Exclusive — Christian Arrested in Idaho During Pandemic: ‘God Calls Us to Have Courage’

Christian Arrested During Pandemic Gabriell Rench
Moscow Report/Facebook

Moscow, Idaho city officials spray-painted circles six feet apart in Friendship Square in anticipation of another Christ Church psalm sing in front of city hall in September of 2020.

During the outdoor worship service, three maskless Christians were handcuffed and placed in jail. Last week, the city of Moscow settled with the three Christians for $300,000 in a lawsuit they filed against the city in March 2021, alleging that their rights under the First and Fourth Amendments were violated.

“They had to take my hymn book out of my hands to handcuff me… I just remember that moment was so trippy for me,” Gabriel Rench recounted to Breitbart News in an exclusive interview this week. Rench was one of the Christians who was arrested at the event, along with Sean and Rachel Bohnet. 

Video footage shows Rench and the Bohnets getting put in handcuffs while the members of the congregation peacefully sing, following along in their hymn booklets. At the time, the arrests garnered criticism by then President Donald Trump on Twitter. The trio were charged with violating the city’s coronavirus pandemic health ordinance, and they were detained for a couple of hours. 

“It was pretty incredible. They had never cited anybody in our town with a ticket. Never in the six months that this had gone on, since March. So when we got there that night, in my wildest dreams, I never thought I would get arrested,” Rench said.  

A magistrate judge dismissed the city’s charges against the three, saying they “should never have been arrested in the first place.” Exemptions to the ordinance existed, including religious activity and other activities protected under both the United States Constitution and the Idaho State Constitution. 


“They’ve learned a little bit of a lesson they won’t admit — I definitely think they’re more cautious to do stuff like this now,” Rench said of city officials. “But I still wouldn’t put it past them to continue to (go after Christians). 

Rench, a family man from Texas and the host of the CrossPolitic TV Show, talked to Breitbart News about how what happened to him in Moscow, a small liberal university town, is a “microcosm” of the nationwide cultural — and theological — battle, and called on conservatives and Christians to stand up to snowballing tyranny.

“It’s a war between liberals and conservatives — but it’s really a proxy war,” he said. “The real war is actually between liberals and Christians because liberals don’t believe in an absolute truth. Liberals believes in an unlimited sexual preference-world…You can do anything with your body. You can cut and paste like Mr. Potato Head. There’s a real lust that’s driving the liberals: you see it in their sexuality, and you see it in their lust for abortion.”

“And when someone is in the grip of lust, you can’t reason with them…so I think as the intensity of the cultural war grows, it’s actually going to end up being liberals [against] Christians because Christians have an absolute truth. Christians have a value system that pushes back against the lust of our times…” 

Rench warned that “when communication breaks down in a society, that’s when wars happen.”

“We can’t have a reasonable dialogue. Well, the next step is going to be coercion. You’re seeing this with [President Joe] Biden’s administration. They’re coercing through their laws, through breaking laws, through the Department of Justice [DOJ],” he said.

“I mean, that’s what happened with our city council. I reasoned with our city council. I sent them tons of emails. I met with our sheriff. I met with our chief of police. I tried to have a dialogue with them. No one would — they would just shut [me] down and not listen and ignore the data [I] brought them,” he continued. “… And then they went to coercion when they had me arrested. So that pattern is baked into the cultural cake if you don’t let the Lordship of Jesus deal with the emotional lust that is driving our culture right now.”

“I don’t want a war. I want peace,” he added. “I want to end this cultural battle through the peace that Christ brings our hearts.”

Despite Moscow being a liberal enclave, Rench said his church has seen a major increase in new members since his arrest because believers from around the country are seeking churches that stand up to tyranny in an evangelical desert of wishy-washy churches.

“People are finding out about Moscow, moving there because of the church community,” he said. “In the last 40 years, you have a bunch of pastors who had knowledge in their head, but not in their heart…and so you have this whole generation of pastors who basically became cowards during COVID and wouldn’t protect their congregation…”

Rench said he is convinced that if every church had stood against lockdown orders during the pandemic, the government would not have been as successful at taking away basic liberties. For timid Christians who are afraid of persecution or being arrested the way he was, Rench noted that “God calls us to have courage,” and recommended believers “get knowledgeable about what the scripture says about resisting your government or resisting your elders or your pastor, because no authority is absolute — God’s authority is the only absolute authority on this earth.”

“The first place you need to have courage is confessing your own sins, like dealing with sins in your heart, dealing with sins in your flesh, dealing with your own sins in your family, between mom and dad, between the kids. Courage first starts with your own battle against sin, and then you’re that much more prepared to deal with courage in the world,” he said. 

“Over these next 20 years, I think Christians are going to have a lot of opportunities to demonstrate courage,” he added. 

Katherine Hamilton is a political reporter for Breitbart News. You can follow her on Twitter @thekat_hamilton.


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