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August 5, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Another Christian pastor is vowing defiance against secular authorities who may attempt to force him to shut down his church over the coronavirus, even at the cost of his own freedom.
“Churches should be open,” declared Pastor Greg Locke of Global Vision Bible Church in Tennessee, the Washington Examiner reports. “There should be no excuses. I will go to jail before I close my church.”
Global Vision has also declined to require congregants to practice so-called social distancing or wear masks while indoors, which Locke says stems from a refusal to “live in constant fear and media hysteria.”
Across the world, many secular authorities have heavily restricted the right to religious assembly in the name of containing COVID-19, including a few specifically targeting distribution of Holy Communion on the tongue.
In California, Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom has banned indoor religious services in 29 counties representing 80 percent of the state’s population, in the name of containing the spread of COVID-19. Several churches have defied the order, including Grace Community Church of Sun Valley, Cornerstone Church of Fresno, Destiny Christian Church of Rocklin, and Harvest Rock Church of Pasadena.
But of arguably greater concern for the faithful are Catholic leaders voluntarily imposing such restrictions on their congregations. Bishops in parts of the United States, France, Malta, Jerusalem, Singapore, the Philippines, England, and Wales have all forbidden receiving Communion on the tongue. In the U.S. territory of Guam, St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Parish has posted warnings not to kneel during prayer.
“When officials restrict church attendance to a certain number, they attempt to impose a restriction that in principle makes it impossible for the saints to gather as the church,” declared Pastor John MacArthur and the elders of California’s Grace Community Church. “When officials mandate distancing, they attempt to impose a restriction that in principle makes it impossible to experience the close communion between believers that is commanded in Romans 16:16, 1 Corinthians 16:20, 2 Corinthians 13:12, and 1 Thessalonians 5:26. In all those spheres, we must submit to our Lord.”