John MacArthur is the head pastor of the large and influential Grace Community Church in Southern California. On Friday, July 24th, he posted a statement on his blog announcing GCC's intention to resume meeting for worship despite California's imposition of tighter lockdown rules announced by chief petty tyrant Gavin Newsom. He gives theological and biblical reasons why this is permitted, including:
Notice that we are not making a constitutional argument, even though the First Amendment of the United States Constitution expressly affirms this principle in its opening words: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The right we are appealing to was not created by the Constitution. It is one of those unalienable rights granted solely by God, who ordained human government and establishes both the extent and the limitations of the state's authority (Romans 13:1–7). Our argument therefore is purposely not grounded in the First Amendment; it is based on the same biblical principles that the Amendment itself is founded upon. The exercise of true religion is a divine duty given to men and women created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26–27; Acts 4:18–20; 5:29; cf. Matthew 22:16–22). In other words, freedom of worship is a command of God, not a privilege granted by the state.
I really like this. The state is not the be-all and end-all of human existence. There are rights (and responsibilities) that exist prior to the formation of any state. If you truly understand and believe this, there is no way you can ever be a socialist. Not consistently, anyway.
Once you start yammering, like Bernie Sanders, about health care being a "human right" or housing being a "human right", you're just announcing that you have no idea what human rights are.
I'm not sure what they're going to do if Newsom (or the local constabulary) decide that they need to be taught a lesson. Presumably they've got legal help lined up and ready to go. So what we have here is a protest movement. We already have one that's been going on for a couple of months, but this one is new.
But unlike the BLM/Antifa protests, here are some of the things the GCC elders and congregation are not doing:
a. Stomping aroundb. Yellingc. Throwing stuffd. Breaking windowse. Defacing public buildings with graffitif. Vandalizing and looting private businessesf. Pulling down statuesg. Turning urban neighborhoods into filthy, crime-ridden shitholes.h. Assaulting and even murdering police officersi. Leaving behind giant piles of trash for somebody else to clean up.
Pastor MacArthur's blog post is uncompromising, yet respectful. So I would say that GCC has the moral high ground here. What they don't have, unfortunately, is any elected officials who have their back. Unlike BLM/Antifa, who have their BFFs Ted Wheeler, Jenny Durkan, Andrew Cuomo, and Gavin Newsom running interference for them. The GCC elders and their congregation are out there by themselves. May God protect them.