On Wednesday night, the Temple Baptist Church in Greenville, Mississippi had a full parking lot as they held a radio church service for their members. All was going well during the service, until things sadly took a turn for the worst when police got involved.
Members of the church reportedly sat in their cars with their windows rolled up as they listened to Pastor Arthur Scott give his sermon on the radio. Lee Gordon, who has been a member of the church for 23 years, told the Delta Democrat-Times that the church has been broadcasting services for the past three weeks using a low-power FM frequency to broadcast the sermon.
“The preacher is in the church at the pulpit, and we are streaming the service live as well,” Gordon explained. “But a lot of our membership is elderly and [lacks access to streaming technology].” Gordon added that as he sat in the parking lot listening to the service with his wife, he thought he was adhering to social distancing guidelines that have been put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic. Unfortunately, he turned out to be wrong, as he said he and his wife were each issued $500 tickets for what they were doing.
“I think somebody called the police,” he said. “And we were just doing the same thing we’ve been doing the last three weeks.” Gordon went on to say that police “were respectful and just doing their job. They asked us to leave first, and those who stayed got a ticket.”
Video recorded by another Temple Baptist church member shows police issuing tickets in the parking lot of the church. “Somewhere right now in the city of Greenville, real crime is going on,” the man recording the city can be heard saying from his parked car. “They got half of the police squad at Temple Baptist Church. Seventy- and 80-year-old people…most of them never even had a speeding ticket. But this is a better use of Greenville’s resources.”
The man then points his camera at a red car that had an officer standing by it and says, “A retired nurse, never bothered nobody, being threatened to go to jail for going to church.”
Eventually, the man recording the video was given a ticket as well. “Just handed a ticket by a man with no gloves. He gave me an ink pen to sign it…” he said, going on to say that he and other church members were “complying 100% with the governor’s ordinance on COVID-19. And they come and force us not to comply. They force us to make human contact. Your city dollars at work for you.” Check out the video for yourself:
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Mississippi is currently under a shelter-in-place order that was issued by Republican Governor Tate Reeves, and on top of that, Democrat Mayor of Greenville Errick Simmons issued an executive order last Tuesday that all church buildings are to be closed for both in-person and drive-in services. Sadly, the Temple Baptist parking lot service was in direct defiance of this order. “People have been calling the office all week telling us there are churches still meeting,” Simmons said. “These are people from out of town who are concerned their older parents are still going to these meeting places.”
“It’s all about trying to save lives,” he added. “If people continue to gather, it’s going to spread.” Simmons claimed that he received a call this week from someone claiming to be the pastor of Temple Baptist who said, “We’re having church on Wednesday, no matter what.”
Despite the tickets, Gordon said that the church still plans to hold Easter morning services in the parking lot. “There’s 25 cars 200 yards away all in the same place at the Sonic Drive-In. What we’re doing endangers nobody,” he said. The First Liberty Institute, which is representing this church, has sent a letter to Simmons urging him to withdraw his executive order, according to WJTV-TV.
“Protecting religious liberty is essential, even during a pandemic,” said Jeremy Dys, special counsel for litigation and communications at First Liberty. “Americans can tolerate a lot, if it means demonstrating love for their fellow man, but they will not —nor should not— tolerate churchgoers being ticketed by the police for following CDC guidelines at church. This has to stop now.”
This piece was written by PoliZette Staff on April 11, 2020. It originally appeared in LifeZette and is used by permission.
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this is in violation of the constitution
Church and its property are sanctuary Sites,
parking violations and social gathering are not criminal nor misdemeanors…
every citation will get tossed..
better yet make the cop(s) pay for each citation that was written to serve as a reminder of our constitutional rights..
by the way Im not Religious, I believe in the right given by the Constitution..
Another black mark against the Southern U.S.A.
Sounds a lot kike the “Boss Hawg” of TV, or the Sheriff from Smokey and the Bandit, Doesn’t it ?
Yup ! This is Mississippi, Y’all !
These people probably supported the police against anti police attacks from the left. Don’t ever be lured into believing that just because you support the police they won’t turn against you. They’re “just doing their jobs.”
Have everyone that got a ticket fight it in court. That ought to jam up that system, and hit the town budget in the pocketbook, too
ALWAYS a time to be DEFIANT!!!
I am appauled and by the approach the Police and Mayor haave taken. As pointed out by the WHTV TV letter, is goes against our constitutione the thounds have paid theirs lives for. Lets get the Judicial Watch involved.
ANOTHER example of the progressive’s OPEN WAR ON CHRITIANITY…!?!?!
This is your new Amerika. Narks, storm trooper piggies and NO civil rights. The fact you put up with it with the lame fabricated excuse for 6 weeks….you deserve it.
The same people that are complaining about persons attending a drive in church service and not close to anyone except family are the same ones that crowd into grocery stores etc. not heeding social distancing. They are the ones creating bad situations. The tyrannical politicians are bent on crushing religion.
i believe they did file a lawsuit, and they should. they were sitting in their cars with windows rolled up. the ones violating the order were the po-po. they had no masks, gloves, and handing the same pen to multiple people without first sanitizing. if ANYONE gets sick, it’s on them not on those sitting isolated in their vehicles listening to the radio. good grief. anyone that doesn’t think libs are power hungry…..look at the DRAMATIC difference in how libs and reps are reacting to this. dems want TOTAL lockdown for 18 MONTHS (geek emmanuel), reps say stay six feet away, wear a mask and wash your hands…..questions?
Federal judge ruled this action unconstitutional in an emergency TRO for a Kentucky church. Hearing next week. These filthy leftist are going to be very sorry.
EACH and everyone cited, should plead “not guilty”, and DEMAND a court hearing… Tie up the police, having to be a witness in EACH case, and tie up the courts fighting these STUPID and unconstitutional infringement on our 1st amendment rights (freedom of religion, and right to peaceably assemble).
You don’t want the TRUTH and your policy is unconstitutional!! WAKE up PEOPLE VOTE for FREEDOM not for SOCIALISM, COMMUNISM, OR DICTATORSHIP!! KMAG NOW and in to the FUTURE!!
Democratic Mayor trying to shut down religious events that hurt no one. I hope main Stream Democrats see this and realize just how far their party has gone off the rails and start pushing back against the nut jobs that control their party.
some states have really gotten ridiculous in their restrictions….what’s so disconcerting is how readily the cops go along with this nonsense
ACLU!!! Calling the ACLU!!!. .. Where are you guys?….
how many peeps remember, Hitler was NOT german….he was an Austrian JEW…..
Just like Germany. Hitler kept pushing & lying to the people. It was strictly set up to kill Jews. Now their attention has turned on the Christians. No one was bothering anybody. They were close to the people that they are close to everyday at home. This is a farce.
“It’s all about trying to save lives,” yeah right, more like its all about making money, how else are they going to make their ticket quota’s? what a joke.
Everyone who got a ticket should flood the courthouse on the assigned court date and fight the tickets.
we need to hold services at Sonic
This is communism and if you want it to continue, elect more Dem/Communist to our government. It won’t take long before it will become our new way of life or what is left of it.
No. You aren’t the boss. The mayor cannot abridge unalienable or civil rights. Grow your food at home….you have no right to drive and buy some. I say so. Get it?
If you go to the store you are endangering yourself and others! If you are in your car you are with family who live with you!! The OFFICIALS who started this are foolish and already in their OWN delusion of life!! Their devil is in the details of their AGENDAs and LIFE!! So SAD WAKE UP PEOPLE !!!
Pull yourselves together people. Worship at home. If the officer gave you the chance to leave to avoid a ticket, then leave. You’re not being persecuted for your faith. You’re endangering others.
Democrats not only will take your freedom of Religion but all of your freedom. Remember Obama’s anti-Religion stand, and his pro-Homosexual stand? Stand Firm against what’s coming.
If the progressives can exercise this type of power (denying people their 1st Amendment rights) when they are not in power imagine what they’ll try to do when they have power.
I sort of recall something about ‘Freedom of Religion’ and ‘Right to congregate” written down somewhere. I must be mistaken.
Stupid cluck, the only exposure was what they got from the filthy cop. They are in their cars just like when they go for drive up food or drive up lubes. You can’t even read. .
Let them gather but stay away from everyone other than their fellow churchgoers, and they had all better pray to their God to protect them. They should not seek medical help if they get sick or they will endanger innocent people. They need to rely on their fellow churchgoers to care for them and their faith in their God to heal them. See how that works out.
In this case I would have never rolled my window down nor even ackknowledge their presence… This is not right!
Haven’t these officials heard of religious freedom. They have really trampled on the rights of these people and look very foolish in doing so.
While I believe in being safe, this was about tyrannical control, not public health and safety.
IT’S TIME TO START THE RESURRECTION BY CARS IN PARKING LOTS USING PROTECTIVE WAYS AND GOING TO CHURCH, STORES, AND RESTAURANTS.
SOCAL IS CRUSHING IT!! CRUSHING THE CURVE!! COME ON, NORCAL, YOU CAN TOO!!!
CALIFORNIANS KNOW HOW TO CONSERVE! THEY’RE JUST STUPID ABOUT VOTING FOR LEFTISTS…..
It’s not surprising that Greenville, MS is a democratic controlled government. the mayor is another Lemming pushing the socialist control agendas of the party.
Law enforcement officers are not required to obey an illegal order.. This governor’s order is definitely illegal..
Law enforcement is being misdirected by political miscreants who want to control by enforcing their socialist agendas.
Enforcement has gotten out of hand. Those responsible for ordering the police to enforce the church goers need to be removed from office.
This is another example of political overreach, most often by the democratic party who wish to promote their socialist controlling government. Resist.
If a couple, in a car, are ticketed for not keeping social distance, can this same couple be ticketed for not keeping social distance at their home? There has to be some common sense applied in these situations. Or is “common sense” no longer appropriate?
The Sheriff or Chief of Police has got to have crap for brains to pull that stunt.
The most ridiculous ticket ever given by senseless police that has nothing else better to do. In that case, they ought to stay home to save their own lives.
And if they live at home it’s ok because they’re already self quarantining together and can’t stay away from each other all of the time at home, and no one is asking them to, so this ticketing is still very absurd!
The same people that are not social distancing in the car are the same people that do not social distance at home. So why are they being ticketed for not complying to the social distance order? Sometimes “common sense” is not so common.
That’s a guaranteed outcome..
$500 tickets, who is kidding who here??? Not a single one of these tickets will withstand the scrutiny in court, and the Mayor and the Police Chief will be embarassed, AND Sanctioned!
No attorney worth his salt will tell you what this mayor did was totally in violation of The Constitution and the law.. Those officers were under no obligation to obey his illegal order..
To all the attorneys out there, is this legal?
That is why we have the 2nd amendment start using it Bureaucrats are just people who think they have the right to control you //// They do not and need to be taught that is why we will never give up our guns I am willing to die for those rights and many of my forefathers gave their life to protect our rights . let us see if Democrats have the same resolve.
Sheer insanity! Police being there and handing out paper without protection… to those who are acting safely. And Progressives wonder why some citizens are loathe to grant more power to governments / bureaucrats…