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Pastor Rips Up Legal Threat to Shut Down His Church: 'We're Gonna Do it God's Way!'

Baltimore pastor tore up a cease-and-desist letter mid-sermon over lockdown threats

 on 22nd May 2020 @ 1.00am
pastor stacey shiflett tore up a cease and desist letter mid sermon © press
Pastor Stacey Shiflett tore up a cease-and-desist letter mid-sermon

A Baltimore pastor has defied his state's lockdown order by tearing up a cease-and-desist letter in the middle of a sermon.

Pastor Stacey Shiflett received the legal threat - ordering him to shut down his church - after he refused to stop hosting in-person worship.

On Wednesday night, Shiflett tore up the letter mid-sermon after local officials threatened a $5,000 fine earlier in the week for refusing to close his church to worshippers.

Last Friday, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced that houses of worship could reopen at 50 percent capacity.

Hogan cited declining hospitalizations related to the coronavirus pandemic for the relaxing of the shutdown order.

The governor left the timing up to local jurisdictions.

 so i m tearing up this cease and desist order right here  and i m telling you right now  we re gonna do it god s way  © press
'So I'm tearing up this cease-and-desist order right here, and I'm telling you right now, we're gonna do it God's way!'

The state has had more than 41,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and at least 2,081 deaths, according to Fox News.

Shiflett, the pastor of the 400-member Calvary Baptist Church in Dundalk, held a Wednesday night service.

With more than 100 congregants in the 600-capacity sanctuary, Calvary was in compliance with Hogan's order but in defiance of the Baltimore County Department of Health and Human Services' order.

"Either we have liberty to worship or we have permission to worship," Shiflett told Fox News about his decision.

"It has become abundantly clear that if we settle for permission, we will never have liberty again."

The Baptist pastor posted a video of the shredding on Twitter, in which he can be heard preaching:

"With this cease-and-desist letter in my hand, the Bible says to the New Testament church 'not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together as the manner of some is, but so much more as you see the day approaching,' and the closer we get to Jesus coming back, the more church we ought to be having, not less church."

"Now that's God's parameters," he added.

"So I'm tearing up this cease-and-desist order right here, and I'm telling you right now, we're gonna do it God's way!

"God tells us how to worship Him, nobody else gets to do that."

Shiflett said a number of other churches in the state plan on reopening this Sunday during Memorial Day weekend and he is attending a ReOpen Maryland freedom rally Friday to offer a prayer after he was invited by organizers.

"We're challenging our local officials to render the church essential so we can get our doors back open," he said as the Baltimore County executive reportedly reopened small businesses and other establishments Thursday.

David Gibbs III of the National Center for Life and Liberty and legal counsel for Calvary Baptist told the local CBS station“If Walmart's open, it’s time for the churches to be open.”

The pastor doesn't plan on budging: "I don't plan on shutting the church.

"If they fine us, I'm not paying it. It's unconstitutional.

"They don't have a leg to stand on."

pastor stacey shiflett described the legal threat as  unconstitutional © press
Pastor Stacey Shiflett described the legal threat as 'unconstitutional'

Baltimore Mayor Jack Young extended the stay-at-home orders limiting public gatherings, including "spiritual" and "religious," to no more than 10 people.

"We got a mayor saying we can only worship in our parking lots, which is ridiculous," Rev. Alvin Gwynn, pastor of Friendship Baptist in Baltimore City, told WJZ-TV.

The pastor said the police car parked outside his church is being used to intimidate him and the Friendship Baptist churchgoers.

"The city has no legal standing," Gwynn told WBAL.

"What are they going to do? Have officers come, and take body cameras and record you, and then go back and talk to their attorneys to see what they can do with them or not?

"That's nothing but intimidation," he declared.

The Department of Justice warned California Gov. Gavin Newsom Tuesday that his order could discriminate against churches.

“Simply put, there is no pandemic exception to the U.S. Constitution and its Bill of Rights,” wrote Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband.

The battle to reopen houses of worship is being waged across states between state and local officials.

[RELATED] California City Declares Itself a 'Sanctuary' from Gov. Newsom's Lockdown Order

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tags: lockdown | God

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