SANTA CLARA, CA – After the Santa Clara County Public Health Office posted a cease and desist letter on North Valley Baptist Church’s doors on Friday, August 21, the government has now fined the church $52,750 as of September 1, according to a Liberty Counsel press release.
The release said the charges include $5,000 per in-person service and additional violations for not social distancing, although it is practiced in the auditorium that seats 3,000 people, and singing.
Pastor Jack Trieber said in the release, “The first three words of the Constitution are ‘We the People.’ Not we the government. The government works for the people. We have the right to assemble before God. Not only do we have a constitutional right, we have a biblical command.”
Pastor Trieber has served at North Valley Baptist Church for 45 years. In March, when Governor Newsom issued a total prohibition on religious worship services, regardless of the number attending or whether social distancing and personal hygiene practices were followed, including attendance at in-home worship services. North Valley Baptist Church ceased its in-person worship services, K4 through 12 Christian school, college, bus ministry, jail ministry, public school ministry, nursing home ministry, door-to-door visitation, hospital visitation, children’s ministries and Sunday School, per the release.
“We wanted to err on the side of safety so we shut down everything. And we closed down as we were instructed,” said Pastor Trieber in the release.
However, now that the church is meeting again, the release said, he has been forced to risk imprisonment and incur unconstitutional fees in order to stand for God and for his congregation.
Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said in the release, “As a result of Governor Newsom’s unconstitutional orders, North Valley Baptist Church is now incurring horrendous fees for simply exercising its First Amendment right to worship. Yet, Gov. Newsom supports tens of thousands of protestors, saying ‘God bless you. Keep doing it.’ This is wrong, and the governor’s unconstitutional hostility and discrimination against religious worship must end.”