriel Mission 249 years ago — because of the lies going around about his treatment of missionary Indians at the time. The truth is that St. Junipero risked his life to bring God to the North American natives and even confronted his own government about their treatment. The smears against him are nothing short of a blood libel.

Anyway, remember when we were attacked as hysterics after we warned this madness would not stop with Confederate statues and monuments?

Once you allow any kind of lawlessness, it becomes a Pandora’s box. The establishment media and Democrats know this, which is why they applauded the tearing down of Confederate statues and then attempted to gaslight the public into believing it would stop there. The Church was always the ultimate target, which is why the media are now encouraging these attacks by ignoring them.

Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNCFollow his Facebook Page here.

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2020/07/18/connecticut-satanic-desecration-marks-11th-attack-christian-church/


AUDIO SCOTUS LGBT Decision Will ‘Create a Tsunami of New Litigation’ Against Religious Groups

ROBERT KRAYCHIK 15 Jun 2020

The Supreme Court’s (SCOTUS) reinterpretation of a federal prohibition against employment discrimination based on sex — which now includes sexual orientation and “gender identity” — will “create a tsunami of new litigation” against religious organizations, explained Carrie Severino, president of the Judicial Crisis Network, offering her remarks on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight with host Rebecca Mansour.

The Supreme Court’s legal redefinition of “sex” to include sexual orientation and “gender identity” opens the door for further left-wing lawfare against religious organizations, Severino noted.

Severino said, “The Supreme Court left a lot of really important issues open, like, how do you balance this with religious freedom? How do you balance it with freedom of speech? If you’ve got a law, for example, saying that using someone’s preferred pronoun is mandatory — or you can be fined [for non-compliance], how do we balance that with some of these other important and even constitutional questions? Those are things that, for the most part, are unfortunately going to be just decided by a whole range of lower courts. and it will be a long time before the Supreme Court even takes up the opportunity to weigh in on that.”

Severino predicted, “These questions are going to create a tsunami of new litigation and create a huge amount of uncertainty going forward.”

LISTEN:

The Supreme Court’s decision to extend prohibitions against employment discrimination to include sexual orientation and “gender identity” will place religious and traditional organizations at a legal disadvantage when they are inevitably sued by left-wing outfits.

“You’re going to see these decisions going overwhelmingly in favor of the litigants [and] the plaintiffs who are challenging any religious organization, or any school, or anyone who wants to maintain a traditional, biologically based, scientific-based understanding of sex,” Severino forecasted.

“The logic that the court embraced” sets in motion a legal momentum for lower courts to render future decisions in favor of plaintiffs suing religious and traditional organizations for their personnel decisions, Severino anticipated.

Mansour asked if religious organizations would surrender to left-wing activist groups filing lawsuits based on the Supreme Court’s decision given their insufficient resources to legally defend themselves.

Severino replied, “That’s part of the strategy of the activists because they know that many of these organizations can’t afford to pay for defense. They can’t afford to risk a negative judgment where they could face crippling fines. If you’re talking about individuals, you’ve seen what’s happened with cases like the Masterpiece Cake Shop case, where someone’s entire business and livelihood could be destroyed and where they can face even personal threats and real concern over their own safety if they are willing to carry on litigation.”

Severino added, “I think the intimidation factor of a lawsuit is huge, and when you’ve got the court almost inviting that, it’s going to present a real challenge for a lot of people. Practically speaking, for the most part, this isn’t even going to be an issue because I think there’s the vast majority of businesses don’t have any reason or desire to discriminate on either of these bases, but there are circumstances where it is either relevant to the job qualifications or where it’s going to be an issue of conscience, and those are the ones where you’re going to have people who are going to be forced to make those tough choices between violating their own conscience and possibly losing their livelihood.”

The Supreme Court’s decision amounted to a rewriting of civil rights legislation, Severino stated.

“This had to do with the court interpreting the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” Severino explained. “We’re kind of familiar with this language. It says that no employers can discriminate on the basis of sex, of religion, of natural origin, and other kinds of classic caveats that you have, but what their question was, ‘It says you can’t discriminate ion the basis of sex. Does that also mean you can’t discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity?’”

Severino continued, “It’s kind of a strange question to be asking because in so many states, now, and in many situations in federal law, we already do have laws preventing discrimination based on sexual orientation, but they never phrase it as ‘discrimination based on sex.’ It’s always explicitly written, ‘discrimination based on sexual orientation.’”

“What the Supreme Court did is, in an opinion, they basically just rewrote what that text said because there is a long-standing history where for decades, no politicians [and] no judge said that language meant sexual orientation, as well,” Severino added.

The Supreme Court’s decision usurps the role of legislators, Severino determined.

“That’s really a revisionist reading of the statute dressed up as textualism, and that’s one of the things that is so dangerous because we have laws that courts can effectively rewrite,” Severino concluded. “No legislator who passed [Title VII of the Civil Rights Act] would have thought it meant that.”

Breitbart News Tonight broadcasts live on SiriusXM Patriot channel 125 weeknights from 9:00 p.m. to midnight Eastern or 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Pacific.

Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter.

https://www.breitbart.com/radio/2020/06/15/carrie-severino-scotus-lgbt-decision-tsunami-litigation-religious-groups/

VIDEO Chicago Mayor Launches Police Raid to Shut Down Black Church’s Sunday Services

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks during a news conference in Hall A at the COVID-19 alternate site at McCormick Place in Chicago, Friday, April 10, 2020. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

WARNER TODD HUSTON 24 May 2020

On Sunday, Chicago’s first openly gay mayor, Lori Lightfoot, mounted a raid on a black South Side church for holding services in defiance of her coronavirus lockdown orders.

Lightfoot reportedly sent three marked squad cars and two unmarked cars full of officers to the Chicago Cornerstone Baptist Church in the South Side’s Woodlawn neighborhood. Woodlawn is just south of Hyde Park, the area in which the Obamas lived for a short time before Barack became president.

The pastor of the mostly black congregation, Courtney Lewis, reportedly shut and locked the doors and refused to allow the officers to gain entry to the building, Todd Starnes reported.

Pastor Lewis told Starnes that he felt like he was confronting “the Soviet-style KGB” as the officers pounded on his doors and demanded entry to shut the church down.

“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,” Lewis said.

A sentry that is usually posted outside the sanctuary to monitor the street during service also reported seeing occupants of a dark car with tinted windows filming the incident through one opened window.

“All we are seeking is the same consideration and trust that is being tendered toward the liquor stores, abortion clinics, and Walmart,” Lewis told Starnes.

Lewis is also seeking help from U.S. Attorney John Lausch. “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 recent 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.”

Lightfoot, Chicago’s Mayor since May of last year, has been targeting the city’s churches for several weeks as houses of worship have begun balking at her draconian lockdown orders.

Late last week, Lightfoot excoriated the city’s churches, saying that their desire to re-open is “dangerous and foolish.”

Also last week, the city began fining churches that Lightfoot thinks are violating her coronavirus lockdown orders. After some churches started holding services on the second weekend of May, fines were handed out to churches, including Philadelphia Romanian Church of God, Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church, Metro Praise International, and others.

Law service Liberty Counsel reported on May 23 that Elim Pentecostal Church and other Romanian churches in the city received letters from the Chicago Department of Public Health, invoking emergency orders and deeming churches a danger to society.

The letters also invoked “summary abatement,” which gives the city the power to forcibly enter properties without a judge’s orders and impose the mayor’s will on occupants.

On Friday, President Donald Trump updated federal guidelines for re-opening the economy and added that churches are essential institutions and should be allowed to re-open without government opposition.

“Today, I am identifying houses of worship, churches, synagogues, and mosques as essential places that provide essential services,” Trump said on Friday, announcing the release of new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.

A similar flurry of harsh orders has come from the state’s governor, as well. Illinois’s recently elected Gov. J.B. Pritzker, heir to the billion-dollar Hyatt Hotel chain, continues to maintain that Illinois must remain on near-total lockdown as a measure to stave off the coronavirus.

Pritzker, who has instituted the most draconian lockdown in the country, recently decreed that churches must not allow more than 50 worshippers inside at a time, “until there is a vaccine” for the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, Pritzker took criticism for demanding that everyone stay at home even as he allowed his wife to fly off to their Florida estate where lockdowns are not as strict. He was also caught ordering construction crews from Illinois to travel to Wisconsin to work on his property there despite those strict stay-at-home orders he was doling out to his constituents.

But Pritzker is facing mounting pressure to roll back his authoritarian coronavirus policies. Last Wednesday, the governor succumbed to pressure to cancel his order to criminally charge businesses that opened their doors in defiance of his coronavirus orders.

Illinoisans are becoming increasingly restive under Pritzker’s rule. Multiple lawsuits have been filed against the state’s coronavirus decrees, and many county governments are shying away from the lockdowns. A growing number of county sheriffs and board members are refusing to enforce the governor’s orders.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Facebook at facebook.com/Warner.Todd.Huston.

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2020/05/24/chicago-mayor-launches-police-raid-shut-down-black-church/



Related

https://www.breitbart.com/health/2020/05/25/minnesota-gov-tim-walz-questions-whether-worship-is-essential/

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2020/05/24/ohio-judge-deems-states-coronavirus-lockdown-illegal/

Illinoisans Revolting Against Lockdowns as Chicago Mayor Orders Parking Bans Around Churches to Thwart Services

Protesters rally against Illinois stay-at-home order outside the Thompson Center in downtown Chicago, Friday, May 1, 2020. The Friday demonstration is the latest in a series of protests around the country against stay-at-home orders designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

WARNER TODD HUSTON 21 May 2020

The deep blue state of Illinois is beginning to revolt against the nation’s strictest coronavirus lockdowns even as those in charge seek to strengthen their power.

Some of the more outrageous examples of overreach are seen in the City of Chicago, where Mayor Lori Lightfoot has fenced in the city’s extensive lakeshore areas and even created newly designated no parking zones around churches to prevent worshipers from attending services.

Last Sunday, the city’s first gay mayor sent the Chicago Police Department (CPD) out to erect new signs around the neighborhood of Philadelphia Romanian Church to suddenly create long stretches of new “No parking/tow warning” zones around the building.

Lightfoot also sent the CPD to prowl around outside several of the city’s churches to hand out parking violations, Chicago’s CBS affiliate reported.

The mayor’s campaign against churches comes on the heels of statements by several church officials across the city saying they had no intention of submitting to the mayor’s orders to shut down their houses of worship.

A protester holds a sign during a rally calling for the state to reopen the economy, Saturday, May 16, 2020, outside the Thompson Center in downtown Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

A protester holds a sign during a rally calling for the state to reopen the economy outside the Thompson Center in downtown Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

The Windy City is not the only Illinois jurisdiction instituting the draconian lockdowns that are riling citizens. The state’s novice Governor, J.B. Pritzker, has also dabbled in harsh lockdowns that have stifled the state.

Indeed, a recent review of lockdown policies by the personal finance site WalletHub found Illinois has the harshest lockdown policies in the country.

As a result, the Windy City citizens are not the only Illinoisans who have revolted against the Democrat-enforced lockdowns.

A growing number of county and municipal officials are coming out in opposition to Gov. Pritzker’s seemingly arbitrary orders. Pritzker ruled businesses that violated his orders could be handed a prison sentence of up to a year for refusing to obey him. But many balked at the order.

Sheriff James Mendrick of DuPage County, Illinois, for instance, told his constituents he had no intention of enforcing Pritzker’s order to fine and arrest violators of the gov’s lockdown orders.

“I just can’t do this anymore. I stand with our citizens and businesses of DuPage County who have offered no trouble or no resistance to any rule we put upon them, no matter how strange.,” Sheriff Mendrick wrote in a Facebook post.

“I will not victimize lawful residents of DuPage County trying to put food on their children’s table. I’m so proud of our DuPage citizens who have done everything right from the beginning. All I can say is thank you,” he added.

 



Kendall County Sheriff Dwight Baird joined Mendrick and let his county know that he had no intention of sending police to break up gatherings, take out weddings, or shut down businesses because in his opinion, “the Governor’s Executive Order is not a law.”

Gibson City, a town in central Illinois, also announced they would not be enforcing Pritker’s orders.

“After careful consideration, the Gibson City Police Department will not be making any criminal misdemeanor arrests of individuals or business owners for violations of temporary rules of Executive Orders, the town said in a statement on Wednesday.



In reply to these officials, Gov. Pritzker warned he would send the state police in to enforce his rules.

“Counties that try to reopen in defiance, may not be reimbursed by FEMA for damages they cause because they ignored the law,” Pritzker said adding, “Local law enforcement and the Illinois State Police can and will take action.”

Individual business owners have also defied the governor’s threats.

A gym owner in Moline, a city on the border with Iowa, straight west of Chicago, reopened his business on Monday in direct defiance of Pritzker’s orders.

Madison County Board Chairman Kurt Prenzler helped usher through a resolution that “basically declared all businesses and churches essential.”

“I did the Zoom classes for a while. Rented out all my equipment and, you know, you reach a point where enough is enough, and somebody’s got to say something,” said Chris Ninotta, owner of Omni Strength. “I can’t do it any longer. I’m a single father, and that’s where my loyalty lies, and there’s no man or government on earth that’s gonna tell me I gotta, you know, do this.”

In another case, Kevin Promenschenkel, owner of Poopy’s biker bar in Savanna, Illinois, filed a lawsuit after his state liquor license was threatened because people used his picnic tables – spaced more than 10 feet apart – to eat their takeout orders.

The above actions by business owners and government officials noted above are only a handful of the examples of residents and officials revolting against the Illinois governor’s autocratic orders.

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2020/05/21/illinoisans-revolting-against-lockdowns-as-chicago-mayor-orders-parking-bans-around-churches-to-thwart-services/

DOJ to Gavin Newsom: Start Reopening Churches in California

Attorney General William Barr appears before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee to make his Justice Department budget request, Wednesday, April 10, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

JOEL B. POLLAK 20 May 2020

The Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) warned California Gov. Gavin Newsom Tuesday that his reopening plan discriminates against religion and must be modified to allow for religious services to reopen.

Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband pointed out that Newsom’s plan allows a variety of businesses to reopen in “Stage 2,” but does not allow churches and other houses of worship to reopen until “Stage 3,” for no apparent reason.

Citing Attorney General William Barr’s April memorandum warning state and local governments to respect First Amendment rights of religious freedom — “[T]he Constitution is not suspended in times of crisis,” Barr wrote — Dreiband argued that while California could determine the pace of its reopening, it could not infringe on religion:

Of course we recognize the duty that you have to protect the health and safety of Californians in the face of a pandemic that is unprecedented in our lifetimes.

Laws that do not treat religious activities equally with comparable nonreligious activities are subject to heightened scrutiny under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. … Religious gatherings may not be singled out for unequal treatment compared to other nonreligious gatherings that have the same effect on the government’s public health interest, absent the most compelling reasons.

California has not shown why interactions in offices and studios of the entertainment industry, and in-person operations to facilitate nonessential ecommerce, are included on the [essential workforce] list as being allowed with social distancing where telework is not practical, while gatherings with social distancing for purposes of religious worship are forbidden, regardless of whether remote worship is practical or not.

Places of worship are not permitted to hold religious worship services until Stage 3. However, in Stage 2, schools, restaurants, factories, offices, shopping malls, swap meets, and others are permitted to operate with social distancing.

Whatever level of restrictions you adopt, these civil rights protections mandate equal treatment of persons and activities of a secular and religious nature.

Dreiband told Breitbart News Sunday recently that the DOJ had achieved results by writing to local governments to inform them that they were infringing on religious liberty, and they had backed down from draconian restrictions.

The Los Angeles Times notes that while several California churches have already challenged the state’s stay-at-home orders, none has yet been successful. Dreiband acknowledged these decisions, but argued in his letter that the decisions do not address discrimination in the reopening plan.

Politico noted that Gov. Newsom has tried to mollify religious communities: “I want to just express my deep admiration to the faith community and the need and desire to know when their congregants can once again start coming back to the pews, coming back together,” he said Monday.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

https://www.breitbart.com/faith/2020/05/20/doj-to-gavin-newsom-start-reopening-churches/

Vindication for Freedom of Religion – Judge: Oregon’s Coronavirus Restrictions ‘Null and Void’

18 May 2020

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A county judge has declared Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s coronavirus restrictions “null and void” because she didn’t have her emergency orders approved by the Legislature.

Baker County Circuit Judge Matthew Shirtcliff made the ruling Monday in a lawsuit brought by churches that had sued saying the social-distancing directives were unconstitutional.

The suit had also argued that emergency powers only last for a month and after that Brown would have needed legislative approval. The judge agreed.

Brown said she would immediately appeal the ruling to the state Supreme Court to try to keep the emergency orders in effect.
“This will ensure we can continue to safeguard the health of all Oregonians — including frontline health care workers, those living in nursing homes, workers in agriculture and food processing plants, and Oregonians with underlying health conditions –– while the legal process moves forward,” Brown said.

Ray Hacke, the attorney who represented the plaintiffs in the case, said in a phone interview Monday the ruling invalidates Brown’s ban on churches gathering for worship but also the entire stay-at-home order, Hacke said.

Common Sense intervened after the Sacramento-based Pacific Justice Institute filed the case earlier this month on behalf of Oregon businesses, expanding the scope, he said.

“The stay-at-home order is no longer in effect. It is invalidated. If people want to get their haircut, they can. They can leave their home for any reason whether it’s deemed essential in the eye of the state or not,” he said.

He added that the ruling was a vindication not just for freedom of religion, but for all Oregonians’ freedoms.

“Praise God. I’m excited, and I’m glad that the judge saw that there are limitations on the governor’s power, even in the midst of emergencies,” he said.

Shirtcliff, the judge, was the district attorney of Baker County from 2001 until Brown appointed him judge last September, with the appointment having taken effect on Nov. 1.

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2020/05/18/judge-declares-oregon-coronavirus-restrictions-null-and-void/

States Prioritize Lives of Elderly with Stay-at-Home Orders, but Not These Other Laws…

 

By Teresa Haney | March 31, 2020

As we grapple with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, an encouraging truth is shining through: All human life has inherent value. Your age and medical history don’t make you more, or less, worthy of life.

As a society, we are prioritizing the lives of the old and the sick over our own comfort. We don’t see this as a burden, but as a necessary sacrifice. Out of care and concern for the vulnerable, we are participating in social distancing, closing our stores, and staying home to help slow the spread of the virus.

But the responses of eight states and Washington, D.C. are particularly noteworthy.

CaliforniaColoradoHawaiiMontanaNew JerseyOregonVermontWashington, and Washington, D.C., have all issued stay-at-home orders.

Why Do These Responses Stand Out?

These responses to the coronavirus might not seem like anything special. Many other states have taken similar steps, after all. And it is heartening to see responses that value the lives of the vulnerable so highly.

But these particular responses highlight an important contradiction.

As these eight states and D.C. rush to protect the vulnerable populations that the coronavirus hits hardest—the elderly and those with chronic medical conditions—their laws simultaneously target these populations.

You see, these states have legalized physician-assisted suicide.

And therein lies the contradiction.

On one hand, the response to COVID-19 shows that our society cares more about the needs of our community than our individual desires. These actions affirm the dignity and worth of every human being. And these states have shown they are willing to bear any cost to prevent the virus from taking more lives than it already has.

On the other hand, physician-assisted suicide writes off the elderly and disabled as burdensome. Insurance companies have failed to subsidize expensive, life-sustaining medical treatment, yet they have subsidized lethal drugs, encouraging vulnerable patients to end their own lives. Physician-assisted suicide offers death as the answer to sickness.

More than 3,000 individuals in the U.S. have lost their life by physician-assisted suicide. To date, 2,860 individuals have lost their lives to coronavirus in the U.S.

Unfortunately, it has taken a global pandemic for us to understand the value of each of these lives lost.

Lessons Learned

If we have learned anything from the last few weeks in our country, it is that our society is stronger when we value and defend the lives of the most vulnerable among us.

God-willing, someday soon our lives will return to normal. I hope we carry our renewed understanding of human dignity with us, and that we continue to show this level of care and concern for the vulnerable in our communities as we return to our daily lives.

Teresa Haney is the Alliance Defending Freedom’s Center for Life legal secretary.

Editor’s Note: This piece originally appeared on the Alliance Defending Freedom.

https://cnsnews.com/commentary/teresa-haney/states-prioritize-lives-elderly-stay-home-orders-not-these-other-laws

Texas Governor Abbott: Church an ‘Essential Service,’ Practice Social Distancing

The Rev. Alvin J. Gwynn Sr., of Friendship Baptist Church in Baltimore, sits in his church's sanctuary, Thursday, March 19, 2020. He bucked the cancellation trend by holding services the previous Sunday. But attendance was down by about 50%, and Gwynn said the day’s offering netted about $5,000 compared to …

PENNY STARR 1 Apr 2020

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has signed an executive order that makes churches an “essential service,” as protocols are being put in place across the country during the coronavirus pandemic.

Abbott included language to encourage online worship services and told church leaders and parishioners to practice “social distancing” to prevent the spread of the virus if they do gather for services.

Abbott said in an interview reported on by Click2Houston:

I’m unaware of a church that would want its constituents, its parishioners, to be exposed to COVID-19, and I think there’s enough public information right now for them to be aware of the practices that are needed to make sure that their members don’t contract COVID-19,

Click2Houston reported on a press conference Abbott held:

There has been controversy, particularly in the Houston area, over church closures in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Pastors are in court challenging a stay-at-home order that Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced a week ago that restricts churches to online-only services.

To that end, Abbott’s latest executive order supersedes “any conflicting order issued by local officials.” 

At the news conference, Abbott said local officials can still issue more stringent restrictions than the statewide standard as long as they do not conflict with that standard.

Law360.com also reported on the legal battle over church services:

The executive order — which also extends school closures statewide through May 4 — comes one day after Fox News guest commentator Dr. Steven Hotze and three Houston pastors asked the Texas Supreme Court to declare unconstitutional a March 24 order from Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo barring in-person religious services.

“The circumstances presented by coronavirus do not excuse unlawful government infringements upon freedom,” Hotze argued in the emergency petition for writ of mandamus filed with the state’s high court on Monday. “Urgent First and Second Amendment issues of immense statewide significance, arising from the largest county in Texas and affecting residents throughout the Lonestar State, are presented here.”

“If religious services cannot be conducted from home or through remote services, they should be conducted consistent with the guidelines from the president and the [Centers for Disease Control] by practicing good hygiene, environmental cleanliness, and sanitation, and by implementing social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” the order reads.

Jared Woodfill of Woodfill Law Firm PC, which represents Hotze and the pastors, told Law360 on Tuesday that the ball is now in Hildalgo’s court.

“The big question now is what does Judge Hidalgo do?” Woodfill said. “Is she going to ignore the governor and his comments or abide by them and amend her order?”

Law360.com  reporte:

Woodfill said because this lawsuit presents a matter of statewide importance, he took it straight to the Texas Supreme Court, but should the court decline to take it, he’s already preparing several state court lawsuits to challenge the order in Harris County, as well as the orders in Dallas, Montgomery, and Fort Bend counties. 

The legal website reported the pastors that joined in the plea to the state’s high court are Juan Bustamante of City on a Hill Church, George Garcia of Power of Love Church, and David Valdez of World Faith Center of Houston Church.

Bustamante alleged in the Law360.com article that a Houston police officer threatened him with jail and a $1,000 fine “if he did not stop preaching the gospel to his congregation,” according to the petition.

Follow Penny Starr on Twitter

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2020/04/01/texas-governor-abbott-church-an-essential-service-practice-social-distancing/

Turned Tragedy Into Triumph

By Reverend Paul N. Papas II

March 31, 2020

 

 

As a butterfly isn’t made overnight, neither are we what we become. What we are today is not what we were yesterday or will be tomorrow.

It takes four stages to become a butterfly: egg; caterpillar; chrysalis, then an adult butterfly.  To become a butterfly, a caterpillar first digests much of itself. But certain groups of cells survive, turning the soup into eyes, wings, antennae and other adult structures.

The cells in our bodies are dying and are being replaced all the time as our appearance gets older.

“The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress and grow.”
― Thomas Paine

On a sweltering day in his small Iowa town, Matt Gage dove into a pool. When he surfaced, his entire left side was useless.

Fortunately, the nine-year-old’s cousin was there to pull him from the water. At the hospital, the doctor diagnosed heat stroke. But after being transferred to the Mayo Clinic, Matt was whisked into emergency surgery with a different diagnosis, the kind usually reserved for the elderly. Matt had suffered not just heatstroke but an actual a stroke.

The prognosis was grim. The neurosurgeon didn’t expect Matt to wake up. If he did, he’d be a vegetable.

But Matt did wake up. The neurosurgeon told Matt he’d never be able to move his left side again. With the young boy’s dream of becoming the next Michael Jordan destroyed, he ignored his father’s urging to try to move his leg. “I can’t,” Matt would say.

Finally, his father confronted him. “Matt, what did ‘can’t’ ever do for you?” his father said. “If you say you can’t do it, you’re not gonna do it. If you don’t start believing in yourself and believing something can happen, that you can get better, then you’re gonna be in a wheelchair.”

He began to make progress. First, he moved his left leg. Then he moved his left arm. He started walking with a brace before leaving the hospital.

Although his left side had a limited range of motion, Matt eventually played basketball, ran a 5K, and even took up skiing. He became a professor and athletic trainer for various universities. He now gives hope to other young stroke victims and their families by showing them that they, too, can get married, have kids, and enjoy successful careers.

Matt believes God used his stroke to help others. If he could relive the moment that changed his life, he says, “Now, today, I would tell you that I wouldn’t want it any different.” (1)

“Somewhere in the world there is a defeat for everyone. Some are destroyed by defeat, and some made small and mean by victory. Greatness lives in one who triumphs equally over defeat and victory.”
― John Steinbeck, The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights

“Have patience with all things but first with yourself. Never confuse your mistakes with your value as a human being. You are perfectly valuable, creative, worthwhile person simply because you exist. And no amount of triumphs or tribulations can ever change that.” ― Saint Frances de Sales

“Whatever troubles we may face, we can trust God to give us strength to triumph.”
― Lailah Gifty Akita

We are living in close quarters now as the wave of coronavirus weaves through different communities around the globe. None of us knows who will be affected next. We are in this together. Over the years we have drifted apart, not even knowing our neighbors. This is a good time to spend with your family, neighbors, and with God becoming our own butterfly.

Let’s call and write those whom we have left to ‘when we get the time’ today. Help everyone you can in anyway you can, making the load a little lighter for all of us.  We can accomplish more together than we can on our own.  Together we will make our community, state, and nation better than when we started this journey. We should see more butterflies as fruits of our labor soon.


(1) https://listverse.com/2014/12/23/10-inspiring-stories-of-people-who-turned-tragedy-into-triumph/

https://preacher01704.wordpress.com/2020/04/01/turned-tragedy-into-triumph/


Passion Week Scripture Readings

John 19.17-18

Passion Week - Page 1Passion Week - Page 2

John 11.25-26a

https://beholdinghimministries.org/2020/04/01/passion-week-scripture-readings/