Church Gets the Boot by County Government
My wife, Gena, and I discovered this past week that in her small mountain hometown in Plumas County, California, our pastor’s church was kicked out of the county building it had been renting for Sunday church services. What’s disgusting is that the eviction is engulfed in political moves to stop the church from meeting there.
Mt. Lassen Community Church started last Easter, spearheaded by some long-term residents and respected community leaders, including teachers, law enforcement, principals, business owners, community activists and our pastor and former chaplain.
They rented a county-run and taxpayer-funded public recreational building, built in 2012, to meet in for a few hours every Sunday morning. After two months of meeting there, they were blessed by being given (free and clear) an old closed-down theater building. But instead of initially moving the church services there, those church leaders, who loved their community and raised their families in the vicinity, decided to gift the old theater building’s primary use back to the community. They created a separate nonprofit theater (Mt. Lassen Theatre) to help bolster the small town’s flailing economy and encourage community involvement among youths and other local businesses.
It was a perfect plan to help small-town America until the county government decided to prioritize its own projects over the people’s needs.
Instead of supporting the local constituency and these great nonprofit endeavors, the county government was bent on renovating a kitchen in the recreational building that was built in 2012, which would allegedly take several months to finish and shut down the entire building. Then the kitchen renovation grew into a few more nonessential projects, which would take several more months to complete. And the church leaders were given a 30-day eviction notice (effective Jan. 1) with no contract to return.
Of course, the county’s eviction notice “provided another option” (at least for the county) by offering the church a 70-year-old badly insulated, dilapidated community hall across town in that snow country for the same rental price as the new recreational building. And there was one more major problem and catch: There was nowhere for the church’s nursery and kids class to meet in that community hall besides an old kitchen area full of items that could risk child safety.
The church members had no other choice, if for no other reason than their concern for the babies and children. They were forced to occupy the theater building and postpone its complete renovation and theater opening because of the immediacy of their disposal during a busy Christmas season and because there was no other building in their small town suitable for the new and growing church, its nursery and its classrooms.
(On WorldNetDaily, which has an expanded version of this column, you can read roughly a dozen bullet points about several additional spurious county actions taken to politicize and soft-pedal the church’s eviction from the county’s recreational building, starting before the church even met in it. Go to http://www.wnd.com/2015/01/
I guess I’ve just become too conspiratorial in an age of White House cover-ups, but something doesn’t smell right in the county zoo cage!
As I wrote in my New York Times best-seller “Black Belt Patriotism,” our Founding Fathers created the First Amendment to prohibit government from infringing upon our religious practices and free speech. What doesn’t the county government get about the fact that its duty is not to prohibit “the free exercise” of religion or “the right of the people peaceably to assemble”?
Case in point, here’s what Thomas Jefferson (the so-labeled chief of all separatists) and James Madison (“the Father of the Constitution”) practiced and had to say about churches meeting in civic buildings. Warning: For those who don’t know, the following information might leave you in shock over where Jefferson and Madison (and other founders) met for church services throughout their presidencies.
The Library of Congress website states the following (italics mine):
“It is no exaggeration to say that on Sundays in Washington during the administrations of Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809) and of James Madison (1809-1817) the state became the church. Within a year of his inauguration, Jefferson began attending church services in the House of Representatives. Madison followed Jefferson’s example, although unlike Jefferson, who rode on horseback to church in the Capitol, Madison came in a coach and four. Worship services in the House — a practice that continued until after the Civil War — were acceptable to Jefferson because they were nondiscriminatory and voluntary. Preachers of every Protestant denomination appeared. (Catholic priests began officiating in 1826.) As early as January 1806 a female evangelist, Dorothy Ripley, delivered a camp meeting-style exhortation in the House to Jefferson, Vice President Aaron Burr, and a ‘crowded audience.’ Throughout his administration Jefferson permitted church services in executive branch buildings. The Gospel was also preached in the Supreme Court chambers.
“Jefferson’s actions may seem surprising because his attitude toward the relation between religion and government is usually thought to have been embodied in his recommendation that there exist ‘a wall of separation between church and state.’ In that statement, Jefferson was apparently declaring his opposition, as Madison had done in introducing the Bill of Rights, to a ‘national’ religion. In attending church services on public property, Jefferson and Madison consciously and deliberately were offering symbolic support to religion as a prop for republican government.”
So much for separation of church and state!
The following is the contact information for those officials in my wife’s home county:
Please also write those local church and theater community leaders back in my wife’s hometown, and consider helping them raise the funds to find a new place to meet and restore that old theater for their community’s benefit. Maybe patriots everywhere will consider donating one of the theater’s engraved foundational bricks, mentioned on its website, with the words “For God and country” inscribed on them and then list their hometown’s name. If you’d like to help out, go to http://www.mtlassentheatre.org
Friends and fellow countrymen, it’s time to fight back against local and national government that opposes your First Amendment rights and simultaneously help small-town America and our country at large in doing so.
What happened in my wife’s hometown could happen in yours next.
Follow Chuck Norris through his official social media sites, on Twitter @chucknorris and Facebook’s “Official Chuck Norris Page.” He blogs at http://chucknorrisnews.