Jack Trieber is the Pastor of North Valley Baptist Church in Santa Clara, California. Like other churches in California, he has been dealing with government orders prohibiting indoor worship services while only allowing, in his case, outdoor services with up to 60 people. For a church with thousands of members, that limitation is not practical or realistic.
Things have come to a head for Pastor Trieber and his church, as the county government has fined him – so far – $52,750 for such things as:
- Unlawful indoor gathering
- Failing to comply with required social distancing practices
- Not requiring congregants or church attendees to use face coverings while attending
- Performing or speaking at indoor worship services
- Permitting congregants or church service attendees to sing during services
Pastor Trieber is fighting back. In a fiery YouTube video posted on September 1, he reminded viewers that the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the “free exercise” of religion and the right “to peaceably assemble.” And this is not just a constitutional right, he continued. “It’s a biblical command.”
“This has to stop. This has to cease,” Trieber says in the video. “You have given us, government, cease and desist [orders]. I’m asking you on this day – cease and desist. This is harassment to do this to a church. … You cannot take away our right to assemble.”
Trieber’s church initially obeyed the closure commands when it was unknown how infectious the novel coronavirus would be. “I didn’t want to be responsible for seeing people die,” he said in an August 24 video, right after the church had received an initial fine of $10,000 for holding two indoor services. “Because it was going to be a hotspot, we obeyed to the letter.”
However, after weeks passed with relatively low numbers of persons in the area catching the virus, Trieber and his church decided the government had gone too far in violating their constitutional rights.
“We are not closing down this church,” he stated in his latest video. “I don’t know what the consequences on your part are going to be, but I know that America does not want this to happen in her country and at this church.”
Trieber implores the county to remove the fines it has imposed and stop issuing more. “This is not Caesar’s money. This is God’s money,” he said.
He makes an impassioned plea for help.
“America, will you please help us? This has to stop. This has to cease … California preachers, if we don’t stop it here, it’s going to sweep all over our state – which it has already – and it’s going to sweep all over the United States of America.”
Photo from YouTube
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