California’s efforts to suppress religious freedom will fail – #4 in a series.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Circumstances are now to the point in the state of California, and three counties in particular, where we can say that the government is now persecuting the Church. This presents itself as counties going after three specific congregations, but when you look at the details you see a broader pattern in play.

These efforts will fail.

Three previous posts discuss this issue.

A few updates to previous posts before getting to the main discussion.

The County of Los Angeles has unilaterally canceled the lease on land which provides something in the range of 40% or 50% of parking capacity for Grace Community Church. Oh, the lease has been in place for 45 years.

North Valley Baptist Church is now facing $52,000 in fines for the heinous offense of worshiping indoors. Keep in mind this is the church which was visited by spies from the county. It certainly appears that Santa Clara is acting like the Stasi back in about old days of East Germany. The pastor declared “We Are Not Closing down This Church” – California Pastor Warns Officials.

Also, additional Churches Defy California Guv’s Restrictions on Multiple Worship Gatherings including:

  • Harvest Rock Church, Pasadena
  • River of Life Church, Oroville
  • Destiny Christian Church, Rockland
  • South Bay United Pentecostal, Chula Vista

The article also provides the biblical explanation for standing up to unbiblical government rules.

These efforts will ultimately fail.

There may be short-term successes for the government.

There may be intermediate-term successes.

These efforts will fail.

Standing up for constitutional rights in court.

Los Angeles County doesn’t realize they have taken on a church that will not back down. I will make an easy guess that Grace Community Church will put whatever effort in time and dollars that it takes to stand up in court even if it involves going to state appeal court, then federal appeal, then US Supreme Court.

Read the full post »

Devastation from government ordered shutdown of the economy – 3 of 3

What the California economy might look like by the time it is allowed to reopen. Photo of abandoned farm in North Dakota by James Ulvog.

This is the third in a series of posts describing the damage caused by shutting down the economy. First post discussed recent news on economic damage. Second post described ongoing health damage.

Some things are *not* going wrong

Just under half a million people attended the motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota from August 7 through 16.

9/1/20 – PJ Media – OH THE HORROR! Sturgis Motorcycle Rally COVID-19 Numbers Are in and They Are Shocking

Half a million. Official tally is 462,000.

In one small town.

Check out any of the pictures from the rally and you will notice a distinct lack of masks and social distancing.

Expectations in most media sources were for this event to produce massive amounts of infection.

Half a million people. In one town.

The tracking results are in from the massive numbers of people who were infected and the resulting fatalities from this massive event.

It is shocking. Amazing. Head-shaking. Astounding.

Best info available is that:

  • 196 people tested positive for COVID with results linked to attending Sturgis.
  • 4 people died.

To put that in context, 5 people died of motorcycle accidents in Sturgis during the rally.

Growing awareness something is wrong with lockdowns

8/24/20 – Wall Street Journal – New Thinking on COVID Lockdowns: They are Overly Blunt and Costly – Article has a massive amount of information on the course of the pandemic, wide range of strategies by national and state governments, and large volume of statistics. The story is told basically scrambled egg style with no pattern or trends or storylines that I can easily summarize.

Read the full post »

Devastation from government ordered shutdown of the economy – 2 of 3

What the California economy might look like by the time it is allowed to reopen. Photo of abandoned farm in North Dakota by James Ulvog.

This is the second in a series of posts describing the damage caused by shutting down the economy. See previous post for economic damage.

Damage to health across a society

8/18/20 – British Office for National Statistics – Coronavirus and depression in adults, Great Britain: June 2020

Study by the British organization compared data from July 2019 to June 2020.

They found 19.2% of adults were experiencing depression in June 2020 compared to 9.7% in July 2019. That is a doubling as a result of the pandemic.

Severity of the rise can be seen by 6.2% of the population that had ongoing depression, 12.9% developed moderate to severe depression during the pandemic, and 3.5% some improvement during that time.

Is there any doubt that the overwhelming portion of that increase is due to the isolation and economic damage caused by the government ordered shutdowns?

An interesting exercise is to put that data into table as follows:

Read the full post »

Devastation from government ordered shutdown of the economy – 1 of 3

What the California economy might look like by the time it is allowed to reopen. Photo of abandoned farm in North Dakota by James Ulvog.

Over the last several weeks I have accumulated a number of articles describing the economic and health damage caused by the government ordered shutdown of the economy.

I’ve been wanting to post these for a while. In light of the California government imposing more severe constraints on when the economy will be allowed to start functioning again, it is now time to publish.

Economic damage

7/30/20 – Wall Street Journal – US Economy Contracted at Record Rate last Quarter; Jobless Claims Rise to 1.43 million – The preliminary estimate of the collapse in the US economy for the second quarter came in at an annualized 32.9% drop. Again, that is annualized. In addition, it will be revised in each of the next two months as additional data is gathered by the feds.

That follows an annualized drop of 5% in the first quarter.

8/25/20 – CNBC – American Airlines to cut 19,000 jobs when federal aid expires in OctoberRead the full post »

California’s suppression of religious freedom, retaliation update – #3 in a series

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

I was going to extend this two-part series to three, adding on an upbeat explanation that when counties go after the Church the government is destined to fail. Reference to Church with an upper case C refers to the worldwide church, the universal, invisible body of Christ instead of meaning one particular local congregation.

Planned for the next post to give a small illustration expanding out to wider examples in history and then going back to New Testament illustrations.

Then a news report yesterday about petty retaliation from Los Angeles County interrupted, showing I need a different post as the next discussion.

 

So, for your daily dose of shake-my-head amazement, consider…

8/31/20 – Disrn – LA County evicts John MacArthur’s Grace Church from parking lot lease held since 1975 – By now a few other news sources are covering the story, but as of this morning I did not find any major news organization that considered it important enough to have an article.

First, some background.

Read the full post »

California’s suppression of religious freedom getting more serious – 2 of 2. Oops – make that 2 of 3.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Update: Decided to make this a 3 part series. Next post – the effort to suppress religious freedom will not succeed.

Efforts to restrict the first amendment right of free expression of religion are growing in strength here in California. At least three counties are participating in the effort.

Pastor John MacArthur and Grace Community Church are standing in the gap, but other churches are also receiving pressure including planted spies, as discussed below. This is second article in this specific series.

Previous post gave recap of enforcement efforts against Grace Community Church. At end of this post there is a great comment from the GCC elders why the state dictacts are a direct restriction of religious expression

8/24/20 – PJ Media – California’s All-Out War on Church Worship Intensifies With Bans, Fines, and Sending In Spies – Three churches in California standing up to the oppressive restrictions on religious activities are receiving increased pressure from the state and county.

Some background:

  • Worship in a sanctuary is banned.
  • Singing or chanting of any sort is prohibited in worship, even when the worship is conducted in a private home.

Ventura County

Read the full post »

California’s suppression of religious freedom getting more serious – 1 of 2

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The efforts by the state of California and at least three counties in the state to restrict the first amendment right of free expression of religion are growing in strength.

Pastor John MacArthur and Grace Community Church are standing in the gap, but other churches are also receiving pressure, including planted spies. This is first article in this specific series.

Next post will give a concise explanation why prohibiting indoor worship, limiting worship size, and banning singing are direct restrictions on religious freedom.

In my humble opinion, the county does not yet know that in picking on GCC, they have targeted a church that will not back down when they have made up their mind. I predict there is a small but measurable chance this case could wind up in the U.S. Supreme Court.

8/20/20 – The Roys Reports – Julie Roys – Judge Rejects Request o Hold John MacArthur & Grace Community Church in Contempt – In the LA County Superior Court (that would be the initial trial court for proceedings) a judge refused to issue a contempt order for Pr. MacArthur and GCC. Also refused to impose $20,000 of fines.

Article gives recap of the legal efforts targeting GCC:

Read the full post »

California shut down again.

Economic performance, health outcomes, and educational achievements in California after a second round of shutdown. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

We are a week into our second shutdown here in California.

Restaurants may only provide food to-go or for outdoor dining. The outdoor dining option only helps restaurants stay in business if they have enough outdoor patio space to have enough tables to seat enough customers to stay in business and then only if the temperature (during July and August!) is tolerable.

Churches are prohibited from having worship services inside. Churches who are rich enough to have lots of outdoor space to sit and well off enough to afford two sets of audio equipment can worship live. The first amendment has been partially suspended again.

Gyms, salons, and bars are closed.

On 7/14/20, the Wall Street Journal also explained the issue in a short editorial: California’s Second Shutdown.

The core issue:

A lockdown will cause more harm (economically, socially, physically, psychologically, educationally, and emotionally) than the pandemic will cause.

Read the full post »

New claims for unemployment at 7/11/20 continue at high level. Good news is new jobs continue to be higher than lost jobs.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

I’ve been scratching my head for a long time wondering how the tally of new unemployment claims can continue at skyhigh catastrophe levels while the unemployment rate has not gone vastly higher than it already has.

Head scratching from another direction – Number of new claims is steady at a level that is at least six times higher than it was right before the pandemic started yet the number of people drawing unemployment is declining.

How can that be?

 

Think I have finally sorted out the answer after several weeks of looking at additional data:

  • The number of new jobs created each week is running far higher than the number of lost jobs.

To get to this point for yourself, compare the number of people drawing unemployment with the change from week to week, add in the number of new unemployment claims, and then plug the difference as people who have gone back to work meaning they have found a job. It is too early for people to dropping off unemployment because their allowed weeks gas run out so the change in people drawing unemployment has to be new jobs. Let me know if I missed something in this concept.

Here is my analysis of the number of people drawing unemployment, the number of new claims, and the resulting number of new jobs:

week new back to # drawing
ended claims work unempl.
6/13/2020   1.54    20.29
6/20/2020   1.48  2.54    19.23
6/27/2020   1.41  1.88    18.76
7/4/2020   1.31  2.31    17.76
7/11/2020   1.30  1.72    17.34

 

Data source

Weekly press release from the Department of labor: Unemployment insurance weekly claims

Number of people drawing unemployment

Here is the weekly tally of people drawing unemployment, which is revised in the subsequent week:

Read the full post »

After restoring some portion of religious freedom, California again revokes large portion of First Amendment.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

On Monday, May 25th, California allowed churches to resume meeting in person, as long as they restricted participation to 25% of seating capacity and had no more than 100 people in attendance.

That 100 limit was in substance a ban on worship for large churches, which often have facilities that can hold 500 or 2,000 worshipers or even more.

But at least religious freedom was partially reinstated after a strict ban on in-person worship. Many counties consented to outdoor worship after actual or threatened litigation reminded them to read the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

On Thursday, July 2, the state dialed back the amount of allowable religious freedom by banning singing and chanting during worship services. I am not familiar with Jewish and Muslim worship practices. For Christians singing or chanting or both (depending on the specific tradition) is a major component of worship. It allows Christians to give praise and glory to God at the same time as being encouraged and uplifted by the concepts embedded in the songs.

On Tuesday, July 14, the state again prohibited in-person worship services held inside.

Read the full post »

Settled matters outlined in the Declaration of Independence.

John Trumbull: The Declaration of Independence painted by John Trumbull. Photograph by Thomas Cizauskas is in the public domain (Public Domain Mark 1.0)

 

Several statements in the opening of the Declaration of Independence are settled matters. The issues are resolved. They are final.

If those key issues are not final but are instead malleable or alterable or subject to revocation the consequences will be horrible.

A speech by Pres. Calvin Coolidge explained this idea back in the 1920s. Let’s expand the concept of those ideas being resolved issues.

Please consider President Calvin Coolidge’s Speech on the 150th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence on July 5, 1926.

He lists the three resolved issues:

“Three very definite propositions were set out in its (the Declaration of Independence) preamble regarding the nature of mankind and therefore of government. These were the doctrine that

all men are created equal,

that they are endowed with certain inalienable rights, and that

 therefore the source of the just powers of government must be derived from the consent of the governed.” (emphasis added)

He explained these issues are settled, resolved, final.

We can expand on those ideas. We need to bring them into further fruition. We can dive deeper into their meaning.

Setting them aside or replacing them means we go backwards. Declaring they are no longer true is regression to the ancient past.

More eloquently than I could ever describe, the president said:

“About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.”

Expanding those foundational concepts

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Text of the Declaration of Independence:

From the National Archives:

In Congress, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world. Read the full post »

Happy 244th birthday America!

American militia reenactors at Redcoats & Rebels Revolutionary War Reenactment by Lee Wright is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

In the 1770s and 1780s, a ragtag collection of citizen soldiers waged a war of independence against the most powerful empire on the planet…

British Army reenactors at Redcoats & Rebels Revolutionary War Reenactment by Lee Wright is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

…and defeated them.

 

Two hundred forty-four years ago today marked the start of this wonderful, aspirational, fantastic, heaven-blessed, messy, delightful, powerful, flawed, and glorious experiment called the United States of America which has delivered unimaginable levels of freedom to hundreds of millions of people here in the US of A and contributed massively to the freedom of hundreds and hundreds of millions more around the world.

That experiment had multiple severe flaws baked into the design which are taking a long time to correct, yet the aspirational dreams then drove and still drive that wonderful experiment to constant improvement.

Before our independence, anything resembling a democracy had been absent for so many long centuries. Apart from the ruling elite, ordinary people were merely the subjects of their ‘betters.’  Common folk only had the very few rights and freedoms that those born to power consented to give them, like crumbs thrown from the table.  You and I would only have been able to do what those controlling us allowed us to do.

And then came those rabble-rousing founding fathers.

The results of this grand experiment in self-government, not tried before, has produced fabulous results.

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In spite of some preliminary signs of restoration of the First Amendment, there is resistance to the idea.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

California and Minnesota may be taking tiny baby steps to reinstate the First Amendment to the bill of rights, but there are indications here and there of opposition to any such efforts.

This discussion will be posted on several of my blogs.

Excessive focus on the First Amendment is a “suicide pact”

5/23/20 – CNN – Federal appeals court upholds California’s ban on in-person Church services – A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the ban on in-person worship does not violate the First Amendment.

The ruling can be found here.

Astoundingly the ruling stated:

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Religious freedom partially reinstated in California and Minnesota.

The state governments of California and Minnesota have given their permission for people of faith to partially engage in the free exercise of their religious beliefs.

5/25/20 – Daily Bulletin –Newsom: California places of worship can reopen with limited capacity and San Francisco Chronicle – Newsom issues plans for places of worship in California to reopen at limited capacity – Places of worship in the state can begin having in-person worship.

At least that’s what all the headlines say.

Look at the detail for more than 15 seconds and you realize there’s only a fractional restoration of the free exercise clause of the First Amendment, along with the fractional restoration of the right to petition the government for redress of grievances.

Remaining restrictions include:

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