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By Force: California Government Fines a Determined Church Until It Surrenders

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When you’re under fire from government, at what point do you surrender?

What if your mission, according to your convictions, is divine?

Such has been a question for North Valley Baptist Church.

The Santa Clara house of worship’s been holding in-person services for weeks, as it fought the county and its mandate to stop.

In a viral August Facebook video, Jack Trieber — senior pastor of the 3,000-person California congregation — asked officials to “back off”:

Despite his pleas, fines kept coming.

In fact, charges have crossed the six-figures point.

And the church has now agreed to meet in the parking lot.

But James Williams — counsel for the county — told The Mercury News North Valley’s indoor stance was completely unnecessary:

“The reality that churches and other religious institutions across our county were successfully holding outdoor services, drive-in services, remote services — and have been — just completely undermines the notion that they needed to have an indoor gathering and create that huge risk of danger.”

The fines have ceased, but — as per The Daily Wire — what’s accumulated is still owed.

The pastor’s relayed to worshipers that senators gave him Trump’s cell number for help. But he doesn’t want to get the President involved.

He also called off a campaign aimed at flooding county accounts with more than a million emails.

He explained to The Christian Post:

“I don’t wish anything evil to happen with authorities.”

Jack said he “felt led of God” to stop resisting.

Sunday evening, he announced, “Tonight was the right decision to move out here.”

As a result, Santa Clara’s dropped their lawsuit.

Previously, as noted by the Post, “The church was being fined $5,000 for every service it held as well as fines for other violations such as singing.”

Some would surely say the church should’ve convened outdoors from the start.

But is it the government’s prerogative to force such a thing?

As the Wire reported September 6th, “Santa Clara County public health officials, who had slipped into one of their services to observe them, described the singing as ‘unlawful activity.’ According to a four-page notice that was plastered on the church’s door, their group worship was an offense that they must ‘immediately cease.’ The government also warned that ‘failure to do so will result in enforcement action by the county.’”

Jack lamented the situation in August 24th’s video:

“To do this to a church…California preachers, we have rendered unto Caesar the things that are Caesar, and we have rendered unto God through our tithes and offerings, which is His.”

When Gov. Gavin Newsom first issued a moratorium on in-person services, Jack purportedly ceased meeting altogether. Also shuttered: the church’s children’s ministry, K4-through-12 Christian school, public school ministry, college, jail ministry, bus ministry, nursing home ministry, and visitation — both hospital and door-to-door.

But at some point, as Jack indicated in the video, it was time to once again gather.

“[I]’m in charge of the spiritual health of the people in this city and in this area. I’ve been trying to do it for 45 years. Though health is [of the] utmost importance, spiritual health is supreme. Because we’ve been locked out in this county of churches, suicide is up, domestic violence, addiction is up, homelessness is up, alcoholism is up. We need to get back to worshiping God. I am commanded to worship God.”

And now, by the government, he’s commanded to pay over $100,000.

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