California pastor won't submit to Covid rules and blasts 'tyranny masquerading as safety' from 'hypocrites' in power

A CALIFORNIA pastor is refusing to shut his church – because Covid-19 restrictions are a "violation" of America's founding principles.

Mike McClure, leader of the Calvary Chapel in San Jose, is one of several religious figures claiming public health guidelines are an infringement of First Amendment rights.

McClure faces more than $700,000 in fines from Santa Clara County for breaching restrictions.

Speaking to FOX news on Thursday, he said: "I think the shutdowns are an absolute violation of the centrality of our liberty — and that is the freedom to believe, the freedom to express our belief, [and] the freedom to worship."

On Tuesday a Superior Court added to his total with a contempt order, which will cost him a further $50,000.

County Counsel James R. Williams argued that McClure's church is putting people's lives at risk.

“Given the current surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, it is absolutely vital for all individuals and entities to urgently and fully comply with all public health orders," Williams said.

He added: “These public health orders are literally a matter of life and death; they are designed to reduce COVID-19 transmission, avoid serious illness, and save lives.

"This entity’s ongoing violations put the whole community at risk, and they won’t be tolerated.”

The county prohibits indoor gatherings while allowing worship services to take place outdoors.

But McClure indicated that California leaders had betrayed the authenticity of coronavirus regulations by flouting them after Mayor Sam Liccardo gave a public apology for breaking public health guidelines by attending a dinner over Thanksgiving.

"This is tyranny masquerading as safety," McClure added.

California Governor Gavin Newsom also apologized after he was seen ignoring official guidelines at an upscale French restaurant.

McClure said what he and his congregation are doing "is just what makes sense logically, just like our governor or our mayor, who told everyone to do one thing, and they do what's logical, what's good for their family, they're making the best decision for their family.

"They're using good judgement and yet, they don't want anyone else to do that."

"Christ came to set us free from being enslaved to the fear of death," he added.

While he quoted Romans 13 – a passage that directs Christians to obey governing authorities -he said the Constitution superseded politicians in that respect.

"When you have governors or judges or anybody who violates the Constitution, they are violating the law and they relinquish their position in leadership or law enforcement.”

During the pandemic, the U.S. has had more than 15.6 million cases and nearly 300,000 deaths.

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