On Todd Starnes’ radio show Wednesday, Mat Staver, founder and chairman of religious-right legal group Liberty Counsel, compared the plight of Christians in America facing enforcement of social distancing restrictions to the kinds of treatment faced by Jews in Nazi Germany.
Liberty Counsel is making the most of the COVID-19 pandemic to portray itself as a defender of embattled religious liberty and push the group’s narrative that Christians in America are facing unprecedented persecution—a narrative that also happens to be one of President Donald Trump’s main tactics for motivating and turning out conservative evangelical voters for his reelection campaign.
Starnes is himself one of the primary promoters of Christian persecution stories, and he and Staver talked about cases in which local officials have taken action against pastors and churchgoers for violating public health restrictions on group gatherings. Liberty Counsel is representing Tampa, Florida-based evangelist Rodney Howard-Browne, who was arrested for defying a local stay-at-home order, and others who have run into that kind of trouble.
Staver told Starnes about people who lost their jobs or were told they were unwelcome in a drug store when people realized they attended churches that had drawn media attention for continuing to gather. “It is unbelievable the harassment, the targeting of these churches all over the country,” Staver said. And he said a Virginia pastor Liberty Counsel is representing faces a year in prison for having “six people over the governor’s magic number of 10 in a 293-seat sanctuary.”
“I’ve never seen anything like this ever before, anything come close to this,” Staver said. “This is the most outrageous and, frankly, unbelievable situation I’ve ever seen with regards to the absolute disregard of the Constitution.”
And Staver made what certainly seems to be a comparison to Nazi Germany’s treatment of Jews, though he did not use those exact words:
So, it is absolutely—I mean, it’s a targeting. It is, you know, I don’t want to be too melodramatic, but I’m telling you what. You know, this happened before in history. We’ve seen people being targeted, that you are being targeted with a particular symbol that you have to wear. And then so you get targeted with your business, you get terminated from your job, and eventually you get ghettoized. And what we’re seeing here is the absolute targeting of Christians in churches to a level I’ve never even imagined would happen in America.
On Monday, Liberty Counsel launched its “ReOpen Church” campaign, “calling on the churches to open and believers to start meeting again on Sunday, May 3.” It is clear that in some parts of the country, restrictions on public gatherings will still be in place on May 3, suggesting that Liberty Counsel may be hoping to provoke additional incidents that they can portray as anti-Christian persecution.
Staver told Starnes:
Look, they said that we had to close for two weeks. Most people were fine with that. The two weeks went to four weeks, then the four weeks went to six weeks, and it continues to go on. So, then they said [gatherings should be limited to] 250, then 100, 50, 10—in New Mexico, it’s five people. And it goes on and on and on. When are we going to say enough is enough? Look, nobody wants to put their people in jeopardy. I don’t know of any pastor that wants to harm anyone. But we can take reasonable efforts. If the liquor stores can be open and all the other things that are open out there, the commercial operations that are open. Churches have a constitutional right to exist; those others do not. They don’t have the right to exist. But the First Amendment guarantee the church’s right to exist. The Greek word for church is ekklesia; where we get the word synagogue is from a Greek word synagoge. They both mean ‘assembly,’ places of assembly. So, let’s begin that process. Because the churches are more essential now than ever.
The website promoting Liberty Counsel’s “ReOpen Church Sunday” encourages churches to “include appropriate measures of sanitization and appropriate social distancing between families” and consider a range of options, including seating outside the building and online access for higher risk individuals.
This article was originally published at Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission.
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Texas Man Sets House on Fire After Concluding the Family Living There Didn’t Follow the Bible
Philip Daniel Mills is behind bars Sunday after setting a house on fire for Jesus, reported KTSM News.
Like the story of Cain and Abel, the 40-year-old man set fire to an El Paso home on the West Side, killing his own brother.
“An affidavit written by an EPPD detective says Mills allegedly admitted to setting the house on fire. And, in a recorded statement, claimed to have used gasoline from a weed eater to fuel the fire,” said the report.
The gas was poured on a sofa in the living room and a cloth that was on fire was then put on the gas-soaked couch, police reports explain.
“Once the sofa caught on fire, he walked outside the house and waited to see if his mother or brother would go outside, but they didn’t,” the affidavit reads. “The defendant advised that he waited outside the residence with large rocks in his hands in the event that both his brother and mother had made it out the burning residence.”
A neighbor told reporters that Mills was “troublesome.”
“He was bad news. All he would do was sit out there and drink and smoke, and I noticed he was back to his old routine,” the neighbor, Roger Torres, told KTSM.
“The affidavit claims Mills caused the fire because he was upset with his brother and mother because they did not follow the Bible,” said the report. “The document states Mills intentionally broke a television in the living room, and threatened to burn the house down.”
“He intentionally broke the television located in the living room because he needed to ‘purge the home from ‘evil,” Mills allegedly told police. “The defendant state that he left the residence and allowed his mother to be in a ‘happy place’ throughout the day and waited for both his mother and brother to go to bed, before starting the fire.”
His mother, 82, is still alive but in the hospital in Lubbock with burns.
The neighbor expressed his own guilt for not calling the police on Mills before the fire. He said maybe they could have done something that would have stopped this fire from happening.
Mills was told by police that his brother died and his mother was injured.
“The defendant then laughed and advised the investigators that he was shocked that both his mother and brother did not perish and called it a ‘failed attempt,'” the documents showed.
Read the full report at KTSM.com. See the video report below:
‘We Have the 2nd Amendment’: Wisconsin GOP Candidate for Governor Says ‘Good Christians Patriots’ Must ‘Take Over’
Jonathan Wichmann, a small business owner who is seeking the Republican nomination for governor in Wisconsin, spoke at a “Faith and Freedom Rally” in the state last month, where he explained that he decided to run for office because “we need good Christian patriots to take over.”
“I’m not a politician. I’m a patriot. I want to make that very clear,” Wichmann said. “I got in the fight last year because I saw [something] really evil coming across this land, especially in Wisconsin—the lockdowns. I’ve been following politics for 13 years. I volunteered for Ron Paul’s campaign when he ran, for his presidential bid, and what I noticed is that everything kept deteriorating. No matter if we had a Democrat or Republican in office, it didn’t seem to quite matter up until Donald Trump. Thank God for President Trump, who is still the president, by the way. We all know that.”
“Looking at the political scene, I knew we were in trouble,” he continued. “There are no truth tellers anymore in this country at the political level. We need to change that. We need good Christian patriots to take over and run for office, and that’s what I intend to do.”
Following his remarks, Wichmann took a question from the audience regarding a bill passed by the Republican controlled state legislature that would ban businesses or government entities in the state from requiring people to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccinations. Wichmann said he supported the bill and urged the audience to refuse to comply with any law that they believe violates their conscience, declaring that “if they try to press their luck, we have the Second Amendment.”
“If something goes against your conscience; if you know because God told you—we’re all created by God in his image, and God gave us certain rights that no man can trample on—if you know in your heart that something is wrong, that [what] someone is telling you to do is wrong, do not comply,” Wichmann said, “It doesn’t matter if there’s a law on the table or not. Do not go along with that. That’s your responsibility. If everyone does that, it all ends today. And if they try to press their luck, we have the Second Amendment.”
This article was originally published by Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission.
Trump-Loving Televangelist Concocts Crazed Claim That ‘Evolutionists’ Have to Be Against Same-Sex Marriage
Right-wing pastor Jack Hibbs told congregants at his Calvary Chapel church in California last Sunday that anyone who believes in evolution must oppose marriage equality and that homosexuality “proves the existence of God.”
“When two people of the same sex get together, it’s out of sheer wanton lust and pleasure only for self,” Hibbs said during his sermon. “Nothing comes of it. No life can come from it. No family can come from it.”
“If you’re an evolutionist, you have to be against same-sex unions,” he continued. “If you’re an evolutionist, what is one of the statements? It’s the survival of the fittest, right? And in evolutionary theory, the survival of the fittest has to procreate. … But if evolution is true, then there would be no such thing as homosexuality, because over the last 400 trillion, billion, zillion, quadbillion, zillion, nillion, years, evolution would have washed that out. Homosexuality—LGBTQ actions—prove the existence of God, because God’s word says this would be some of the outcome and actions of the Last Days.”
This article was originally published by Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission.
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