July 11, 2024

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July 11, 2024

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City Pays Costly Settlement For COVID-19 Arrests of Maskless Churchgoers

Town officials in Moscow, Idaho have agreed to pay a $300,000 settlement following the arrests of three maskless Christians in September 2020 who sang hymns from the City Hall parking lot to protest the town’s COVID-19 masking policy.

Gabriel Rench and Sean and Rachel Bohnet were arrested on Sept. 23, 2020 for their part in a “Psalm sing” protest organized by Christ Church, including nearly 200 participants. Rench, a deacon at Christ Church, and the Bohnets filed a lawsuit against the city and several of its employees for violation of their constitutional rights.

During a settlement conference, the presiding judge emphasized that the plaintiffs were wrongfully arrested and the city had misinterpreted its own code. The judge noted that the city had given incorrect advice to its officers about the application of the code, and the plaintiffs were reasonable in their damage requests.

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Rench, who moved to Moscow in 2002 to attend the University of Idaho, expressed his gratefulness for the settlement but maintained his concern about the astronomical cost to city taxpayers. “I am glad this shameful saga is over, but unfortunately at a high cost to the city taxpayers,” he said in a press release. “I estimate that the city spent about $500,000 of city resources on this fight, including the mediated settlement.”

The Idaho Counties Risk Management Program (ICRMP), the city’s liability insurance provider, determined that a financial settlement was the most expedient and cost-effective way to resolve the suit.

Under the terms of the agreement, the ICRMP will pay $300,000, and all claims against the city and the employees named in the lawsuit will be dismissed, along with a release of all liability, as stated in a July 14 press release by the city of Moscow.

The settlement was signed by the city’s supervisor, city attorney, chief of police and several city employees, according to a statement by Rench.

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Editor’s Note: Why Is This News Biblically Relevant?

David Fiorazo reported on a statement signed by numerous pastors “promising to keep their churches open the next time government tries controlling worship or shutting down services.”

Fiorazo underscored the necessity of Churches and the importance of sharing the Gospel in the face of government censorship:

We will never shut down our churches again! This is what hundreds of pastors from across the country are saying because of how American churches were declared nonessential and treated unfairly when the [coronavirus] broke out a few years back.

These men and other bold pastors declare the government violated the U.S. Constitution during the pandemic by ordering churches to close, and then by limiting where and how-many people could attend services.

Hebrews 10:25 encourages believers to stir up one another and to not forsake meeting together. In other words, keep gathering, keep assembling, keep preaching, and do the work of the church in your community.

The gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16) and must not be kept behind church walls! The church must be the church and not be silent. True believers must do the work God called us to do – even in the face of discrimination, hate, intolerance, and persecution. 

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Of News Events Around The World.

ACLU Lawsuit Against Louisiana Inadvertently Draws More Public Attention To God’s Law

The ACLU, in wanting to sue the state of Louisiana, has done us a great favor. Their lawsuit was big news in the secular media, and so the Ten Commandments have been featured in many outlets. God is still turning what men mean for evil into that which is for the good.

‘Christian Palestinianism’ And The Bondage Of Bad Theology

For the international church, where you fall on this war isn’t a choice between Jews and Palestinian Christians, as Christian Palestinianism claims.  This is a choice between Judeo-Christian values or Radical Islam. It's a choice between the true freedom found in the word of God rightly divided, or the bondage of bad theology. 

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We May Face Mockery, But Jesus Will Reward Our Watchfulness

Everything will change after the Rapture; the Lord will reward our steadfastness in watching for His appearing. His special recognition of our faithfulness will replace the mocking that now rings in our ears.

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Town officials in Moscow, Idaho have agreed to pay a $300,000 settlement following the arrests of three maskless Christians in September 2020 who sang hymns from the City Hall parking lot to protest the town’s COVID-19 masking policy.

Gabriel Rench and Sean and Rachel Bohnet were arrested on Sept. 23, 2020 for their part in a “Psalm sing” protest organized by Christ Church, including nearly 200 participants. Rench, a deacon at Christ Church, and the Bohnets filed a lawsuit against the city and several of its employees for violation of their constitutional rights.

During a settlement conference, the presiding judge emphasized that the plaintiffs were wrongfully arrested and the city had misinterpreted its own code. The judge noted that the city had given incorrect advice to its officers about the application of the code, and the plaintiffs were reasonable in their damage requests.