Mat Staver, the founder of Liberty Counsel, told “The Todd Starnes Show” on Tuesday that the widespread state crackdown on church services during an election year ostensibly due to coronavirus fears may be rooted in political calculations.
Staver considered how Democrat governors have spoken out in praise of anti-police protesters in the country who do little to observe social distancing while targeting places of worship that follow state guidelines to the letter.
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He said a lot of these buildings that hold services also hold social services where an unlimited amount of people are able to attend. But once you label it a religious service, that’s where the restrictions come in.
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Todd Starnes, the host of the radio program, theorized, “I think this is about shutting down and marginalizing the churches in advance to the 2020 election.”
Staver’s latest client is Andrew Wommack, the pastor at Colorado’s Wommack Ministries. His ministries announced that it would take legal action over a July 2 cease-and-desist order by the state to cancel its summer Family Bible Conference.
Wommack said the conference has been held annually for the past 20 years or so and estimated that 1,000 people were in attendance on Friday. He said the auditoriums fit 5,000 people and encouraged social distancing and mask-wearing throughout the event in order to prevent spreading the coronavirus.
He said the ministries was in touch with county officials and followed protocols and even took the temperature of attendees before they entered the
“We felt good about it but we got a cease-and-desist order,” Wommack said.
He admitted that the only thing that his ministry did not comply with was the 175 maximum attendance guideline.
“It’s OK if you want to march in the street and burn something down in Denver but how dare you, how dare you Christians go out there and hold a Bible conference,” Starnes said.
Wommack agreed and said, “We just felt like we had a First Amendment, and like you said, Todd, they’re having protests and riots and everything and they don’t enforce anything. We were probably the cleanest place around.”
Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, declared a state of emergency in March and issued more than 100 executive orders, according to the Denver Post. Sen. Bob Rankin, R-Carbondale, told the paper, “I think Gov. Polis and his people are good people, and they’ve worked really hard. But the legislature’s not involved. Everything you read is, ‘the governor decides this’ or ‘the governor decides that,’ and it doesn’t look right to me.”
Staver said state governments have been discriminatory when it comes to church and Bible study services when you compare their reactions to the protesters in the streets. He called the treatment unconstitutional.
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“Gov. Polis has not only allowed the protests—including some members of the Denver Broncos who spoke at the protests—but he encouraged them,” Staver said. Staver read a quote from Polis where the governor referred to the protests and said it is “not possible to stay home.”
“We’re not backing down against this discriminatory treatment that has been attempted by the attorney general and the governor,” Staver said.