Churchgoers in Moscow, Idaho got a big legal win after being arrested for not wearing masks during an outdoor church service during the COVID-19 pandemic
The liberal college town is paying $300,000 to three Christians — Gabriel Rench, Sean Bohnet, and Rachel Bohnet — who sued city leaders in March 2021 for violating their First and Fourth Amendment rights.
Moscow said its liability insurance provider, Idaho Counties Risk Management Program (ICRMP), “determined that a financial settlement in the case was the best course of action to dispose of the suit and avoid a protracted litigation proceeding.”
“Under the terms of the settlement agreement, ICRMP will pay a total settlement amount of $300,000 and all claims against the City and the named City employees will be dismissed with prejudice along with a release of all liability,” the release said, adding that the settlement “provides closure of a matter related to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic and the City’s efforts to protect the public during an exceptionally trying time.”
The Christ Church members participated in a “psalm sing” in Sept. 2020 when they were arrested in front of Moscow City Hall.
Then-President Trump condemned their arrest after the footage went viral online.
Rench told Fox News his arrest is a “microcosm” of what is going on in the U.S. and Canada.
“I think it’s no secret that portions of our government and political groups are now starting to target Christians in a way that has never really happened in America or Canada,” he said. “I’m in a conservative state, but I live in a liberal town, and the liberals had no problem arresting me for practicing my religious rights and my Constitutional rights.”
He added, “But my governor also didn’t defend me either. If you look at what’s going on in Canada, I think America’s 10 years, at most 20 years, behind Canada if we don’t make significant changes.”