California Church Begs For Relief After Being Fined Almost $60k: ‘It Must Stop’
Baptist church who defied lockdown measures facing ruin
A Baptist church in California is pushing back against coronavirus lockdown restrictions after fines against them have reached almost $60,000.
Two weeks ago, North Valley Baptist Church in Santa Clara came under the spotlight after senior pastor Jack Trieber released a viral video pleading with Santa Clara County to “back off.”
The video, which had racked up millions of views, revealed how the church was fined $5,000 for holding a morning service, then a further $5,000 for an evening service that involved singing.
Santa Clara County public health officials described singing in the church as “unlawful activity," after officers entered the chruch.
The church's group worship was an offense that they must “immediately cease," according to a four-page notice placed on the church door.
Officials also warned that “failure to do so will result in enforcement action by the county.”
But North Valley Baptist Church has since seen fines pile up to the point where they are being fined $5,000 per day regardless of their activities.
Trieber said in a recent video:
“The government’s done it again. They have ratcheted this thing up. They just posted more signs on our building.”
“Government: it must stop. It cannot continue this way,” Trieber continued.
The pastor appealed to the Bill of Rights, arguing the county government is overstepping its legal boundaries.
North Valley Baptist Church’s associate pastor Justin Cooper described the situation:
“So, as you know, it’s been six months going on,” Cooper said.
“After 14 weeks, we decided to come back into our building.” Cooper went on to explain how the county has continued to hound them to the point that there’s “over 13 or 14 different pieces of paper taped to the entrances to the facilities that the county continues to post.”
Cooper said that Santa Clara County had started charging his church “$5,000 per day — not days that we meet, but just days that we exist.”
The county’s excuse for the fines, according to Copper, is that the church has allegedly not submitted a COVID-19 protocol.
Cooper added their congregation is resilient despite pressure from the county:
“The amazing thing about it is the spirit of our church and services has actually improved,” he said.
But Cooper added a positive note:
“It seems like the spirit of our services have gone up.”
“It’s really strengthened us as a church, I believe, and we’re very unified right now in this decision to go forward.”
He added the chruch is fighting because of discrimination against houses of worship would soon become nationwide.
“We believe that what happens here will swing across the country,” he said.
“So that’s why we’re still willing to take our stand here. I believe it’s a religious liberty battle and the future of our country, as far as we know it — as far as church is concerned — is definitely at stake.”
In July, Neon Nettle reported that two other churches, the Grace Community Church in a Los Angeles suburb, and Calvary Church Chino Hills defied orders to keep their doors closed.
Pastor John MacArthur responded to the Governors orders by posting a letter titled, “Christ, Not Caesar, Is Head of the Church.”
MacArthur laid out his “biblical case for the church’s duty to remain open.”