‘Let them drag us out’ – 2 Camden County churches to resume services
Two Camden County churches will be resuming services, despite a state order barring houses of worship from holding gatherings during the pandemic.
Pastor Charles Clark Jr. says that services at Solid Rock Baptist Church in Berlin will resume this weekend.
“If they come in and drag out us, let them drag us out,” he says.
Solid Rock Baptist Church has joined forces with Bible Baptist Church in Clementon. Bible Baptist held its first service on Sunday and planned to hold another service Wednesday evening.
“We’re opening our doors. We’re having service tonight at 7 p.m. We’re prepared to stand for what is right. For what is true and we’re prepared to face whatever consequences those are and if necessary go to court,” says Pastor Andy Reese.
The pastors say that they are following the steps other churches around the country have taken and say that they believe that their religious rights in the Constitution exempt them from Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive order.
“The First Amendment and federal statutory law prohibit discrimination against religious institutions and religious believers,” says Solid Rock Pastor Charles Clark III. “Government may not impose special restrictions on religious activity that do not also apply to similar non-religious activity.”
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Solid Rock pastors say that they have worked to sanitize the church and have alerted congregants of their new guiltiness, which include requiring all worshipers to wear masks, have their temperatures checked at the door and social distancing families in the pews.
“We’re telling our seniors, ‘Listen, stay home. No pressure.’ We’re telling our families, ‘Come whenever you feel comfortable,’ and we’ll continue to run our live stream services,” says Clark III.
Clark III says that if the church’s rights are not recognized, they will file a lawsuit.