The issues between California churches and social distancing guidelines are continuously developing as Jack Trieber, Pastor of North Valley Baptist Church, disclosed Tuesday that Santa Clara County has taken action against his church. The actions consisted of fines against the congregation for $5,000 for each in-person service. For North Valley Baptist Church, they hold two services on Sunday as well as a night service on Wednesday. Trieber reported that these fines added up to a staggering amount of $52,750.
The Pastor stated his intentions of fighting the charges claiming that the Government must stop interfering with religious matters. Trieber went on to label the actions taken by the county as harassment and said, "If we don't stop it here ... it's going to sweep all over the United States of America. Government cannot take away our freedom. You cannot take our right to assemble."
He went on to ask the county to remove all imposed fines and stop further actions against the church. Prior to when Governor Gavin Newsom issued the statewide mandate prohibiting all religious worship services, Pastor Trieber stated that North Valley Baptist Church stopped all operations. However, the Pastor said, "But I'm in charge of the spiritual health of the people in this city and in this area," he said. "I've been trying to do it for 45 years. Though health is [of the] utmost importance, spiritual health is supreme. Because we've been locked out in this county of churches, suicide is up, domestic violence, addiction is up, homelessness is up, alcoholism is up. We need to get back to worshiping God. I am commanded to worship God."
Trieber went on to ask Governor Newsom to reopen churches stating that the community's spiritual health was at risk and will result in "chaos".
Chairman Mat Staver, Liberty Counsel Founder, also commented on the matter stating that the mandate issued by Newsom is "unconstitutional" and that churches such as North Valley Baptist Church are incurring enormous fines for exercising their constitutional right to worship. Like many others, Chairman Staver commented on the polarized actions taken by the government with Gov. Newsom supporting the tens of thousands of protestors while preventing church gatherings.