While Maryland is allowing churches to reopen at 50% capacity, Baltimore County is holding local gathering spaces to stricter rules. That meant Calvary Baptist Church was violating the law when it allowed 100 congregations to gather last night. The county’s Department of Health and Human Services sent Pastor Stacey Shiflett a cease-and-desist order since his actions were jeopardizing public safety. It threatened him with a $5,000 fine.
So, naturally, he ripped it up in a display of arrogance and ignorance.
— Stacey Shiflett �� (@staceyshiflett) May 21, 2020
The Baptist pastor posted video of the shredding on Twitter, in which he can be heard preaching: “With this cease-and-desist letter in my hand, the Bible says to the New Testament church ‘not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together as the manner of some is, but so much more as you see the day approaching,’ and the closer we get to Jesus coming back, the more church we ought to be having, not less church.”
“Now that’s God’s parameters,” he added. “So I’m tearing up this cease-and-desist order right here, and I’m telling you right now, we’re gonna do it God’s way! God tells us how to worship Him, nobody else gets to do that.“
It’s like Jesus when said, “If I have to die on this cross, I’m taking the rest of you suckers down with me.”
The money isn’t the issue, obviously. Displays of Christian faux-victimhood always raise plenty of cash. This is about a pastor who thinks putting the community in harm’s way is better for his religion than preaching to an empty church and live-streaming it. He’d rather see people get sick or die than be mildly inconvenienced because that’s what Christianity teaches him to do.
It should be mentioned that churches aren’t the only places where these restrictions apply. It’s not like other religious groups are allowed to meet, but churches are not. Shiflett is deliberately packing people into his building beyond what’s allowed so he can pretend to be persecuted.
Even his lawyer is playing dumb:
David Gibbs III of the National Center for Life and Liberty and legal counsel for Calvary Baptist told the local CBS station: “If Walmart’s open, it’s time for the churches to be open.”
Walmart has food and clothes and other necessities. People aren’t standing out to congregate. They’re getting what they need, while wearing masks, and getting the hell out.
Shiflett is running a book club. He can do it from a distance. He’s choosing not to, because ripping up paper from your home office never looks as dramatic as doing it in front of a crowd.
What a weak, pathetic pastor. Pity his even more deluded congregation. They’re the ones who stand to suffer most because of his selfish protest.