In Exodus 5:1, God begins the process of delivering the children of Israel from the shackles of bondage in Egypt, by sending Moses and Aaron to deliver a message to its national leader, Pharaoh. The message from God was simple, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘Let My people go, that they may hold a feast to Me in the wilderness.” This was the first of many such messages God directed Moses and Aaron to deliver to Pharaoh, which he systematically rejected their request, which lead to a hardened heart and his own demise.
Today, I’m pleased to tell you God is raising up an army of spiritual leaders to speak to our Washington State Governor Jay Inslee. Like Moses and Aaron, their message is also simple, “Let us open our churches so our people can freely worship the Lord, our God.” I wish, I could tell you our Governor is listening, but he is not.
Here’s what’s going on; recently, two months into the COVID-19 crisis, Governor Jay Inslee released specific rules that only allows religious organizations to conduct drive-in services. Despite NO recorded deaths in 14 of Washington’s 39 counties and despite single digit deaths in another 14 counties since the beginning of the epidemic, Governor Inslee still considers the 1st Amendment irrelevant and churches and religious services are still labeled non-essential and remain closed down.
We were first told, that we only had to flatten the curve before things became normal again. Now, despite Department of Health data showing hospitalization for COVID-19-like symptoms is at or near zero, we are being told we have to wait for a cure before we can freely exercise our constitutional and religious right to worship again.
Meanwhile, a virtual laundry list of Governor Inslee’s favored or politically connected businesses and organizations, like big box stores, pot shops, abortion clinics, manufacturing plants, and government operations are allowed to open in a prudent and safe manner. Today, there is no expectation or plan that Governor Inslee will allow churches or religious services to open any time this year. One routinely sees this sort of religious suppression occurring in Communist China; now, we see it happening here in Washington State.
Governor Inslee, in order to justify his “plans” and make it seem “scientific,” has introduced a COVID-19 Dashboard that is literally, and deliberately incoherent about what metrics and standards he uses to objectively determine when organizations or counties are allowed to open or wavier from the lockdown. He talks about phases and data, but one is unable to figure out WHAT specific data point he will use to decide who opens when. This is not science and safety, but ideology, favoritism, and tyranny.
His own dataset for deaths by week shows that outside of King County (20 deaths), the number of deaths in the rest of the state for the week beginning 26 April was only 21. That’s right, in 97% of our state covering almost 5 million people, just three additional people a day died by this virus and this is justification to continually and unilaterally disregard the First Amendment in order to crush businesses, lay off more than a million workers statewide, and prohibit almost all normal religious worship.
Governor Inslee’s illegitimate and immoral effort to shut down our state economically and engage in the worse examples of government sponsored religious suppression we have seen in our state’s history.
It is no secret that the pagans and the radical elites who control Governor Inslee and our state, are deliberately working to destroy or indoctrinate Christian churches, schools, and businesses in Washington and all across the planet. Their calls for completely remaking our society and “not letting this crisis go waste” are painfully loud and clear. Governor Inslee’s discriminatory edicts against people of faith is just a continuation of the anti-Christian attacks that regularly occur in our state. Like Pharaoh, Governor Inslee has become desensitized to our concerns and is turning a deaf ear to our reasoned and just requests.
Now, the good news. GOD is still on the throne! While the Governor seems bent on exploiting this crisis for his political agenda, God is faithfully “working all things work together for good, for those who love Him and are called according to his purpose.” A spiritual awakening is occurring!
Pastors and religious leaders are understandably wakening up to this threat to freedom, to their faith, and to their flock by our Governor. These Pastors care about the health and safety of their flock, especially during a crisis. But at what point does this move from a prudent protection by a political leader addressing a real public health crisis to a dictatorial decision to shut down essential religious services and Constitutional rights when the evidence points to minimal or no harm?
Subsequently, God is instilling courage in pastors and believers all over the state who are boldly considering acts of Christian civil disobedience, similar to what our nation’s Founders demonstrated 244 years ago on July 4, 1776, when they wrote the Declaration of Independence from the tyranny of England. In more recent history, we have the Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience. Today, we have every reason to hope in God’s continued goodness and plan, as He is calling godly leaders to act in defense of the freedoms and liberties entrusted to us, as they talk about filing lawsuits and of opening churches in a prudent and safe manner similar to what is being done in other states, such as, Oregon, Kentucky and California.
Churches and the faithful must do the same here in Washington. Today, the Family Policy Institute of Washington is working with various pastors and other policy, political and legal organizations to confront our Governor and his unconstitutional acts of religious tyranny masquerading as safety.
“Give unto Caesar, what is Caesar’s, but give unto God what is God.” The time has come for Christians of all denominations to prayerfully join together, oppose Governor Inslee’s overreach, and open up our churches to public worship in a reasonable manner. This was how Moses and Aaron, our Nation’s Founders, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., among many others, responded to injustice. This is how we will achieve justice here in Washington State and America.
Over 2000 years ago, the first great awakening occurred on Pentecost, and believers of Jesus Christ changed the world. It is time to defer to God and His word by “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together.” On May 31, 3,000 California Churches are planning to open on Pentecost Sunday, in defiance of Governor Newson’s lockdown orders and the unjust court ruling. It is time for our locked-down Washington Churches to do the same, to reopen their doors for public worship, as our U.S. and State Constitutions allow, and change the world through our witness and discipleship of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” Psalms 133:1
If you are a pastor or know a pastor interested in uniting with other courageous church leaders in taking action to defend our religious liberties in Washington State, please contact me at [email protected].