Through the ages, God has revealed His purpose and plan for mankind through prophecies recorded for all time in the Bible. Join us as we explore the ancient revelations whose fulfillment is found in the past, present, and future….
To Thee I Sing 7-12-20
Churches in California are grappling with the new order from California's governor, Gavin Newsom, banning singing and recitation in the state's houses of worship. The order, which was predicated on an edict from the California Department of Health, states in part,
"Places of worship must therefore discontinue indoor singing and chanting activities and limit indoor attendance to 25% of building capacity or a maximum of 100 attendees, whichever is lower."
Again, protection from COVID-19 is cited as the reason for the tightening of restrictions for people who wish to peaceably assemble and exercise their right to religious freedom in America.
These restrictions come against the backdrop of state-sanctioned social justice protests by Black Lives Matter that we have seen in recent weeks. Many states have seen these BLM protests, and many have restricted religious activities while sanctioning these protests as well.
In New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo had their executive orders, restricting houses of worship, struck down by federal District Court Judge Gary Sharpe. Sharpe's ruling was in response to lawsuits filed by Catholic priests and Orthodox synagogues in New York.
In his decision, Judge Sharpe wrote,
"The State argues, in overly-simplistic fashion, that the challenged laws only incidentally impose a burden on religious exercise, and they are neutral and generally applicable, and therefore, only rational basis need be shown, which is self-evident: preventing the spread of COVID-19," Sharpe wrote. "The State was silent with respect to the mass race protests.
Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio could have just as easily discouraged protests, short of condemning their message, in the name of public health and exercised discretion to suspend enforcement for public safety reasons instead of encouraging what they knew was a flagrant disregard of the outdoor limits and social distancing rules," Sharpe wrote. "They could have also been silent. But by acting as they did, Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio sent a clear message that mass protests are deserving of preferential treatment."
De Blasio has said that the exercise of the constitutional rights to protest and religious freedom to worship were not equal constitutional rights. Both De Blasio and Cuomo have praised the mass gatherings in New York for social justice protesting, while at the same time restricting religious gatherings. Governor Newsom has made the same types of statements and has now gone a step farther with his ban on singing and recitations within the walls of a church.
Jay Sekulow's American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) is preparing to take California to federal court over the issue. Although these constitutional cases are being brought into the court system (as they must be), each house of worship and each individual worshipper must grapple with this question: where do we draw the line between obedience to state and obedience to God?
When the Pharisees challenged Jesus on whether or not it was lawful for believers to pay taxes to the Roman government, He asked them for a Roman coin. Cutting to the heart of the matter, Jesus asked whose image and whose inscription were on the coin. After they responded "Caesar's", Jesus told them to "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." (Mark 12:17).
Make no mistake, the law is crystal clear. However, the question remains - Whose image and inscription do we bear?
"And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15
EU Softens Its Report On Propaganda Assault Coming From China 4-25-20
In an effort to appease the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the European Union revised its initial report documenting the Chinese propaganda assault in light of that nation's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which started in Wuhan, China. China has not only steadfastly denied any culpability for the global pandemic but has unleashed a coordinated disinformation campaign on various social media platforms. This two-prong attack by the CCP is a highly coordinated assault that both denies responsibility and shifts blame for the pandemic. The CCP is concerned about its global image in an era where it seeks to gain influence through bankrolling a multitude of international infrastructure projects.