A coalition of more than 90 American pastors from different denominations has declared they will “never again” close down their churches via government order.
Conservative Review reports:
Taking up a biblical rallying cry from Acts 5:29, these clergyman say, “We must obey God rather than men,” and have signed on to a statement declaring that the government violated the U.S. Constitution by ordering churches to cease meeting during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The purpose of the document is to provide a muster point for clergy,” said Pastor Stephen Mannion of Faith United Methodist Church in Lancaster, New York. “The ‘Acts 5:29 Statement’ declares to the government: ‘Don’t try to close the Church again. It won’t go so well next time.'”
Churches and other houses of worship were forced to shut down in early 2020 when government-issued “stay at home” orders required “non-essential” public places to close. While some religious organizations objected at the time, citing First Amendment concerns, the U.S. Supreme Court in May 2020 declined to take up their cases and permitted lockdown orders to remain in effect.
As a result of government restrictions, many church leaders had to innovate and embraced technology to deliver live-streamed worship services over the internet. But in-person Bible studies, small groups, counseling services, Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous meetings, and a multitude of other Christian ministries suspended their activities. Many Christians contend that suspending these services came at a great cost. Deaths associated with alcohol, drugs, and suicide spiked 20% in 2020, claiming the lives of more than 186,000 Americans.
“Bodily autonomy and parental rights [were] often stripped away, livelihoods were lost, dedicated service men and women where forced to retire or be cut from our armed forces, students were robbed of an education, and all for an [infection fatality ratio] of much less than 1%,” Mannion said to The Blaze.