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A Prayer Request
One of the most frustrating elements of being awake to the atrocities of the past three years has been the willful blindness of so many to look the other way while many lost their lives due to incompetence and corruption. To blatantly disregard the harm some experienced because you yourself didn’t sustain injury is a level of selfishness that I never expected to see so widespread across humanity. I have been trying for two years to peel the scales from some that I love in an effort to reveal the ‘BIGGER PICTURE’. To see the agenda that COVID was a tool in the chest of governments to encroach on our freedoms, subvert our civil liberties and dismantle the faithful. Why were Christians silent? Why were they happy to sit back and accept being kept from worship? Why were they lining up for an unproven therapy created by the most corrupt industry in the world?
This may help to answer. Well worth the two minutes:
When churches fall silent, the only religion left is the state.
My pastor shared this trailer with me and the timing was perfect to segue into a horrific story of government overreach that I have been meaning to bring to your attention. I recently listened to a podcast with Drs. Prasad, Hoeg and Mandrola as they discussed research recently published about the apparent lack of benefit of exercise on cardiovascular health. The three physicians tear apart the Belgium study for its poor evaluation scheme and the inherent challenges to any research assessing how much exercise is enough vs too much. The podcast had a second discussion regarding the errors of the government driven COVID agenda. A good podcast overall, definitely worth the time to listen!
What struck me during the podcast, was a story about a church in California that has been under local government scrutiny for almost three years and has accumulated more than $2.7 million dollars in fines. I consider myself both an avid reader and a devoted Christian and I had not heard of the Calvary Chapel in Silicon Valley. Drs. Prasad, Hoeg and Mandrola all shared that they were not devote followers of any faith but they expressed disgust that our government was infringing on the the rights of Christians to worship during the COVID scandal, defying our First Amendment Rights. Why aren’t other churches and Christians talking about this? Do we not know how close we are to losing this freedom we take for granted?
As I was finishing the podcast, this story winds up in my inbox, yet another secular article voicing concern and outrage about the Calvary Chapel:
Calvary Chapel is situated in the heart of Silicon Valley, which is located in Santa Clara County. On March 16, 2020, the county became the first in the U.S. to declare a shelter in place order—commanding all citizens to remain at home except when engaging in “essential” activities, such as buying groceries or going to medical appointments. (Universal indoor masking regardless of vaccination status was required in California until March 2022—one of the strictest policies in the country.)
At first, Calvary abided by the lockdown rules. But two months later, on Sunday, May 24, Pastor Mike McClure—known to his flock as Pastor Mike—gave a sermon outside his church.
“God doesn’t want us to isolate ourselves,” he declared. “All of us need to be in the sanctuary. I don’t care what they say, I’m never again going to close the doors, ever.” Church services were held the following Sunday—and every Sunday after—in open defiance of the law.
The author of this piece goes on to tell of a neighbor church and the permission it gave local officials to use their church parking lot to ‘spy on Calvary Chapel’.
“The Bible says we are made in the image of God, and that means fellowship,” McClure told me. “If you look at Acts 2:42, the early church continued steadfastly. Fellowship is what we are made for—to carry each other’s burdens, to break bread, and to pray together.”
But Santa Clara officials were not looking to Acts. They were looking at the county’s order to shelter in place. And to them, each service, each youth gathering, each baptism held at Calvary represented a violation of the law……
From then on, officials observed the church, reported on violations, and hit it with fines. Each day a violation was not corrected, the county doubled the fine for that violation, up to a maximum of $5,000 per day.
To date, the fines have piled up to a staggering $2.8 million.
It wasn’t just the fines. It was also—perhaps more so—the tactics the county used.
First, in August 2020, another church next door gave the state permission to let enforcement officers spy on Calvary’s faithful through a chain-link fence on its property, according to a recent article by science journalist David Zweig.
Through that fence, for at least three months, agents surveilled the church. They then docked the church for everything from parking lot attendants’ failures to wear face masks outdoors to churchgoers’ refusal to socially distance—by hugging. Officials also counted cars in Calvary’s parking lot each day to estimate how many members were inside.
Silicon Valley officials also used cell phone data to quantify the number of people attending worship when limits on capacity had been mandated.
According to Zweig’s piece, Santa Clara County hired the company SafeGraph, which “aggregates information from 47 million mobile devices across the United States,” to set up a virtual perimeter around Calvary Chapel’s property, allowing GPS to track exactly where churchgoers were congregating. Daniel Ho, a Stanford law professor and expert in public health data analysis, was allegedly hired for $800 an hour to analyze the results of the SafeGraph data, Zweig reports. (Officials who monitored the church were paid $219 per hour.)
SafeGraph’s data is supposed to be anonymized, but human rights attorney and information law specialist Irina Tsukerman said that using digital surveillance could mean a potentially serious violation of civil liberties.
The article finishes by sharing that the county is suing the church for violating the COVID health mandates and the church suing the county for violating their First Amendment rights and the excessive fines clause of the Eighth Amendment. A trial is set for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Division, sometime in late May.
The highlight of the county’s cancellation of the church is a new term that I learned recently, cancel culture launch. Essentially when someone of strong values and purpose is canceled by the woke mob, the net effect is a growth of his/her voice because attention is drawn by whatever he/she did to offend the snowflakes. A good example of this is Jordan Peterson. For Calvary Church it has meant an exponential growth of 1000 person membership to now more than 3000 faithful members.
Please pray for this church and their court appearance in May. The results of this will have impact of government control and our freedoms to worship both now and for generations to come.