An Assemblies of God church is standing for its right to reopen in Oregon. And although they and nine other churches won a lawsuit that allowed them to reopen, the Oregon Supreme Court has halted the judge’s ruling on that case, temporarily reinstating Gov. Kate Brown’s COVID-19 restrictions.
Churches across the nation are fighting similar legal battles as states grapple with how to reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Some pastors who are standing for the First Amendment rights have chosen to meet in person despite governors’ orders to the contrary. Some, such as Pastor Tony Spell from Louisiana, have even been arrested for resisting their states’ orders.
But not Pastor Scott Erickson.
Erickson has pastored Peoples Church, an Assemblies of God congregation of 3,700 attendees in Salem, Oregon, for 20 years now. He tells Charisma News that when Gov. Brown originally set her coronavirus restrictions in place in mid-March, causing nonessential businesses and churches to close their doors, Peoples Church complied with the order and allowed whatever staff could work from home to do so.
They also started hosting drive-in services in their large parking lot, which Erickson says Brown approved. While this method was a great substitute that worked for many people and kept them safe, Erickson says it wasn’t the same as meeting in person. He and the rest of his congregation were eager to start meeting in person again once Brown’s 30-day expiration for the order passed.
But that didn’t happen. Earlier this month, Brown unexpectedly extended the order for 60 more days until July 6. As a result, many small businesses and churches are expected to stay closed. Erickson believes this is unconstitutional and unfair.
“All the pot stores are open,” Erickson says. “Marijuana stores and liquor stores are all open. Costco and Walgreens and Walmart—all of them are wide open, and there are hundreds of people in there, in these big box stores. So we just didn’t think it was appropriate. … It was discouraging to see [Brown’s] perspective on it, even though we’ve had a very minimal amount of incidents [of COVID-19] here in the state.”
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: Charisma News