November 23, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Churches across the British Isles are returning to clandestine-style worship in the wake of the U.K. government’s lockdown prohibiting communal worship, as ministers and priests continue to hold services in “answer to a higher authority.”
In the current second national lockdown, communal worship is prohibited by law, and churches are permitted to open only for private prayer. The law was rushed through Parliament in early November by a vote of 516-38.
LifeSiteNews has already reported that during the first weekend of the new restrictions police entered at least one Catholic church in England on the suspicion that a supposed transgression was taking place.
The Observer reported how worship is returning to a style more recognized and associated with Catholic penal times.
Speaking under condition of anonymity, a Christian pastor noted that he and his community had continued their Sunday ceremonies throughout the current lockdown.
“We’ve been holding clandestine services since this lockdown began. It feels weird for us to act this way. People have said it feels more like an underground church in China,” he told the Observer.
“The fact that we have to sneak around to worship God, in fear of criminal prosecution, is alarming. But we do what we have to do,” he continued.
The minister added, “As Christians, we want to be the best citizens we can. We don’t want to be disobedient, but we’re being forced into a position where we either have to go with our religious convictions or go against our consciences and beliefs and submit to the state. That’s the situation we’re in.”
The Observer wrote that when speaking to a number of religious leaders across the country, “an increasing number of congregations are breaking the law in order to worship together, an activity banned under current restrictions.”
On November 15, police broke up a service in north London, held by evangelical pastor Regan King, stating that the event was in violation of the law. King had previously told national radio that “Our priority is our fear of God … We serve a greater law.”
According to the Observer, King plans to continue to hold further services, adding that his public example in defense of religious liberty had inspired many others to contact him, with a large number who were ignoring the state ban on religious ceremonies.
Another London-based minister told the Observer that “We’ve carried on as normal. We’re holding a couple of services each Sunday, with about 160 people attending in total. I don’t believe the government has the authority to tell the church of Jesus Christ that it can’t gather for worship. They have provided no evidence, they just classed us as non-essential. But we believe worship is the most essential thing in life.”
“We answer to a higher authority. When there is a contradiction between the laws of the country and God’s command, the Bible is very clear that God’s command must win out,” the minister added.
Father David Palmer had previously detailed on Twitter how he would continue to provide the sacraments for his congregation during the upcoming lockdown, in a manner somewhat resembling the ingenuity practiced by Catholic clergy during the Elizabethan persecutions. However, Fr. Palmer was banned by his bishop from even saying a private Mass while parish members were in the church praying privately.
More than 120 religious leaders from around England and Wales have issued a legal challenge to the government’s current ban on public religious ceremonies.
Speaking to the Observer, Andrea Williams, CEO of Christian Concern, said, “I never thought I’d say this in Britain, but churches are going underground. These are not isolated cases – and the longer it goes on, more churches will join the movement.”
In Wales’ recent lockdown, which closed churches for public worship, members of the New Hope Community Church in Cardiff continued to gather to pray. The result was that Welsh police arrived in a riot van and sent home the 30 people gathered there.
Reverend Wade Mclennan of the church told the BBC that other churches across Wales were also ignoring the ban.
Meanwhile, across the Irish Sea, Father P.J. Hughes in Ireland rejected the unconstitutional ban on public Mass and quietly continued to offer Mass without turning away the parishioners who appeared at the church. In response, police arrived at the church, turning people away and warning Fr. Hughes “that he may be prosecuted for breaching the Covid rules.”
The Irish government is expressly forbidding gatherings for “religious or other reasons” and threatening priests with a fine of €2,500 and/or six months’ imprisonment should they attempt to offer public Mass.
Two other Catholic priests in the southwest part of the country faced a similar response from the police when they attempted to continue the Church’s worship in an underground manner. After being contacted several times by the police, one of the priests was warned that if he continued to offer public Masses the police would “apply the full rigours of the law.”
Despite the ban, this past Sunday saw several priests across Ireland defy the law and celebrate Mass publicly. In total, dozens of priests in 11 counties offered Mass publicly — the first public Masses since the Irish government closed the churches on October 4.
As new laws prohibiting public worship become more intense and widespread, a priest told LifeSiteNews anonymously, “I think it’s vital that we, priests and religious particularly, be realistic about what is now happening in our own countries and around the world to religious freedom and civil freedom and not to be deterred from the challenges that now face us.”
“We are blessed and sanctified by the blood of so many that have gone before us, and so with continued effort in our interior lives, or a reanimation if it is necessary, we will be able to suffer courageously for Christ and His people,” he continued.
“I think it’s very important for us all to realise that, and not shy away from it. What is being asked of us now is monumental, but so are the graces that were given to the martyrs before us, and will be also be given to us if we but ask for them.”
PETITION UPDATE (12/11/2020)
Right before Thanksgiving, YouTube deleted a LifeSite video of a distinguished Canadian physician protesting the "unfounded public hysteria" over COVID-19 and accused us of spreading "medical misinformation."
Our account was suspended, and we were prohibited from posting videos on our YouTube channel for one week. And, while that may not seem like a big deal, it's a huge deal for a news organization like LifeSite.
Then, earlier this week, YouTube again suspended our account – this time for two weeks – over an episode of The Bishop Strickland Show wherein Bishop Strickland said he would not take an unethical COVID-19 vaccine.
We were able to appeal the suspension, and our request was granted.
This means that in YouTube's three-strikes-and-you're-out content-policing, idea-cleansing scheme, we are back down to one strike. But, we still face the threat of losing our account permanently.
And, we're not the only ones.
In a recent turn of events, YouTube just announced that it will remove videos alleging widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
But, what is YouTube afraid of? The truth???
Thankfully, however, there is a one, big bright spot on the horizon: 48 states filed suit against Facebook just this week.
And, although this seems like a step in the right direction, the draconian measures which YouTube just rolled out, which are already wielded by Twitter, are an assault against free speech.
So, the fight for freedom of speech against Big Tech goes on. And, we must do everything we can to protect it!
Please SIGN and SHARE this petition today!
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
PETITION UPDATE (11/18/2020)
Everyone thought the censorship by Big Tech corporations would decrease after the 2020 election, but the truth is that censorship is being felt just as much as it was before the election.
And, given the election outcome, perhaps Big Tech censorship now is even more consequential than it was before the election!
The two biggest social media platforms, Facebook and Twitter, and other Big Tech companies, are still censoring and suppressing stories and posts favorable to conservatives, and especially anything that has to do with election fraud.
Here are a few recent examples:
- Women for America First organized the March for Trump on November 14, which was shut down by Facebook, MailChimp and Eventbrite. Despite Big Tech’s best efforts to cancel the event, the march went on and gathered a huge crowd.
- Twitter has been suppressing a large number of President Trump’s Tweets. Most of his Tweets have been flagged arbitrarily with a warning stating: “This claim about election fraud is disputed."
Please READ this recent article about Big Tech's attempt to choke information conerning the recent Million MAGA March in Washington, DC: '5 things mainstream media won’t tell you about massive DC ‘Stop the Steal’ rally'
Then, please SIGN and SHARE this urgent petition, which calls on the Congress, the president, and governors to defend freedom of speech as Big Tech continues their rampant censorship.
PETITION UPDATE (10/15/2020)
In a remarkable development, Republican Senators Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham have announced that the Senate Judiciary Committee will be issuing subpoenas to Twitter's Jack Dorsey and Facebook's Mark Zuckerburg for their company's suppression of two critical expose news stories about how Hunter Biden and the Biden Family allegedly profited from business deals made because of Joe Biden's position as Vice President.
Please WATCH LifeSite's exclusive video of the announcement by Senator Ted Cruz below.
According to the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Lindsey Graham, the subpoenas will be issued next Tuesday, for hearings to be held on Friday of next week.
This is a MASSIVE development, and should be welcomed by those who champion freedom of speech.
Again, this is all happening because Twitter and Facebook refuse to allow their members to share stories which would be favorable to conservatives.
Here's the timeline:
Yesterday, Twitter and Facebook suppressed a NY Post story about how Hunter Biden allegedly profited from introducing a Ukrainian businessman to his then-Vice President father, Joe Biden. The story also alleges that Vice President Biden then subsequently pressured Ukrainian authorities to fire a prosecutor who was investigating the businessman's company.
And, just this morning, Twitter suppressed another expose by the NY Post alleging that the Biden Family improperly profitted from deals made with one of the largest Chinese energy companies because of Vice President Biden's position in government.
But, right after the story broke, Senator Cruz tried to share the latest story on Twitter and was blocked. Twitter says that they are blocking the stories because they claim that the information was obtained illegally. However, Twitter showed no problem allowing illegally obtained information about President Trump's tax returns to be shared.
Please SIGN and SHARE this urgent petition, which calls on the Congress, the president, and governors to defend freedom of speech as Big Tech continues their rampant censorship.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
'GOP senators decry Big Tech censorship of NY Post story exposing Biden corruption' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/gop-senators-decry-big-tech-censorship-of-ny-post-story-exposing-biden-corruption
PETITION UPDATE (9/17/2020)
Big Tech is out to kill free speech. LifeSite is out to protect it!
LifeSite has been digging deep into the many claims of liberal bias and selective censorship of pro-life, pro-family, and conservative voices on social media.
And, we are now launching our new series 'Uncensored: Big Tech vs. Free Speech', which will unpack how the actions of Big Tech censors actually affect conservative and Christian organization and individuals.
Please WATCH the first video in our series featuring Brigitte Gabriel, the Founder of ACT For America, one of the nation's premier national security grassroots organizations.
Ms. Gabriel's organization, ACT For America, has been targeted by Big Tech especially in the manipulation of search results.
Big Tech “think[s] they are God and they are exercising their godly power over everybody else,” Gabriel explained. "Because in today's world, anytime you want to find out any information about somebody, what do you do? Google. You go to the internet to find out some information about them. When you research anything about somebody, the first thing that comes up [in the search results] is the Southern Poverty Law Center’s labeling of ‘hate groups.’”
“And who are the ‘hate groups’? Family Research Council is a hate group because they are pro-family. American Family Radio is a hate group…LifeSiteNews is a hate group. My organization is a hate group because we sound the alarm about terrorism and protecting our constitutional freedom. And so they try to character assassinate you. And they control the language.”
LifeSite's research shows that Facebook, Google, YouTube, Twitter, and others have become far too dangerous for democracy.
They can and do sway elections and public opinion in whatever direction they want, primarily by manipulating search results, tracking our online behavior, and by blocking truthful content from their platforms.
Today, LifeSite is starting to fight back, with facts and with stories of conservatives and Christians who are being negatively impacted by Big Tech's liberal bias.
Please continue to follow our 'Big Tech vs. Free Speech' series which aims to launch a new video each week for the next eight weeks.
And, please sign our petition demanding that Big Tech monopolies are broken up. Thank you!
ORIGINAL PETITION BACKGROUND TEXT:
The outrageous erasing of the White Coat Summit from the internet is only the latest in a long series of brazen acts of censorship against conservatives and all those who support legitimate free speech.
You may agree or disagree with the efficacy of Hydroxychloroquine against the coronavirus, but everyone should agree on this point:
No Big Tech company should have the power to erase from the internet the medical opinions of licensed practicing doctors simply because they do not like what they have to say about the coronavirus or their experience treating it. Americans and other free peoples do not need leftist computer programmers deciding what the best course of medical treatment is for them.
Google/Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Apple and their Big Tech friends want to control what you see, what you read, what you think, and ultimately, how you vote. Not only do they spend hundreds of millions of dollars on lobbying congress and buttering up big Washington DC think tanks, but now they brazenly and directly censor any content they don't want you to see.
Big Tech, like other interest groups, aggressively lobby to help their businesses thrive, but increasingly, Big Tech is using blatant internet censorship to impose its radical world view over those they consider to be "deplorables."
This must stop, but it won't unless we demand it as forcefully as legally possible. We believe that we have reached the point were Big Tech must be broken up if legitimate free speech is going to survive and continue to thrive on the internet.
Please sign our petition to demand real consequences for Big Tech's suppression of legitimate free speech.
In 2016, emails revealed by Fox News' Tucker Carlson proved that Google tried to influence the election by affecting voter turnout. Thankfully they failed. But they didn't give up. Instead, they have been preparing and testing how to manipulate information to continue to abuse their monopolistic power.
In 2018, Google/Youtube et. al. succeeded in manipulating the Irish abortion referendum by blacklisting pro-life videos, manipulating pro-life search terms and results and intentionally withholding pro-life information. Again, this is not an opinion or a conspiracy theory, Project Veritas obtained first hand information proving the intentional censorship by Big Tech.
And the Coronavirus has just made things worse. You see, scared people are more easily manipulated into giving up their freedom of speech. Children are being kept from going to school, tens of millions of Americans are out of work, and rioting has broken out in most major American cities.
Now, more than ever, freedom of speech is necessary to secure all of our freedoms. Freedom of speech is crucial to truly exercise the freedom to vote for the person that best represents one's own views, or the freedom to decide what course of medical treatment to accept - especially the decision to control what vaccines are administered to our children.
Some experts, like Dr. Robert Epstein, a behavioral psychologist who has testified before congress against Big Tech believes that we may already be too late to control Big Tech's tyrannical control over information.
President Trump took a step in the right direction with his Executive Order calling for increased regulation of Big Tech. But much more can be done and needs to be done right now.
In an era where almost everything is polarized, there is an overwhelming support for breaking up the Big Tech monopolies. A recent Pew poll found that 75% of Americans believe that Big Tech companies have too much influence.
It is time to bring serious accountability to Big Tech for their attempts to use their monopolies to kill free speech.
It is time to break up Big Tech.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Google, Facebook, Twitter shut down ‘frontline’ US doctors who promote ‘cure for COVID’ - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/google-facebook-twitter-shut-down-frontline-us-doctors-who-promote-cure-for-covid?utm_source=featured&utm_campaign=standard
Americans overwhelmingly agree Big Tech has too much power: Pew poll - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/americans-overwhelmingly-agree-big-tech-has-too-much-power-pew-poll
Leaked Google employee's email reveals effort to boost Latino vote, surprise that some voted for Trump - https://www.foxnews.com/tech/leaked-google-employees-email-reveals-effort-to-boost-latino-vote-surprise-that-some-voted-for-trump
Undercover video proves Google interfered in Irish abortion referendum - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/americans-overwhelmingly-agree-big-tech-has-too-much-power-pew-poll