Mega church Pastor Brian Gibson of HIS Church announced on Monday that his churches in Texas and Kentucky will hold in-person services on Sunday, May 17, and is calling on congregations nationwide to join him.
Gibson recently launched “Peaceably Gather,” encouraging church leaders to sign a petition and stand in solidarity to resume in-person church services. The petition notes that the Constitution “guarantees freedom of religion and the right to assemble peacefully” and encourages congregations across the country to pledge to “exercise these sacred rights on Sunday, May 17th for Peaceably Gather Sunday.”
“Your church will be open, and will welcome all healthy people in your communities to attend and physically participate in services,” it states.
The “Peacefully Gather” petition acknowledges that restrictions vary from state to state but adds that the legal watchdog group First Liberty Institute “will provide legal representation to Pastor Brian Gibson and any of his four churches in Texas and Kentucky that are targeted by local governments for practicing their Constitutional rights to gather and worship.” It encourages other churches to reach out to the group, which will to offer its services “free of charge.”
Gibson said in a statement:
People in churches, mosques and synagogues have been told that, regardless of any social distancing or protective practices they implement, they can not gather, with threats of retribution from local governments if they don’t keep their doors closed.
It is a “deliberate slap in the face to religious freedom, that a Costco or Walmart can have hundreds of people inside their building at any one time, but places of worship and people of faith can’t be trusted to implement the same safety procedures in their own buildings,” he said.
“The right to exercise our religious freedoms is the definition of Essential and must not be trampled on, and every Sunday that we aren’t in church we lose more freedom,” Gibson continued.
“On May 17th people of faith can exercise the appropriate social distancing and sanitary approaches, but most importantly they must exercise the Constitutional approach,” he added, warning that “rights not fought for will eventually be lost.”