Churches only have a finite amount of resources, and hiring lawyers to argue before judges on issues the government has no authority is a poor allocation of those resources. The government has no authority to bar churches from gathering, impose dress codes on congregants, ban singing, or any ordinances prescribed by God. Yet majority of churches in the United States believe otherwise, that the government is head of the church, not Christ.
The latest Supreme Court decision delivers another blow to religious liberty in the United States, this time specifically attacking a NARpostle church led by Che Ahn out in California. The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 granting relief against California’s ban on indoor gatherings, but they maintain the capacity caps and the ban on singing. Justice Roberts sided with the church, ultimately undermining freedom. How the Supreme Court works is that the Chief Justice decides who writes the majority opinion, and if the Chief Justice is in the minority, the senior most justice on the majority decides. In this case, Justice Roberts sided with the majority denying Justice Thomas from writing or delegating the words of the court’s opinion.
However, it is unclear how much of a difference John Roberts makes. The Republican appointed justices cannot even agree on the First Amendment anymore. This further proves my words after Grace Community Church lost one of their court cases. I wrote on why this was a good thing.
Make no mistake, courts are political institutions and always have been. They are not legal institutions. A quick read through the Declaration of Independence reveals the numerous grievances against the courts because they were political institutions for the King or Parliament. American history has long told the story of how political our courts are. Judges are politicians whether at the Supreme Court or the local level. That is why they are so comfortable conjuring law. As politicians, they recognize that issues need resolving and Congress is doing nothing, so they act accordingly.
Since judges are politicians, if churches call defy them, courts are left with their pants pulled down. It will then be up to the executive branch to decide what the law is. This is the only effective way to apply a check and balance on the judiciary in modern day: outright defiance. President’s Lincoln and Jackson both defied the courts, rejecting their ability to conjure law. And if the courts get their pants pulled down, they are far more likely to keep quiet on these matters. If churches openly defy the courts and the executive branch refuses to enforce, then judges will not pick such a feeble battle. As for Grace Community Church, its size is a strength that makes enforcement far more difficult. There is strength in numbers, and this is more true when it’s brothers and sisters in Christ.
There is no recourse to be found in the courts. The recourse we seek is at hand. Christ is head of the church. So churches need to act accordingly. The government has no authority over ecclesiastical matters, therefore, they have no authority to hold hearings over them. Instead of fighting unconstitutional lockdown restrictions in court, fight them on the streets. Meet in person anyway. Sing to the Lord a new song. There is strength in numbers, so hang together or hang separately.
The reliance on the courts to save us from our tyranny is effeminate cowardice. It shows an unwillingness to suffer even in the slightest for the gospel and the church. Instead, ignoring the governments ecclesiastical decrees is the path foreword, but it takes a courage to stand.