Recently, Dr. Dennis Jackman, a physician and pastor of United Methodist Church in Pasadena, Maryland was threatened with a $5,000 fine, jail time and a complete shut down of the church because he was not wearing a mask while ALONE in his church.
I think that needs to be repeated he was all by himself in the church when an inspector with the local health authority showed up after receiving a tip off from a snitch that “there might be somebody here without a mask on.”
Maryland has been actively promoting its snitch line where citizens can turn in their enemies, family, friends and neighbours for real or imagined violations of the state’s COVID lockdown.
According to the Christian Post, Jackman was in his office when he heard someone trying to open the church’s locked front doors. He wasn’t expecting anyone so Jackman decided to check what was going on. When he opened the door and saw someone standing there, Jackman returned to his desk and got his mask.
But because he wasn’t wearing a mask, the health official cited Jackman for violation of the state’s lockdown rules.
Speaking on behalf of the American Constitutional Rights Union that is representing Jackson in his legal fight with the state, President Lori Roman said:
“Pastor Jackman wasn’t doing anything wrong. He was alone in his church, there were no services going on when a health department official showed up at a locked door, tried to get in. Pastor Jackman jumped up to try to see who was getting in his church and his citation was simply for showing up at the door to trying to check on who was getting in the church with no mask on. That’s outrageous and it’s time to fight back.”
Roman also noted that the religious freedoms guaranteed in the US Constitution can not be set aside by the whims of elected politicians or over-zealous public health officials.
We had an equally disturbing story in Canada when the RCMP blocked people from driving into the parking lot and attending a drive-in service at the Church of God Restoration’s parking lot in Steinbach, Manitoba.
The church had previously been fined $5,000 for holding an in-person service. So, the church leadership decided to hold a drive-in service that would not spread the virus. Families would simply drive into the church parking lot, stay in their cars with their windows rolled up and listen to the service as it was broadcast over a shortwave FM.
In other words, there was no possible way that COVID could spread unless the latest science states that COVID can now pass through glass and metal?
However, the RCMP not only blocked members of the congregation from driving into the parking lot, but the church was fined another $5,000 for trying to hold a drive-in service.
So the church was now doing the right thing, and the government still punished it and in my opinion at this point Manitoba crossed the line into tyranny.
In an interview with the Winnipeg Sun, the church’s pastor Heinrich Hildebrant said:
“At this time, we plan to continue with the safe drive-in services. As long as the parking lots at Walmart and Costco are open, there should be no issue at our houses of worship. We will be reviewing the fines with our legal team, but we strongly condemn the Premier’s totalitarian actions against faith communities in Manitoba.”
As some have pointed out, the Manitoba government allows drive-throughs at coffee shops in that province where people stay in their cars while purchasing coffee and donuts, but forbids drive-in church services.
In an interview with the Winnipeg Sun, Allison Kindle Pejovic, a lawyer with the Justice Centre, a Canadian-based civil liberties’ advocacy group representing the Church of God, said:
“It is beyond comprehension why drive-in services at church parking lots where people do not exit their vehicles are banned, while people are permitted to drive into the big-box store parking lots, get out of their vehicles, and sometimes stand in long line-ups to get into the stores. Unless the Province can show that Covid-19 can travel through closed car windows and into other peoples’ vehicles at church parking lots but not big box store parking lots, the restriction is discriminatory and not justifiable.”
Two other Manitoba churches have also received $5,000 fines for holding drive-in church services in their parking lot including Winnipeg’s Springs Church and Mountainside Christian Fellowship in Neepawa.
READ: Maryland pastor who is also a physician issued citation for not wearing mask in empty church AND ALDRICH: Province needs common sense in health orders AND Steinbach-area church unrepentant despite being fined for drive-in service