Authorities who might have expected sheeplike compliance from churchgoing Americans are seeing a different side of U.S. Christianity, and now a pastor urging defiance of coronavirus shutdown orders is set to speak in Chicago this Sunday at a church being strong-armed by Chicago authorities.
Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church is one of three the city fined for breaking Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s statewide stay-at-home order, according to the Chicago Police Department. The city fined the church $500 for holding services this week.
Brian Gibson, pastor of His Church, which has sanctuaries in Owensboro, Ky., and Amarillo, Texas, started the “Peaceably Gather” movement that now reportedly has thousands of churches on board. Gibson has told FOX News he’s going to Pastor Cristian Ionescu’s church to “stand against injustice” in a place that he likened to “the belly of the beast.”
“There’s a ruling caste and you are peasants,” the pastor said of Lightfoot’s anti-church actions.
“This is a refugee population that came here from a totalitarian government, had no religious liberties … and what do they find when they get in Chicago?” Gibson added. “They find thuggery, they shut down the streets around their church. These people are harassed … It’s un-American. It’s unacceptable. This is not Romania. This is not China … This is America.
“So I go to stand with them for the First Amendment and stand for religious freedom and stand with my brothers and sisters in Christ.”
Mat Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel and chairman representing Elim and Logos Baptist Ministries, also condemned the governor’s and mayor’s actions as “reminiscent of mob-like thuggery.”
“The outrageous action by Mayor Lori Lightfoot is putting people in danger,” Staver said in a statement. “These heavy-handed tactics are unconstitutional and will not succeed.”