• Faith Under Siege in Nevada, Cali – High Court Shrugs, Pastors Resist

    Surge Summary: The Supreme Court takes a pass on supporting religious liberty against the State of Nevada, while pastors push back against anti-church regulations shutting down their meetings in the state of California.

    by Gary Bauer

    Late Friday, the Supreme Court rejected an appeal challenging Nevada’s onerous restrictions on in-person church services.  While the state has allowed businesses such as casinos and movie theaters to accommodate customers up to 50% of normal capacity, the state has capped in-person church services to no more than 50 people, regardless of the church’s capacity.

    It’s an obvious double standard by the state, and an outrageous decision by the Supreme Court.  The four left-wing justices voted exactly as expected.  Sadly, Chief Justice John Roberts, appointed by President George W. Bush, joined them and continues to become more unreliable.

    In many respects, Friday’s decision essentially ignores the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty.  State governments are now treating churches as if they have fewer constitutional protections than other institutions.

    As a commissioner on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, I would not be surprised at all to hear that communist China was restricting church attendance.  But as an American citizen, I am shocked to hear it is happening in this country.

    This issue proves yet again just how important the courts are and why the upcoming elections are so critical to the future of this country.  Thankfully, four justices were willing to overturn Nevada’s discriminatory order.  In a brilliant dissent, Justice Neil Gorsuch declared:

    “In Nevada, it seems, it is better to be in entertainment than religion. Maybe that is nothing new. But the First Amendment prohibits such obvious discrimination against the exercise of religion. The world we inhabit today, with a pandemic upon us, poses unusual challenges. But there is no world in which the Constitution permits Nevada to favor Caesars Palace over Calvary Chapel.”

    Pastors Take A Stand

    There’s a similar battle brewing in California, where a number of pastors, including John MacArthurJack Hibbs and Greg Fairrington, are defying Governor Gavin Newsom’s order to shut down again.  These churches have instituted safeguards to keep their congregants safe, but Newsom doesn’t care.

    I want to commend these pastors for taking such a bold stand.  But I’m sure Pastor MacArthur probably realizes the irony here.  Historically, he has not been known for advocating Christian activism in elections or public policy.  Perhaps if more pastors in California had stood up in recent years, they would not have to petition a governor who couldn’t care less about religious liberty.

    Some have suggested, as even Pastor MacArthur did in his statement, that “the Lord may be using these pressures as a means of purging to reveal the true church.”

    Well, if you’re looking for God’s hand in something, you can’t come up with a better scenario than the Supreme Court deciding that Caesars Palace has more protection than Calvary Chapel.  But as men and women of faith we know that Calvary overcame Caesar many centuries ago, and it will do so again.

    The views here are those of the author and not necessarily Daily Surge.

    Originally posted here.

    Image: Adapted from: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/; https://www.flickr.com/photos/shawnzlea/2410739632

    Gary Lee Bauer is an American politician and activist, who served in the Reagan administration. He later became president of the Family Research Council and a senior vice president of Focus on the Family. In 2000, he participated in the Republican presidential contest.

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