Pastor Fined $2,500 After 16 People Attend Church in Building that Seats 293

There has been no shortage of absolutely absurd orders (and enforcements of said orders) concerning the coronavirus situation. The latest is especially egregious.

Police in Virginia ticketed the pastor of Lighthouse Fellowship Church because he allowed just 16 people to attend service, while spread apart in a church that seats 293. The fine is an outrageous $2,500 with a possiblity of one year in jail.

The fine and infringement of this pastor’s first amendment rights is appalling enough, but further context makes this even worse.

A friend of the church, Matt Lever of Liberty Counsel – a faith based organization that works with Lighthouse Fellowship – said,

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Lighthouse Fellowship Church protected the health and safety of the 16 people by requiring them to be spread far apart in the 293-seat sanctuary. The church does not have internet. Some people do not have cars and they depend on the ministry of the church for their physical and spiritual needs.

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But because the church had six more people than the 10 allowed by Gov. Ralph Northam, the pastor is being criminally charged. There is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ template that works for every church. We need to balance the First Amendment with protecting the health and welfare of people. Using an arbitrary number of 10 people for every church is not the answer.

This means that $2,500 that could have been used to house, clothe, feed, and treat people will now be wasted away in the abyss that is big government spending.

To add to the madness, the cops threatened to also fine all of the attendees if they showed up to another service.

Some of these congregants are likely one bad situation away from homelessness or worse. If they’re not close to dire circumstances, or already there, they are very likely greatly involved in helping those who are in such circumstances.

They want us to believe it’s for our safety that these cops and authorities are fining tiny groups of individuals because of the astonomically low chance that they get the virus while standing yards away from one another. That is all nonsense, of course.

Just like the orders banning outside activities that require neither contact nor close distancing, this is obviously not about safety. This is about control.

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