A video is going viral this week showing the moment a fed-up pastor ripped up a cease-and-desist letter right in the middle of his sermon on Wednesday night.
Stacey Shiflett, a pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Dundalk, Maryland, ripped up a letter threatening his church with a $5,000 fine if services were held. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan had announced last week that houses of worship could open at 50 percent capacity, but he left the timing of this up to local jurisdictions, according to Fox News.
More than 100 congregants showed up for Shiflett’s service in the 600-capacity sanctuary, meaning they were in compliance with Hogan’s order. However, they were still defying Baltimore County Department of Health and Human Services’ order.
Video Shiflett posted to Twitter shows him shredding the letter as he preaches, “With this cease-and-desist letter in my hand, the Bible says to the New Testament church ‘not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together as the manner of some is, but so much more as you see the day approaching,’ and the closer we get to Jesus coming back, the more church we ought to be having, not less church.”
“Now that’s God’s parameters,” he added. “So I’m tearing up this cease-and-desist order right here, and I’m telling you right now, we’re gonna do it God’s way! God tells us how to worship Him, nobody else gets to do that.”
— Stacey Shiflett 🇺🇸 (@staceyshiflett) May 21, 2020
Shiflett said afterward that he had no regrets about what he did. “Either we have liberty to worship or we have permission to worship,” the pastor said. “It has become abundantly clear that if we settle for permission, we will never have liberty again.”
He went on to add that many churches in his area plan to reopen this weekend, and that he will be attending a ReOpen Maryland freedom rally on Friday after being invited by organizers to come and pray. “We’re challenging our local officials to render the church essential so we can get our doors back open,” Shiflett said.
Regardless of what happens, Shiflett has no intention of budging. “I don’t plan on shutting the church,” he said. “If they fine us, I’m not paying it. It’s unconstitutional. They don’t have a leg to stand on.” Americans are more frustrated than ever with the overbearing restriction lockdowns, and it’s becoming clear that they can’t go on much longer. It’s time for this madness to end, and for all of us to get back to our normal lives.