Church Civil Disobedience and COVID-19

Churches want to honor God, be good citizens, obey Romans 13, and watch out for the health of our church, family, and community. How do churches balance the right to worship and the state's right to police powers?

What does the Bible say about churches and civil disobedience. Romans Chapter 13 says, " If you do evil, be afraid, for the government is the minister of God." If you speed in front of a school you are not only disobeying the law, you are disobeying God.  Every Christian is instructed by God to obey governmental directives.

Are there exceptions?  If the government instructs you to not to pray or not to share the gospel, we are free to engage in civil disobedience. Peter and the apostles said, "We ought to obey God rather than obey men" ( Acts 5:29).  Peter and Paul were martyred because of civil disobedience. Christians are commanded to meet together for worship (Hebrews 10:24-25). We want to be good citizens and watch out for the health of our church, family and community.  We do not want to judge other Christians who have different callings.  We want to be a good witness in the community to unbelievers. (I Corinthians 9:19).

Courts have enforced Executive Orders that do not target churches and are applicable to all gatherings and are tailored to meet legitimate concerns of public safety and stop the spread of COVID-19. Eric Dreiband, head of the Justice Department's civil rights division, said Governor Newsom has shown "unequal treatment of faith communities" in restricting their ability to gather and ultimately reopen. There is no pandemic exception to the U.S. Constitution and its Bill of rights."

More than 1,200 California pastors have sent Gov. Newsom a letter stating they will open their church doors on Pentecost Sunday May 31, with or without Newsom's permission, but will still encouraging social distancing. Attorney's for the churches believe it is unconstitutional to declare large box stores, pot stores and liquor stores essential, but churches non essential. Some Christians believe it is not a good witness to the community to passively agree with states that have declared churches non-essential and  believe standing up for unalienable rights is a good witness.  President Trump has declared all churches essential.

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