- Understanding what the Let Us Worship movement stands for and protests against the lockdowns.
- Understanding the broad powers of government during times of emergency in a health crisis and the implementation of lockdowns.
- The advocation for liberty to empower people to make individual choices that benefit society as a whole rather than restrict free choice and force people to comply.
Today, two opposing forces are occurring in our country, lockdowns versus the right to assemble and exercise religious liberty. One is the exercise of state and local governmental authorities’ powers during a health crisis—the other a movement of faith of the awakening worshippers in Christianity.
During times of fear like the current state of affairs of Covid-19 around the world and the lockdowns, people look and turn to religious faith for guidance more than ever.
Let Us Worship, No More Lockdowns
The Let Us Worship movement has been sweeping across the nation since its explosive beginnings in July of 2020. Sean Feucht the leader of the movement in conviction and response to the lockdown of churches in California, gathered roughly 400 people at the Golden Gate Bridge.
It was a spontaneous event of singing songs and dancing in the Christian faith that birthed the visitation of over 55+ cities now across multiple states to date and continuing.
Here is the lockdown prohibition for singing in California as mentioned on page 3 and specifically quoted below from page 13 of the California Department of PublicHealth Covid-19 Industry Guidances for Places of Worship states:
“Discontinue singing (in rehearsals, services, etc.), chanting, and other practices and performances where there is increased likelihood for transmission from contaminated exhaled droplets. Consider practicing these activities through alternative methods (such as internet streaming) that ensure individual congregation members perform these activities separately in their own homes.”
Conversely the response of Let Us Worship found on their main webpage:
“The fervor to worship God free from government edict and societal persecution drove America’s earliest settlers across oceans and wild frontiers to this beautiful land to create a new nation built on a simple premise that all men are created equal and cannot be denied their inalienable rights to life and liberty.
But our freedom to worship God and obey His Word has come under unprecedented attack. Powerful politicians and social media giants have engaged in unchartered abuses of religious liberty, silencing the faithful, banning our voices, and outright attacking our God-given right to declare His goodness.
States across America, including here in California have shut down church services and even outlawed singing in church. Instagram and Twitter is censoring Christian voices every single day. And every hour that passes they grow bolder in their efforts to silence the faithful.
It’s time for the Church to rise up with one voice and tell our government leaders and the rulers of big tech that we refuse to be silenced!”
In contrast, it shows the brave faith of individuals coming together to protest what they see as overreaching powers of state authority. To shut down all religious practice in the name of a public health crisis.
Remember this was occurring while rioters and looters all summer and continuing to this day have been given broad freedom to “peacefully protest.” This is what provides the movement with some real ground to stand on. The hypocrisy of the political establishment to shutdown everyday life but allow dangerous riots to occur all over our cities across the nation during lockdowns.
To understand it from the Christian’s point of view that part of the faith they keep is unadulterated song and dance to God. From their perspective, the church is not a building but the gathering of the people together in unity. This sacred gathering is exactly the freedoms expressed in our Declaration of Independence and Constitution, now being trampled upon by state powers in an emergency.
To understand it from secularism in the government and political spheres, the broad emergency powers they are using that restrict liberties are to protect the people. The lockdowns are to save people’s lives, rooted in scientific theory and reason. The governmental apparatus is the divine protector of the people; therefore, the suspension of individual liberties is welcomed in their view to achieving that goal.
Governmental Role for Public Safety
In 2014, a report published by the Congressional Research Service outlined and defined the role of the Federal and State Quarantine and Isolation Authority. Upon examining the information, the statute provides the federal and state authorities’ broad power in a time of any recognized health crisis.
Our Government has two primary purposes essentially. The first being to cover and protect the people and liberty, the second to empower the same people with liberty. What do I mean by empowering? To make available in abundant access freedom for each individual to pursue life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Therefore regarding protection, yes, the government should have some authority given by the people to protect when a health crisis comes. For example, if I get sick and contract a rare and deadly disease and go out in public, the governing authorities should have some measure to stop me from infecting others.
From 1918 through 1920, many of the same tactics of lockdowns were used on state and local levels employed now during Covid-19. Declaring a public emergency and giving special powers to the health departments and agencies to make a unilateral decision or joint decisions with local legislators.
Specifically, in that period, we also saw churches’ closures across the nation during the declared emergencies. (Here is a searched listing of all types of headlines, articles, and other historical references to closed places of worship during that period.)
In Los Angeles, California, a group of Christian Science churches reopened against the shutdown orders of the time. They were arrested and attempted to even fight against it to the State Supreme Court in which they lost their legal argument as well.
Are these emergency powers for public safety appropriate in their scope and range of authority? Is it healthy for society and everyday living to be completely shut down amid a health crisis? Does a health crisis of national proportion outweigh what is declared as inherent God-given rights to suspend people’s freedoms? And finally, does the role of government as protector of the people justify the suspension of such liberties?
These are critical civic questions that must be asked and discussed by the American people.
Why This Matters
Our freedom to pursue what religious faith we choose and to have the freedom to assemble and worship God in peace is paramount. In many countries, the government or the prevailing religion controls who and what the people will worship and what the state religion will be. The consequences are very dire if not observed by these countries’ citizens.
Egypt is an excellent example of persecution Christianity faces daily. The beauty of America is that it’s not just Christianity, but all other religions it protects inside its borders. The government protects the people of all faiths and their freedom to pursue it—the lockdowns for Covid-19 affected Christian churches and Jewish synagogues, Muslim mosques, and so on.
To forsake the privilege of being an American citizen with the freedoms we are endowed with and take it for granted just reveals that we lack any awareness of what persecution is. We also lack the awareness of the dangers our founding fathers were acutely aware of, big government and a permanent church-state.
As Americans, the general population of our country should have the freedom to make sound decisions. Americans at majority if given the free choice will make smart and preservationist decisions. It is the natural inclination of man to survive. The government in any function should not have the power to declare that certain people and their pursuits in life are either essential or non-essential.
Every person and their pursuits are essential. That is the basis of our declaration and constitution. The way people make a living or the way people worship should never be the government’s business. It is left to each individual during a health crisis whether they close their business or not.
To be able to make the free choice if they will venture out into the public domain. It is left to each person to choose what their risk tolerance is. Simultaneously, the government’s role remains limited and focused on anyone who decides to use their liberty to put others in harm’s way.
Keefer is passionate about America and the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. His writings focus on the intersectionality of faith and culture.