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Thanksgiving bloglibumneduHappy Thanksgiving to all my American readers … 

… wherever you might be experiencing lockdown.

I wish all of you a good day, however different it might be in 2020.

Lately, I’ve been watching Howie Carr every weekday on YouTube to find out how the election results are going.

Even now, Joe Biden is not yet president-elect. For the media, he is more like the president-select (all credit to Howie).

President Trump still occupies that spot, at least until January 2021, at least.

As I wrote this post, he rightly had a go at General ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis:

He highlighted Wisconsin’s suspicious election results …

… and pointed out a fact about the 27 House races that notional experts said Republicans would lose. Republicans won all 27:

He rightly celebrated the Dow Jones Industrial Average reaching 30,000 for the first time in history. Never let it be said that this was Joe Biden’s doing. It was Donald Trump’s policies that made this beautiful record landmark possible.

This is the ninth stock market record in 2020 and the 48th of the Trump administration:

President Trump pardoned the Thanksgiving turkey, a tradition that began in the 1860s during Abraham Lincoln’s administration when his son made friends with a turkey the Lincolns were planning to eat for Thanksgiving.

This year, a beautiful bird, Corn, came from Ames, Iowa, with his friend Cob — Corn and Cob, corncob — for the ceremony. They returned to Ames afterwards with the farmer who bred them:

Now back to Howie Carr, who also covers the latest coronavirus news on a daily basis.

Pity Americans who have to put up with Dr Anthony Fauci. Even Britons roll their eyes at his advice.

A disgusted English friend of mine scorned Fauci’s ‘don’t kill Granny’ advice. I shook my head at ‘a quarter of a million deaths’, which were revised downward drastically during the summer as being deaths with COVID and not of COVID. There’s a big difference:

Back to the ‘killing Granny’ narrative — this is the other side of the story for many elderly with younger family members:

Too right.

Here’s another choice morsel from Fauci:

I would love to know what Fauci is doing for Thanksgiving, but he doesn’t have a Twitter account and it is too painful listening to his idiocy.

As I write on Tuesday, Howie has been reading out the American resistance to lockdowns and restrictions from news articles. These detail how the great and the good have been dictating, sometimes under penalty of law, how people like you and me should live our lives with an illness that has the same fatality rates as the flu. Note that this does not mean coronavirus is synonymous with flu.

Never mind Fauci. American governors have become more brazen and authoritarian with every passing day, no more so than at one of the sacrosanct, inviolable national holidays: Thanksgiving Day, which is celebrated this year on Thursday, November 26.

Let us make the rounds, coast to coast, to see what these governors have been doing, starting on what used to be known as the Eastern seaboard.

Massachusetts

Republican — actually, RINO — governor Charlie Baker (Joe Biden calls him Charlie Parker) has been issuing various prohibitions for ages.

This is his advice to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (as it is officially known) for Thanksgiving, the kick-off to the holiday season, which ends in the US on New Year’s Day. I enjoyed the response to Baker’s advice — well said:

New York

Let’s move somewhat south to New York State.

Howie Carr plays the best clips of Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Cuomo’s monologues sound as if they are clips from horror movies until Howie says that they’re the governor’s pronouncements. Scary.

I don’t have any of those audio clips, but Cuomo’s tweets about Thanksgiving are unintentionally amusing.

Before I go there, however, let’s look back to the beginning of the month, two days before the election on Tuesday, November 3.

There was a massive Trump car rally on the bridge named for his father, Mario Cuomo.

As far as I am concerned, the Governor Mario M Cuomo Bridge will always be the TAPPAN ZEE BRIDGE.

This was held in the rain. I embraced the enthusiasm and wished I could have been there:

The current Gov Cuomo, a Dem, as was his father, does not like the fact that President Trump has been able to announce two coronavirus vaccines:

On Friday, November 20, a group of business owners in Buffalo, upstate near Canada, told sheriffs and one or more notional health inspectors to get lost.

Gateway Pundit reported, in part, that the business owners were in a gym. Gyms are/were currently closed because of the Chi-vi (emphases mine below):

Business owners in Buffalo, New York fed up with Cuomo’s authoritarian Covid lockdown orders asserted their Constitutional rights and kicked out sheriffs and “health inspectors” on Friday night.

50 business owners gathered inside of a shuttered gym in Buffalo, New York Friday night when two sheriffs and a so-called ‘health inspector’ showed up to harass the group in response to an “anonymous tip.”

The business owners shouted down and kicked out the health inspector and the told the sheriffs to come back with a warrant.

Well done!

The story comes from the Buffalo News.

This brings us to Thanksgiving.

Cuomo warned New Yorkers to stay at home within their own households, so much so that the New York Post reported that there are big window decals with a photo of Cuomo snooping in people’s homes, accompanied by an image of a turkey.

Interestingly, the company that makes the decals is also located in Buffalo:

One upstate company wants Gov. Andrew Cuomo to be the biggest turkey at your Thanksgiving dinner this year.

The Buffalo-based design firm Custom 716 is selling stickers of the governor’s face that can be put on a window to make it look like Cuomo is peering inside — presumably to make sure not too many people are there to celebrate the holiday this year.

The sticker is a clear way of ripping Cuomo for demanding that New York families avoid gathering in large groups for the holiday out of fears of spreading COVID-19.

“Great for all gatherings, sure to get laughs, great for your business or your home!” they write about the $10 sticker on their firm’s website.

“$10 and I will mail it to you for free, or pick up is available. Located in North Tonawanda, NY,” the description reads, offering a promo code allowing customers to bypass the $8.05 shipping and handling fee.

Cuomo has been begging New Yorkers to spend Turkey Day alone, warning the coronavirus’s rapid spread has increased in part thanks to small, indoor gatherings in recent months as the weather has turned slightly chillier.

“It’s your family, it’s your home, it’s your table — these are all environments where you feel safe and that’s the beauty of Thanksgiving,” he said during a phone conference briefing with reporters Thursday.

“Your safe zone is not a safe zone, your safe zone is dangerous this year.”

When you hear the audio of him saying that (thanks to Howie), it sends chills down the spine.

Fortunately:

politicians and law enforcement agents across the state … argue it’s nearly impossible to enforce caps on indoor, private gatherings.

At the time, Cuomo included himself in that diktat:

However, a few days later, Andrew Cuomo announced big plans for a family get together. Hmm, interesting:

Here’s a tweet, including a photo of the snoop decal from Buffalo. Note the ‘for thee, but not for me’ response from someone living in Governor Pritzker’s fiefdom of Illinois (see below):

Howie Carr said on Tuesday, November 24 that Cuomo got so much blow back from New Yorkers that his family’s plans for a communal turkey dinner changed. One of his daughters would not be attending (H/T Gateway Pundit):

Aww.

Also:

His daughter, wearing a tee shirt with ‘New York tough’ emblazoned across it, tweeted:

The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reported:

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo abruptly canceled his Thanksgiving plans Monday, less than two hours after revealing he planned to spend the holiday with his mother and two of his daughters.

During a radio interview Monday around 3:45 p.m., Cuomo revealed his “current plan” for the holiday: His 89-year-old mother, Matilda, and two of his three daughters, Michaela and Cara, are planning on joining him in Albany.

By 5:30 p.m., Cuomo nixed the gathering entirely.

Good.

Hypocrisy is most unbecoming.

New Jersey

Just west of New York, across the Hudson River, New Jersey’s governor Phil Murphy was accosted by angry diners when he was eating out with his family and appearing without a mask. New Jersey has had a particularly arduous lockdown.

Remember, Phil Murphy won’t have to worry about where his next meal is coming from. The taxpayers are footing his bill:

Murphy, who, Howie Carr says, attended the same high school and college as Massachusetts’s Charlie Baker, is still trying to frighten his state’s residents:

His wife is at it, too:

I couldn’t agree more about the gaslighting.

North Carolina

Moving several hundred miles south, North Carolina’s Governor Roy Cooper approves of business closures in Greensboro:

On Monday, November 23, he issued a Thanksgiving sermonette on the ‘stay at home’ theme, most of which follows. Like the UK, he has a colour-based ‘tier’ designation:

With that sort of warning, what North Carolina resident could possibly want to go through with (gasp) a family or friend oriented Thanksgiving dinner?

Amazingly, people in North Carolina have not been able to attend church — or any sort of celebration — for nine months. He has the nerve to tell them to keep it up ‘just a bit longer’ — for November 2021. Good grief:

Governor Cooper has even better news for the run-up to Christmas:

Excellent response.

Illinois

Let’s travel around 1,000 miles northwest to Illinois.

Governor JB Pritzker comes from a family of real estate moguls. As one would expect, he can escape Illinois, lovely as it is, to take a break at family properties elsewhere.

Last summer, he defied his own executive order to take part in a protest in Chicago. Pritzker is the man in the blue and white checked shirt in the second photo below:

More recently, Howie Carr said that Pritzker’s immediate family have been spotted at their Florida farm which has horses that his children can ride. Howie, now a Florida resident, lives in the vicinity.

Hmm.

A Republican congressman from Illinois called out Pritzker:

Someone replied:

Fortunately, Pritzker’s and Illinois’s directives, such as these …

… are being ignored. Just look at Chicago’s O’Hare airport:

Well done!

Gee, 20 years on, the TSA still have their checkpoint. Why didn’t President Trump ever repeal the Patriot Act? ‘There’s a there there’, no doubt.

For those Illinois residents who will not be travelling for Thanksgiving, there is no absolution if you live in Chicago. On November 15, a spokeswoman from Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office said, ‘You are the problem; you are putting everyone at risk’ (see the 11-second mark):

Yet, anecdotally, the vast majority of Chicagoans are wearing masks:

Speaking of masks:

Chicago — the Windy City — which is also darned chilly at this time of year, is pushing OUTDOOR dining in a TWO-sided tent!

You could not make this advice up:

As for Thanksgiving dinners, Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot has cancelled them. She is pictured in the photo above with Governor Pritzker at a June 2020 protest. Note that CNN has not shown the official US COVID-19 death count, which is still at ‘with’ + ‘of’, as it was last summer:

Interestingly, during lockdown in April, Madame Mayor felt compelled to get her hair cut when she had told ordinary Chicagoans that hairdressing was non-essential. See the Daily Mail report from April 12, complete with photo of her with her hairdresser, no social distancing required.

Washington

Let’s leave the Midwest for the West Coast, starting in the most northern state, Washington, home to Seattle, the site of much summer mayhem.

Governor Jay Inslee, who did not oppose said summer mayhem, is now telling Washington residents not to get together for Thanksgiving. This advert is unbelievable:

COVID-19 can find you everywhere! Woo-oo!

Inslee thanks Washington residents for not celebrating one of America’s two most historic holidays this year. The reply is excellent:

Oregon

The state immediately south of Washington is Oregon.

There Governor Kate Brown is all in for the deadly coronavirus narrative, especially at Thanksgiving:

On Monday, November 23, she asked for Oregonians to snitch on each other at Thanksgiving.

Hot Air has the story, first reported in the Washington Times. Reporter Jazz Shaw says:

I guess nobody told Oregon Governor Kate Brown about the old rule regarding snitches and stitches. With the holidays fast approaching and an increasing number of citizens growing tired of government mandates forbidding them from gathering with friends and family to celebrate, Brown is concerned that people may simply ignore her orders and gather around the feast table anyway. So what’s an autocratic executive to do? The answer is as simple as pumpkin pie. She’d like people to keep an eye out for large gatherings in their neighborhood and call the police if they see any suspiciously large, turkey-related activity going on. That’s an idea that’s sure to put everyone in the holiday spirit, right? (Washington Times)

This must be one of the snottiest adverts about family ever made. See what you think. A photo of the governor follows (she’s not the one with the pink gloves):

Let us not forget that Portland has had mayhem going on since June. Every doggone night for months on end:

California

The most blatant nose-thumbing has come from California’s governor Gavin Newsom, who with the co-operation of mayors and county officials has kept the Golden State under lockdown for most of the year, with most counties at the top two highest tier levels during that time.

The status holds true, if not worse, even now:

Meanwhile, Governor Newsom has been releasing prisoners sporadically because they are in danger of catching COVID-19. Forget about law-abiding citizens:

One used to think California voters were being silly in continuing to vote in Democrats.

However, in recent years, a growing number of Americans think that Democrats have won so many elections because of voter fraud:

With regard to the curfew, at least one protest took place. This is from Huntington Beach:

Protests last summer in the state were acceptable to most, but the anti-lockdown and anti-curfew ones attract comment. Fortunately, some can discern the truth:

Newsom has seemingly bought into the mask narrative, even though that policy has not improved his state’s figures:

Exactly. Probably more adjusted statistics. We have them in the UK, too.

However, right now, more Californians are interested in Newsom’s social life during lockdown:

With regard to masks …

No one cares that the Newsom family is self-isolating for a fortnight:

The tweets kept coming and coming:

Newsom isn’t alone, it seems, in rule breaking. Is this the California state legislature? Yes, it is:

By the way, masks are probably not a good conversational topic for Thanksgiving. See this brief exchange:

But I digress.

The three-star French Laundry in Yountville (Napa Valley) is one of the world’s most famous restaurants.

In the 1920s, it was used as a French steam laundry, hence the name.

In the 1970s, the then-mayor of Yountville Don Schmitt and his wife Sally turned the building into a restaurant.

In 1994, the French chef Thomas Keller bought the restaurant and made it into the legend it is today.

Friends invited Gavin Newsom to the French Laundry for a birthday celebration on November 6 during California’s lockdown.

Talk about ‘for me, but not for thee’.

The Daily Caller reported:

Photos show the maskless governor of California dining indoors at one of the highest rated restaurants in the world despite his restrictive coronavirus guidelines for the citizens of California.

Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom can be seen dining at the Michelin-starred French Laundry on the evening of November 6, according to photos obtained by Fox LA. The restaurant, located in California’s Napa Valley, is considered “the pinnacle of California dining” and has been ranked the best restaurant in the world numerous times, according to various outlets.

Newsom has said the restaurant was outdoors, but FoxLA reported that the room’s glass sliding doors had been closed, making the dinner party indoors. Newsom’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The group was so loud that customers complained:

“While we were there we realized there was a very loud party going on in a room 20 feet from us,” the woman who took the photos told FoxLA. “It was a bit annoying since you’re spending hard-earned money to go there. It got louder and louder and so they had some sliding glass doors that they were able to close, so then it was a closed-off room but you could still hear them with how loud they were.”

She continued: “I just happened to look over and realize hey is that Gavin Newsom, who is that? And I did ask one of the waitresses and she confirmed it was, so I was able to take a couple of photos, I was able to document this especially since nobody was wearing a mask. It was a very large group of people shoulder to shoulder, something that he’s always telling us not to do so yeah it was a bit annoying for sure.”

Newsom has urged California residents to wear face masks “in between bites” at restaurants and announced Monday that California is “pulling an emergency brake” and mandating the most restrictive tier of coronavirus restrictions for more than two dozen California counties

The governor also warned that he would announce more COVID restrictions Friday ahead of Thanksgiving.

Newsom apologized Tuesday for attending the dinner party, calling it a “bad mistake” and saying that he became uncomfortable after arriving when he realized that the group was larger than he expected, according to FoxLA.

But the woman who took the photos said Newsom did not appear uncomfortable.

“I was surprised because it didn’t look like he was uncomfortable being there until the very end until people were looking at him and staring at him as he was leaving the room,” she told FoxLA.

Not surprisingly, the dinner made a splash in California’s media:

A few days ago, the California IBank had the nerve to tweet this. I applaud the reply:

That is so true.

Words fail me.

On Thanksgiving, when in doubt, eat more and add more butter.

I hope that those celebrating Thanksgiving can enjoy their dinner the best they can — with hearty gratitude. (Things could always be worse.)

Last week, I ran a series on the Revd John MacArthur and the court battle involving his Grace Community Church regarding indoor worship in Los Angeles County.

It seems as if John MacArthur is an outlier, with no support from clergy from other churches.

Last week ended on an optimistic note: ‘A court win for John MacArthur’s Grace Community Church’.

One of my readers, H E, sent in the following comment concerning religious and other restrictions during the coronavirus outbreak.

Some time ago, H E gave me permission to repost his comments, and I am happy to do so now. This is excellent (emphases mine below):

Thank you for your series of articles about Pastor John MacArthur and his court fight to permit his church to hold indoor services.

I concur with John Cheshire that it is disappointing that mainstream church bodies generally have not supported Pastor MacArthur’s efforts.

I live in the US. In elementary school, I was taught that the rights enumerated in the US Constitution (freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, etc) are inalienable, natural rights given by God (teachers could say ‘God’ in those days) which pre-exist and supersede civil law.

What troubles me is that governors and mayors in the US issued dictates that forbade a citizen from exercising his God-given rights, despite the fact that, at their inauguration, these officials swore to uphold the Constitution which guarantees free exercise of such rights. I live in the state of New Jersey. Our governor, Philip Murphy, stated on television that he had not considered the effect of his restrictive executive orders on the Bill of Rights. In that interview he stated “the Bill of Rights is above my pay grade.”

(As a sidebar, there have been no calls for the removal of Governor Murphy on the basis that either he lied when he swore to uphold the Constitution or he is incompetent. On the contrary, his approval rating is about 70%).

Policemen are sworn to uphold the law. Implicit in this oath is the understanding that a policeman should not enforce an illegal law. Nonetheless, policemen in New Jersey, acting on an executive order from the Governor, walked into a Jewish religious service, arrested the Rabbi, put him in handcuffs, and hauled him off to jail because he had the temerity to hold a religious service that violated the Governor’s dictates.

For the police to disrupt a religious service and arrest the person leading the service is appalling to me and unheard of in the US, in my personal experience. This is something I would expect to see in China. The legal system in the US is normally reluctant to interfere with religious activities and arrest religious leaders. (I understand that this is a reaction to the shameful way the courts and the police treated Mormons in the 1830s and 1840s). In fact, all one needs to do is to call himself ‘Reverend’ and establish a ‘church’ and he pretty much can do what he wishes. As an example, see Al Sharpton who for decades has been a political rabble rouser, but somehow is untouchable by the courts and the police.

It’s good that the court ruled in Pastor MacArthur’s favor. But what if it hadn’t? Would this mean that Pastor MacArthur’s inalienable right to assemble and worship God is void? How can this be? How can the exercise of one’s God-given, inalienable rights be dependent upon a decision of a local court judge, whose normal job duty is to adjudicate parking tickets?

In my opinion, the issue here is that there should never have been orders by local officials to close church services. They simply don’t have the legal authority to do this. And policemen should never have obeyed orders to enforce such unlawful directives.

The problem we face is that our society has devolved to the point where God-given, inalienable rights have been reduced to the level of municipal ordinances, subject to the whims of petty public officials.

How do we get our rights restored? Through the courts? I don’t see this as likely since the courts are an arm of the state and work to uphold the interests of the state against the citizens. Elect new representatives? We elected Donald Trump as President and the Deep State has blocked nearly every action he has tried to take. I don’t know what the answer is.

I replied:

I don’t have an answer, either …

I am not surprised, though, that other churches aren’t openly supporting John MacArthur, although, no doubt, they’ll gladly take any benefits accruing from a court decision in Grace Community Church’s favour.

First, most pastors in established denoms are left-wing. Secondly, the last thing they want to do is stick their heads above the parapet. A lot of those denominations have hierarchies, too, therefore, individual pastors cannot take those sorts of decisions independently.

The independent Evangelical pastors probably want a quiet life but will gladly let MacArthur do the heavy lifting and then reap the rewards any wins bring.

Today, by chance, I came across an article at LifeNews.com:

‘Judge Fines Church $3,000 for Holding Worship Service, But Abortion Clinics Can Kill Babies’ chronicles the stories of two other California churches that have fallen foul of the law recently. One is in Ventura County. The other is in Santa Clara County:

California Pastor Rob McCoy of Godspeak Calvary Chapel in Thousand Oaks appeared before Judge Vincent O’Neill in Superior Court of Ventura County on Friday, August 21 and was held in contempt of court.  Godspeak Calvary Chapel was fined $500 per three services, for two Sundays, or a total of $3,000.

Pastor McCoy received an order from a Ventura state judge on Friday, August 7, banning the church’s in-person services. Superior Court Judge Matthew Guasco issued a temporary restraining order to Pastor Rob McCoy, the Church, and Does 1-1000, along with anyone “acting in concert with them” who might attend worship in the future. Governor Gavin Newsom ordered no singing or chanting, and then ordered no worship, even in private homes with anyone who does not live in the home.

Godspeak Calvary Chapel (Church) held three worship services on Sunday, August 9 and August 16. An evidentiary hearing is set for Aug. 31.

North Valley Baptist Church in Santa Clara, California was also fined $5,000 for singing in each of the two worship services yesterday, although social distancing was practiced. The four-page letter posted on the front door of the church said, “North Valley Baptist is failing to prevent those attending, performing and speaking at North Valley Baptist’s services from singing. This activity is unlawful. The county understands that singing is an intimate and meaningful component of religious worship. However, public health experts have also determined that singing together in close proximity and without face coverings transmits virus particles further in the air than breathing or speaking quietly. The county demands that North Valley Baptist immediately cease the activities listed above and fully comply with the Risk Reduction Order, the Gatherings Directive, the State July 13 Order and the State guidance. Failure to do so will result in enforcement action by the county.”

Santa Clara County had North Valley Baptist Church under surveillance:

Santa Clara County acknowledged in its cease and desist letter they had been sending agents into the church to spy on the congregation during worship services.

In his defence, the church’s pastor pointed to the Bible:

Pastor Jack Trieber said, “You can’t have any law against assembling in God’s house. None. I know we have a Constitutional right to worship, but we have a Higher Power that we answer to. I have a biblical mandate. We have obeyed authority in this church. We’ve always obeyed authority. But when local authority begins to disregard this authority, we go with this book right here,” he said pointing at the Bible.

This is the crazy situation that Newsom has created during the coronavirus outbreak. You can meet in church for anything except worship:

Gov. Newsom’s orders allow the church to feed, shelter, and provide social services, but the same people in the same building cannot worship. In order words, non-religious services are acceptable but religious services are banned. People can receive food, but not take communion. People can be housed overnight, but cannot hold a short worship service, Bible study, or meet for prayer. People can receive counseling to find work but cannot be counseled on finding eternal life.

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “The same governor who encourages mass protests, bans all worship and is now fining churches for their right to assemble and worship. The same governor who says the church can meet for secular services, bans the church from having religious worship. This unconstitutional hostility against religious worship must end.”

Absolutely. I could not agree more.

Thank you, H E, for another excellent comment. The quotes from LifeNews.com reinforce your salient and important points on this topic.

It is cruel that, during a time when church becomes even more important during a life and death health situation, California’s governor forbids his residents from seeking communal solace in God and in Jesus Christ.

In late July 2020, the Revd John MacArthur resumed weekly services at his Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California.

The church is located in Los Angeles County.

At first, few people came, because California is still under lockdown.

As the weeks passed, more and more people began attending Sunday services.

A full hearing about the church’s indoor services will take place on September 4.

At the moment, Los Angeles County could fine the church and have prison sentences imposed. The Washington Times reports:

The county issued a cease-and-desist order July 29 warning that the church would be subject to fines up to $1,000 and 90 days in prison for each indoor service.

In Los Angeles County, all religious services must be held outdoors, with masks and social distancing:

Under the county order, churches may conduct outdoor religious services, and participants “must wear cloth face coverings and maintain six feet of distance from each other unless they live in the same household.”

Grace Community Church objects to the lax attitude of Governor Gavin Newsom towards the summer protests, a stark contrast to his stance on indoor church services:

The Supreme Court has ruled twice in favor of state authority to issue emergency orders in lawsuits by churches challenging coronavirus health restrictions, but the Grace lawsuit argued that California Gov. Gavin Newsom had discriminated against churches with his lax enforcement of public-health mandates on protests.

With regard to the congregation not wearing masks at the service on Sunday, August 16, MacArthur offered this explanation:

“They were going to be asking us to do two things, social distance and wear masks,” said Mr. MacArthur. “We agreed, [saying] look, we’ll comply for a few weeks. They asked that for three weeks. We’re not wanting to be defiant. We will do what is reasonable. That was not enough for the city. They went to the appellate court Saturday late, and had that order removed.”

The California Court of Appeal issued a stay of the judge’s order, ruling that the dangers of COVID-19 outweigh the right to hold services at the popular church, where Sunday attendance has in pre-pandemic years topped 8,000.

Grace Community Church has hired a lawyer from the Thomas More Society, which handles religious freedom lawsuits.

Jenna Ellis is representing Grace. She is also a Senior Legal Adviser to President Trump’s campaign team and one of his personal lawyers.

Charles LiMandri is also representing the church.

PJ Media has more on both lawyers:

MacArthur and his church have hired Jenna Ellis and Charles LiMandri. Ellis is the senior legal adviser to the Trump 2020 campaign, private counsel to President Donald Trump, and served on his legal team for the impeachment trial. She also serves as a senior fellow at the Falkirk Center for Faith & Liberty and is the author of The Legal Basis for a Moral Constitution. LiMandri began the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund in 2012 and has litigated high-profile cases in California for decades, including the ACLU’s effort to remove the Mount Soledad Cross and San Diego’s effort to force firefighters to participate in a gay pride parade against their sincerely held religious beliefs.

Breitbart quoted the judge who found in favour of the church on Friday (the stay came on Saturday):

On Friday, Judge James Chalfant of the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles, upheld the right of MacArthur and the church to remain open and hold indoor worship.

Attorney Paul Jonna of the firm LiMandri & Jonna LLP, which litigates civil rights issues, tweeted some quotes from Chalfant’s ruling against Los Angeles County, which apparently argued that churches are being treated no differently than other “businesses.”

“The Governor can’t just issue policies without a rational basis to do so,” the judge said. “To my knowledge he never has developed a rational basis to distinguish between businesses. This is all sort of shooting from the hip, which is understandable at the beginning of an emergency and less understandable as time goes on.”

Chalfant continued that “although the moving paper purports to treat churches the same as other businesses, that is constitutionally wrong.”

“They’re entitled to heightened protection, not to be treated like a hair salon,” he said, adding that he agreed that Newsom and Los Angeles County “have not treated churches differently than any other business, and they have to. They absolutely have to.”

The PJ Media article summarises how Grace Community Church got in the crosshairs of the state and the county:

After Newsom ordered churches to shut on July 13, Grace Community Church released a statement on July 24 explaining that Grace Community Church would remain open. “Christ is Lord of all. He is the one true head of the church (Ephesians 1:22; 5:23; Colossians 1:18). He is also King of kings—sovereign over every earthly authority (1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 17:14; 19:16). Grace Community Church has always stood immovably on those biblical principles,” the church said. “Therefore we cannot and will not acquiesce to a government-imposed moratorium on our weekly congregational worship or other regular corporate gathers. Compliance would be disobedience to our Lord’s clear commands.”

On July 29, the City of Los Angeles sent a cease-and-desist letter, threatening Grace Community Church and MacArthur with a daily fine of $1,000 or arrest. The letter gave him one day to respond. On Sunday, August 2, health officials came to the church, asking to inspect the premises. The church declined to let them in without a warrant and told them to speak with the church’s counsel. At that, they left.

The statement is on the church’s website. I will go into it in more detail tomorrow.

For now, here is the addendum, added on August 6. It gives the history of this year’s lockdown and the church’s initial compliance (emphases mine below):

The elders of Grace Church considered and independently consented to the original government order, not because we believed the state has a right to tell churches when, whether, or how to worship. To be clear, we believe that the original orders were just as much an illegitimate intrusion of state authority into ecclesiastical matters as we believe it is now. However, because we could not possibly have known the true severity of the virus, and because we care about people as our Lord did, we believe guarding public health against serious contagions is a rightful function of Christians as well as civil government. Therefore, we voluntarily followed the initial recommendations of our government. It is, of course, legitimate for Christians to abstain from the assembly of saints temporarily in the face of illness or an imminent threat to public health.

When the devastating lockdown began, it was supposed to be a short-term stopgap measure, with the goal to “flatten the curve”—meaning they wanted to slow the rate of infection to ensure that hospitals weren’t overwhelmed. And there were horrific projections of death. In light of those factors, our pastors supported the measures by observing the guidelines that were issued for churches.

But we did not yield our spiritual authority to the secular government. We said from the very start that our voluntary compliance was subject to change if the restrictions dragged on beyond the stated goal, or politicians unduly intruded into church affairs, or if health officials added restrictions that would attempt to undermine the church’s mission. We made every decision with our own burden of responsibility in mind. We simply took the early opportunity to support the concerns of health officials and accommodate the same concerns among our church members, out of a desire to act in an abundance of care and reasonableness (Philippians 4:5).

But we are now more than twenty weeks into the unrelieved restrictions. It is apparent that those original projections of death were wrong and the virus is nowhere near as dangerous as originally feared. Still, roughly forty percent of the year has passed with our church essentially unable to gather in a normal way. Pastors’ ability to shepherd their flocks has been severely curtailed. The unity and influence of the church has been threatened. Opportunities for believers to serve and minister to one another have been missed. And the suffering of Christians who are troubled, fearful, distressed, infirm, or otherwise in urgent need of fellowship and encouragement has been magnified beyond anything that could reasonably be considered just or necessary. Major public events that were planned for 2021 are already being canceled, signaling that officials are preparing to keep restrictions in place into next year and beyond. That forces churches to choose between the clear command of our Lord and the government officials. Therefore, following the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, we gladly choose to obey Him.

Tomorrow’s post will look at the church’s statement and how it complies with Romans 13:1-7.

Since the end of July 2020, the Revd John MacArthur has resumed holding indoor services at Grace Community Church in the face of a ban on indoor worship by the State of California.

I will have more on how the legal battle unfolded between July and the present day.

For now, MacArthur decided to continue with indoor services on Sunday, August 16:

The Daily Wire reported (emphases mine):

Grace Community Church and its senior pastor John MacArthur continued indoor services Sunday even after the California Court of Appeal struck down a lower court ruling that would have allowed the church to gather indoors with masks and social distancing.

As The Daily Wire reported, a Los Angeles County judge denied the county’s request Friday for a temporary restraining order against Grace Community Church and MacArthur after they did not comply with Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s order to shutter their house of worship because of the coronavirus. The church nevertheless agreed to abide by mask and social distancing protocols at least until the full hearing in September.

According to a Saturday night press release from the Los Angeles County COVID-19 Emergency Operations Center, “The California Court of Appeal today set aside a lower court order that would have allowed indoor services to take place at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley. The Court of Appeal’s decision temporarily upholds the County’s Health Officer Orders prohibiting indoor worship services in order to protect congregants and the community as a whole from transmission of the highly contagious and potentially fatal COVID-19 virus.”

This is what happened at Grace Community Church on Sunday morning:

“We’re having church,” MacArthur told his cheering congregation on Sunday morning. Explaining that he is unsure exactly what the city intends to do, he said that the church is not trying to be rebellious, but rather simply trying to do what they believe God has commanded them.

He continued:

We’re meeting because our Lord has commanded us to come together and to worship him. There was a court order that granted this church, and this church alone, the right to meet indoors. And the powers of the city were not happy about that. They were going to be asking us to do two things: social distance and wear masks. That was until yesterday, when the city — we agreed, look, we’ll comply for a few weeks, they asked that for three weeks. We’re not wanting to be defiant. We will do what is reasonable. That was not enough for the city, so they went to the Appellate Court at the last minute on Saturday late and had that order removed.

So the good news is, you’re here, you’re not distancing, and you’re not wearing masks. And it’s also good news that you’re not outside because it’s very hot out there. So the Lord knew that we needed to be inside and unmasked. So he did us that gracious favor. They don’t want us to meet, that’s obvious. They’re not willing to work with us. They just want to shut us down. But we’re here to bring honor to the Lord. They’re not our enemy, we understand that. The Bible tells us to pray for our leaders, for their salvation. We need to be faithful to do that.

This is a large congregation, in the thousands. Those people will attend nearly every Sunday. Grace Community Church also has Spanish services, so it is a broad community of Christians choosing to worship at one of three services every Sunday.

Interestingly, I wrote about Romans 13:1-7 only a week ago. John MacArthur has strong thoughts on respecting civil authorities, which I cited in my post. Therefore, for him to go against what he has been preaching for decades is highly significant.

However, he sees this particular battle as a constitutional issue regarding freedom of worship.

More to follow tomorrow.

On Friday, I posted about bogus coronavirus test results in Florida.

Now spurious test results are showing up in Texas:

On July 16, 2020, the Washington Examiner reported (emphases mine):

“probable” cases for people who were never tested were counted as confirmed.

“Since we report confirmed cases on our dashboard, we have removed 3,484 previously reported probable cases from the statewide and Bexar County totals,” Chris Van Deusen, a spokesman for the state health agency, said to the Austin American-Statesman.

In May, Dr Deborah Birx, who appeared with President Trump and Dr Anthony Fauci in America’s coronavirus briefings, ‘suggested’ that:

the actual number of coronavirus cases could be inflated by as much as 25% …

Steve Eagar, news anchor for Fox 4 in Dallas posted a Twitter thread about the discrepancies in Texas:

I’m glad this is seeing the light of day.

When you start putting together the various pieces of the coronavirus crisis puzzle, little makes sense.

These replies to Steve Eagar’s tweets illustrate the strangeness of this ‘crisis’:

Moving on to California, which is under a new lockdown encompassing most of the state, here are a few insights:

With regard to California’s state schools, it appears as if funding will be withdrawn if schools continue to stay open. The autumn term does not sound promising. This article has a screenshot of a comment from an anonymous Orange County school board member, who says, in part:

… based on the actions of the Governor, we are FORCED to do distance learning for the first semester, I fear he will try to push to the end of the calendar year. If we simply ignore, we have been told our funds will be cut … 

The article concludes with this observation, another illustration of the madness surrounding this ‘crisis’:

Got it? Gavin Newsom – release felons, make it impossible to protect yourself, shut Churches and School down completely.

Thanks to SCOTUS Chief Justice John Roberts who tried to split the baby refusing to assert the rights of Churches to operate – his cowardice is enabling people like Gavin Newsom to run amok. The other four Liberals we expected to rule against religious and academic freedom.

Meantime? Gavin’s kids get to go to school.

That’s because they attend a private country day school.

The stench surrounding coronavirus reeks more every day.

If you live in the United States, there’s only one solution: move to South Dakota. They had no lockdown, no masks and few coronavirus deaths:

Do I need to add that Kristi Noem is Republican?

This week, two important discrepancies occurred with regard to coronavirus test results and deaths.

Both are developing stories.

Florida — bogus test results

Florida has done very well throughout the coronavirus pandemic, particularly given the number of elderly people who live there.

Suddenly, a few weeks ago, cases began to rise alarmingly.

It turns out that negative test results were not reported to Florida’s Department of Health:

Orlando’s Fox 35 television station received a tip off about this.

Reporter Robert Guaderrama has been investigating. In some cases, test results have been submitted as being 100% positive. In reality, the number of positive results are in single digits:

Surely, Florida cannot be the only state where this has been occurring.

One wonders about California, where most counties are under a new lockdown:

Has Governor Newsom instructed someone from California’s health department to look at the test result numbers to see if they look accurate?

Thank goodness Florida is looking into theirs.

England – questionable death figures

Today, Friday, July 17, 2020, news emerged that Britain’s Health Secretary Matt Hancock is investigating questionable coronavirus death figures as reported by Public Health England (PHE):

It seems as if people who have recovered from coronavirus yet die months later still have COVID-19 written on their death certificates. No wonder our death totals are so high.

Joe Murphy, Political Editor for the London Evening Standard, explains:

Currently, England has no cut-off date when COVID-19 expires as a cause of death:

The other UK nations only include those who die within 28 days of a positive test.

There is a second issue here, too, in the way PHE records coronavirus deaths.

This issue came to light thanks to Professor Carl Heneghan and Nuffield Health Senior Statistician Jason Oke from Oxford University’s Centre for Evidence Based Medicine (CEBM).

On July 14, they published an article, ‘ONS Death Data and the Disparity with PHE Daily Updates’. ONS is the Office for National Statistics.

In short, Heneghan and Oke say that the ONS statistics are more accurate than PHE’s (emphases mine):

What has become apparent in recent weeks is the growing disparity between the numbers released by ONS and those reported by Public Health England which are widely disseminated in the media.

The total number of COVID-19 deaths in England according to ONS for 3rd July is 48,154 whereas the equivalent total announced on the 4th by PHE was 39,626.

The PHE figures also vary substantially from day to day. For example, 16 new deaths were announced on 6th July, but the following day, 152 were reported.

This variation is most likely due to the appearance of ‘historic’ deaths that have occurred weeks before, but for some reason unknown to us, get reported in batches on particular days. To counter this variation, a moving average smooths the trend, but even this is at odds with the ONS data.

The PHE moving average for 30th June is 103, which is more than the ONS numbers for 30th June and 1st July combined.

The moving average is overlaid on to the ONS figures to show the PHE figures average has been consistently higher than ONS for some time

Because of the inaccuracies in PHE data we recommend using ONS data and the NHS England data to understand the trends in deaths over time. To reduce confusion we require all deaths reported by PHE to include when they occurred as opposed to the day of reporting.

PHE’s inaccurate recording of deaths can increase the fear factor in the general public where reported by the media.

Liverpool Business News‘s Tony McDonough explains the CEBM article, using graphs:

Heneghan had more on these PHE disparities on July 16. If we rely on PHE’s figures, England will never rid itself of coronavirus. An excerpt of their article follows:

I am relieved that this news has emerged in mainstream media.

The public — and politicians — are discovering the truth behind these inflated, false coronavirus figures.

On June 24, 2020, John MacArthur posted a sermon, ‘Act Like Men’, with the key phrase from the Bible, ‘be strong and courageous’:

It is one hour and six minutes long and, as you would expect, every minute is well spent watching and listening.

Without saying it explicitly, MacArthur disparages the welfare state which has caused millions of men to relinquish their family responsibilities.

Those of us who have had responsible fathers will greatly appreciate what the founder of Grace To You and Master’s Seminary has to say to men in the modern world.

In order to place this into context, you might wish to read my post from June 29, ‘John MacArthur videos about the protests’, which offers excellent advice about what to do in our journey as Christians.

Excerpts from the ‘Act Like Men’ transcript follow, emphases mine.

MacArthur begins by saying that, in the wake of the protests across the United States and the rest of Western world, he called a meeting of men from his congregation and Master’s Seminary — particularly men of colour — to enlighten him further. He asked them to give him five working points for a Christian agenda moving forward:

These are young Black men that gave up a chunk of their time to sit with me and talk through some of these issues. Thanks to Carl Hargrove for kind of leading that discussion which was powerfully fruitful for me

So I said to these men after about two hours plus of talking together, and it was a very gracious and loving communication. I said, “So give me five things that we need to do as believers in Jesus Christ to reach across racial lines and bring the gospel to these people and have it received.” So I said, “You get five shots, and I’ll have this as the introduction to my sermon.” So here we go. This is what they said to me.

Number One: “Tell people that racism is a sin.” Racism is a sin, isn’t it. Any kind of hate is a sin, and racism is an utterly irrational hate. Racism is what causes genocide, what caused the Holocaust, what causes ethnic battles all across the planet as long as there’s been human history. But then men in their natural state hate God, and the Bible says they hate each other. The first crime was a murder based upon anger, based upon hate, when Cain killed his brother.

Any kind of hate is a sin. Any kind of racial hate is an irrational expanded form of hate coming from any human heart; it is reflective of the fallenness of that heart. And we also know in our society that there are some people who have received more of that than others. We need to make it very clear that to hate anyone on any basis or any group of people is a sin against God of monumental proportions.

Secondly: “We need to show compassion, compassion to those who’ve experienced this.” And lots of people have. We need to open our hearts and weep with those who weep and mourn with those who mourn. Jesus looked at the multitudes and had compassion. Even when He went to the grave of Lazarus, He wept; and He knew He was going to raise him from the dead, and He still wept. That’s the heart of Jesus.

Life is hard, and it has been especially hard for some groups of people; and that certainly speaks to the issue of the history of Black people in America. For those of us who know and love the Lord Jesus Christ, they don’t want to hear the statistics, but they would love to know you have compassion for them.

Thirdly, we talked about the fact that, “We need to listen.” And that’s pretty much a basic principle, isn’t it: slow to speak and quick to hear. We may have all the theological answers, we may have all the statistical answers, but can we keep our mouths closed long enough to hear the heart of someone else? Engaging someone with the gospel is so much more effective if that comes in the context of having heard their heart.

Number Four they said: “Use these days as an opportunity to show the love of Christ.” This was really rich advice for me. Say racism is a sin, and it is. Any kind of hate coming from anybody in any direction and you can see that it is tearing this culture to shreds.

Show compassion, listen, and use these opportunities as an occasion to show love. That’s four; got one more. And the final one was this: “The only thing that’s going to break the cycle of our problems in this country is godly fathers. Help us develop godly fathers.” Now you might say that was a providence of God that it happened the week of Father’s Day. Sure set me up for this morning because I want to talk about fathers.

Here are the current American statistics on fatherhood. These involve the main demographics, by the way. The statistics are probably similar, proportionally, throughout the Western world. Please read these and note them well:

Here’s the current reality. Twenty-five million children in our country live without a biological father – one out of three. Grades 1 to 12, forty percent of children live without a biological father in the home. Over fifty percent currently of children are born outside marriage. Eighty-five percent of prisoners grew up in a fatherless home. Eighty-five percent of children with behavioral disorders came from fatherless homes. Ninety percent of youth who run away and become homeless come from fatherless homes. Children from fatherless homes are three hundred percent more likely to deal drugs and carry weapons.

This is a holocaust. And it’s not limited to any group of ethnic people, it is a national holocaust. The statistics I gave you are across the board for our country. Just that one statistic, eighty-five percent of prisoners grew up in a fatherless home, is a terrifying reality.

I used to hear when I was a kid that if you had a good mother you could have any ol’ schtick for a dad. That’s not true. I used to hear when I was a kid preachers say, “You men, it’s important how you live, you Christian men, because your children will get their view of God from you.” That’s ridiculous. They don’t get their view of God from me, they get their view of God from the Bible. That’s an insult to God. What they do get from me is their view of a man. Children will get their view of a man and what a man is from the father.

There, I must disagree, at least in part. I have posted a few entries on fathers and clergy who have not fulfilled their respective responsibilities, either in the family or in the Church:

Here’s what happens when Dad doesn’t attend church

Consistent churchgoing habits important for children

The Methodist Church advocates man-centredness — survey (2010)

Which is more deplorable, the gun culture or the fatherless culture?

What kind of father doesn’t protect his family? (concerns bishops)

But I digress.

Back to John MacArthur:

Sexual immorality, relentless assault of feminism, overexposure to perversion, complete collapse of homes has just produced generations of bad fathers. And the reality is nothing is more devastating to a society than that, nothing. And on the other hand, the only hope for stability and the only hope for sanity, the only hope for peace in a society is masculine, virtuous men.

Some will find that hard to absorb. However, think of the rise of the welfare state over the past half-century. That might begin to put this into context. A virtuous life is not about absentee fathers or Big Government acting as a husband or father. If you sire a child, you need to be there as part of a family unit.

Even if one disagrees with that, it is hard to disagree that, during the past 50 years or so, the further we slip into moral laxity, the more we see evil. In fact, we’re seeing unimaginable evil. We thought we would be nice and allow people to do what they please. Now we see the results of that ill-advised experiment:

Evil abounds absolutely everywhere. How men respond to its presence determines the survival and well-being of a society. Let me say that again: “Evil abounds everywhere. How men respond to its presence determines the survival and well-being of that society.” One psychologist said, “Masculinity is taking responsibility to reduce evil and produce good.”

No culture will ever rise above the character of its men: fathers. The feminist lie has been that patriarchy is bad. It is tyrannical. It is toxic. It needs to be destroyed. And they’ve been doing it for decades. To destroy masculinity, to destroy strong male leadership and character leads to the current disaster: irresponsible men running loose in the streets terrorizing a society. Weak men have given us this legacy. Weak men produce the death of society. And men are in a crisis today, they are being continually told to try to get in touch with their feminine side, so they have become defensive about their masculinity.

Women rise higher and higher and higher and more frequently into positions of leadership, as men feel overwhelmed and overpowered and unable to fight against the trend. Oh, there are lots of men at the gym, pretty buff, have some muscles, but they’re doing virtually nothing to stop the tide of evil in the world. And by the way, in case women haven’t begun to realize it: weak, immoral men abuse women, and they produce more weak, immoral sons. No, children don’t get their view of God from their father, but they do get their view of what a man is. And we are in some serious trouble because the current crop of men are infecting the children.

There are two views in the Bible on generational sin. If one repents of a generational sin, one has wiped his slate clean. See Ezekiel 18:19-20:

19 “Yet you ask, ‘Why does the son not share the guilt of his father?’ Since the son has done what is just and right and has been careful to keep all my decrees, he will surely live. 20 The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him.

Yet, where there is no repentance from generation to generation, the sin endures as a punishable act:

Listen to the Word of God, Exodus chapter 20 and verse 5: I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me.” Listen to Exodus 34:7, “God will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation.” God says it again in Deuteronomy 5:9 and 10, “I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.”

Repeatedly, God says corrupt fathers create in society a legacy of corruption that is generational. He’s not saying that a son would be punished for a father’s sin; clearly that is not the case. Deuteronomy 24:16 says, “Fathers shall not be put to death for their sons, nor shall sons be put to death for their fathers; everyone will be put to death for his own sin.” We’re not talking about an individual suffering punishment for another person’s sin. What we are saying is fathers – plural – who are corrupt leave a legacy that will not be overturned in three or four generations. And if the next generation is corrupt, it pushes that out another three or four, and the next generation another three or four, and it becomes an impossible cycle.

In the words of the prophet Zechariah as he begins his prophecy, “In the eighth month of the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to Zechariah the prophet, son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo saying, ‘The Lord was very angry with your fathers. Therefore say to them, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Return to Me,’ declares the Lord of hosts, ‘that I may return to you,’ says the Lord of hosts. “Do not be like your fathers.”’” Something has to break the cycle.

This is what happens without repentance:

Clearly, a generation dominated by sinful fathers will bear the crushing consequence of their sinful progenitors. Their children will suffer. Their grandchildren will suffer. Their great-grandchildren will suffer. No generation exists in isolation or as an island. A wicked society defined as wicked by the behavior of the men won’t be rooted out for multiple generations. So it isn’t that people get their view of God from a father, but they do get their view of what a father is, and if it’s the wrong view, it’s just purposely repeated again and again and again.

So, as Christians, what do we do? First, we need to acknowledge that we are all prone to sin. When we give in to sin, we give in to all sorts of carnality. On the other hand, when we are alive in Christ, God’s infinite grace enables us to resist temptation through faith and the gifts of the Holy Spirit:

The default position of every man is corruption, right? It’s the most natural thing they do is sin. The most accessible affect of that sin is on the women in their lives, and then on the children in their lives, and then it extends to everybody else.

The problem is, “There’s none righteous, no, not one. They’re all evil,” as we read in Romans 3. They don’t seek after God. They hate God, they hate others, and they’re influencing their children while they’re harming their wives. I understand why there’s a women’s movement. And even though it’s wrong and totally devastates a society, pushes women into places they were never intended to be and men out of the places they were intended to be, I understand it because of the corruption of men.

So where do we begin? We have to begin as believers who have new natures, right? We are new creations in Christ, we have the Holy Spirit, and we start by breaking the cycle. It’s not going to be broken, it’s still around, right? What you’re seeing today in the chaos of this culture, what you see in the weakness and foolishness of people in high places, what you see is just the reality that corrupt fathers destroy society.

MacArthur then begins discussing one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit: fortitude. As we are in the season of Pentecost — please do ignore the term ‘Ordinary Time’ — it is important that we take some lessons from the weeks from Pentecost until the end of the Church year, just before December.

Fortitude is no casual word. It is not restricted to men alone, however, it is in scarce supply these days among some of today’s men, enough to make a difference in Western society:

Fortitude. What is fortitude? It’s a great word. Firmness, strength of soul that faces danger with courage and bears loss and pain without complaint. Fortitude: “Firmness and strength of soul that faces danger with courage and bears loss and pain without complaint.” That’s not a theological definition, that’s just a definition of the word.

When you say a man has fortitude, you’re talking about someone who doesn’t compromise even when there’s danger, even when that danger escalates to fear and pain. Fortitude is a combination of conviction, courage, and endurance – conviction, courage, and endurance. It is the willingness – it is not just the willingness, I would say it’s even the desire to risk, to literally create challenges if they’re not already there, to attack difficulty, to challenge difficulty head on, to bear suffering with courage. This is what makes a man a man, and this is the kind of man in whom a woman finds her security, finds her protection; and in that kind of relationship, the woman’s femininity flourishes.

Men are those who should be the protectors, the purifiers, who secure their wives, who secure their children, who accomplish all that needs to be done to reduce evil in a society and produce good; and yet this society for years and decades has had men busy producing evil, and diminishing good. True manliness is bound up in the word “courage.” That is the virtue that marks a real man. Truth, conviction, courage.

Turn to 1 Corinthians chapter 16, 1 Corinthians chapter 16. At the end of this wonderful letter, near the end, is tucked a very important verse, actually two verses: verses 13 and 14. Listen to what the apostle Paul says: “Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” “Be on the alert,” – danger is everywhere – “stand firm in the faith,” – don’t waiver in your belief and convictions – “act like men,” – What does that mean? Fortitude, uncompromising courage – “be strong.” The New King James actually says, “Be brave, be strong.” “Act like men” essentially means to conduct one’s self in a courageous way, to conduct one’s self in a courageous way.

Courage is the stock-in-trade of a man: courage in the face of danger, courage in the face of temptation, courage in the face of loss, courage in the face of suffering. This strength of verse 13, essentially four statements saying, one way or another, “Be strong.” Is then balanced in verse 14 by, “Let all that you do be done in love.” And how important is it to add that. There’s nothing more manly than a man with consummate conviction, courage, and endurance, who is marked by love. That’s a man – not weak, not vacillating, not fearful; and loving.

Real men face life with this kind of fortitude. They’re watchful of the dangers around them. They’re alert. They’re protectors of their wives and children, and of their friends and all the people over whom they have influence. They have convictions about what is true. They have courage to live out those convictions and the strength to be unwavering when those convictions will cost them everything. Your convictions, they’re only real convictions if they hold up under the most intense pressure.

MacArthur then goes into the many Bible verses with the words ‘be strong and courageous’:

In Deuteronomy 31, Moses is passing the mantle on to Joshua, and in verse 6, Deuteronomy 31, he says this: “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them,” – meaning your enemies – “for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” “Then Moses called to Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, ‘Be strong and courageous, for you shall go with this people into the land which the Lord has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall give it to them as an inheritance. The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you nor forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” That’s the greatest transitional leadership speech ever.

Look at … 2 Samuel chapter 10 and verse 12. This is Joab to the Israelites who were facing opposition, strong opposition, tremendously strong opposition. Back in verse 6, it lays out the forces that were coming against them. But in verse 12, Joab says to the Israelites, “Be strong, and let us show ourselves courageous for the sake of our people and for the cities of our God; and may the Lord do what is good in His sight.”

First Kings chapter 2. In 1 Kings chapter 2, David addresses Solomon his son. “David’s time to die drew near. He charged Solomon his son, saying, ‘I’m going the way of all the earth. Be strong, therefore, show yourself a man. Keep the charge of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His ordinances, and His testimonies, according to what is written in the Law of Moses, that you may succeed in all that you do and wherever you turn, so that the Lord may carry out His promise which He spoke.’” Moses to Joshua, Joab to the Israelites, David to Solomon.

For another view of David’s speech to his son Solomon, look at 1 Chronicles chapter 22. I’m showing you these because I want you to see how common this is. First Chronicles 22, David calls for his son to build the house of God, and we can pick it up in verse 11: “Now, my son, the Lord be with you that you may be successful, and build the house of the Lord your God just as He has spoken concerning you. Only the Lord give you discretion and understanding, and give you charge over Israel, so that you may keep the law of the Lord your God. Then you will prosper, if you’re careful to observe the statues and ordinances which the Lord commanded Moses concerning Israel. Be strong and courageous, do not fear nor be dismayed.” All of these declarations assume that your devotion to God is going to be tested, and you’re going to have to be strong. It’s going to be tested, no way around it.

David says again, 1 Chronicles 28:20, to his son Solomon, he gives this speech another time: “Be strong and courageous, and act; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you nor forsake you until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord is finished.” Just a couple more.

Toward the end of 2 Chronicles, Hezekiah is speaking to men in positions of leadership. Hezekiah, chapter 32 of 2 Chronicles, the first verse: “After these acts of faithfulness Sennacherib king of Assyria came, invaded Judah, besieged the fortified cities, and thought to break into them for himself. Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib had come invading Judah and he intended to make war on Jerusalem; he decided with his officers and warriors to cut off the supply of water from the springs” – this was a siege – “which were outside the city, and they helped him. So many people assembled and stopped up all the springs and streams which flowed through the region, saying, ‘Why should the kings of Assyria come and find abundant water?’ And he took courage and rebuilt all the wall that had been broken down and erected towers on it, built another outside wall, strengthened the Millo in the city of David, made weapons and shields in great number, appointed military officers over the people and gathered them in the square of the city gate, and spoke encouragingly to them, and this is what he said: ‘Be strong and courageous, do not fear or be dismayed because the king of Assyria nor because of all the horde that is with him; for the one with us is greater than the one with him. With him is only an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.’” That’s a great pep talk, isn’t it, for an army. Psalm 27:14 says, “Be strong and let your heart take courage.”

Men don’t give in to fear. Men don’t give in to pressure. Men don’t give in to intimidation, and they don’t give in to temptation. They don’t seek the easy way. They will take the pain, they will invite the risk, they will confront the challenge, and they will not bow to the pressure to compromise the commandments of God. Strength of a man is that he lives on principle, that he lives on conviction, that he has the courage of those convictions, stands strong against everything that comes at those convictions, bravely faces the challenges in a fortified way. Manly fortitude means contending with difficulty, facing every enemy, meeting the enemy head on, bearing the pain, maintaining self-discipline, upholding truth, pressing on to the goal. That’s what defines a man.

MacArthur cites more examples. God spoke the same words to Joshua in the presence of Moses:

I want to show you another passage back in Joshua, right at the beginning of Joshua. Moses gives this speech again as he passes the baton, as it were, to Joshua. He says to him in chapter 1 of Joshua, verse 5, “No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you.” This is God now speaking, God is the one speaking. “Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you.”

So here it comes not from Moses to Joshua, but from God to Joshua in the presence of Moses. And here’s what God says to Joshua, verse 6: “Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go.”

And here comes the key to that. How do you live like that? How do you live with that strength and courage? How do you live without ever compromising? Verse 8: “This book of the law” – the Word of God – “shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” It’s an incredible speech from God.

“Be strong” – verse 5 – “because God will be with you,” – “because you’re fulfilling a divine cause, a promise from God.” Verses 7 and 8, “The only way you can do this is to submit to the Word of God so that it constantly is in your mind and you live out its truths.” You will be able to be obedient if you’re saturated by the Word of God empowered by the Spirit of God.

Can you see why this speech is repeated so many, many times? This is the mark of a man. It takes a father like that to raise a son like that. Spiritual men are courageous, strong, principled, uncompromising, and bold. This is God’s role for men to play in a society, but it is also God’s role for the men to play who are the leaders of His people Israel. And this is God’s standard for the men who lead His church.

This is what we should expect from our clergy:

When we come into the New Testament and we are introduced to the kind of men that the Lord commands to lead His church. This is how He describes them in 1 Timothy 3: “This man must be above reproach, a one-woman man, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (if a man doesn’t know how to manage his own children, how will he take care of the church of God?), and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil. And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.” High standards for a pastor, an elder.

To Titus, Paul says similarly, “Appoint elders. If a man is above reproach, one-woman man, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion; for the overseer” – or the shepherd, pastor, bishop – “must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he’ll be able to exhort in sound doctrine and refute those who contradict.” This is the kind of men who lead the church.

Why is the standard so high for the leaders of the church? Because the leaders of the church have the responsibility to set the pattern for what manliness looks like in a godly environment. It’s not that they alone should be like this, it is that they should be like this so the others can see what a man should be. It isn’t that the Lord wants to pick up all the pastors and elders and take them to another level of spirituality which no one could attain, it is rather that this is what God expects from every man. But it’s got to be modeled. Men like that and men, as Ephesians 5 said, who love their wives like Christ loved the church, and who are protectors of their wives and who literally are the saviors of their wives, are the kind of men who become a haven for the wife, who make her feel secure and protected, nourished, cherished. And when children grow up in a home where the man secures the woman and the children, there’s peace.

So, how have we gone so far astray?

This culture has turned on God, eliminated His Word. The bible and the gospel is an enemy.

One wonders what John MacArthur thinks of President Trump. To my knowledge, he has not been invited to the White House. I wish that President Trump would invite him. That would make for an interesting transcript.

But I digress. MacArthur says:

The leaders of this nation have no interest in God or in His Word, and they are basically running this country right into hell as fast as they can. The only thing that’s going to stop this is not a group of feminized men who thinks God just wants to give them what they want so they can be happy. What this world needs is not sensitive men, it needs strong men. We live in a world of compromise, more than compromise. You could barely call it compromise because there’s nothing left of that which is good, so what are they compromising with.

That said, it is clear that MacArthur, a Californian, disapproves of California Governor Gavin Newsom’s views. Newsom is a self-proclaimed Catholic. Here’s a 2008 video of the two of them on the old Larry King Show on CNN when Newsom was the mayor of San Francisco and married to his second wife at the time:

Now on to the word ‘integrity’:

To add another word to your thoughts about this, I would say that people who have no price have integrity, integrity. So we talk about fortitude, let me talk about integrity. “People who have no price have integrity.”

What is integrity? It is essentially unbreakable fortitude. Integrity is defined as steadfast adherence to a moral code. It comes from “integer,” which means “whole” or “complete.” Its synonyms are “honesty,” “sincerity,” “simplicity,” “incorruptibility.” It’s antonym is “duplicity” or “hypocrisy.” A person who lacks integrity is a hypocrite. Integrity means that you live by your convictions: you say what you believe, you hold to what you believe, you’re immoveable. That’s wholeness. That’s integrity: you are one. It was said long ago of a preacher that he preached very well, but he lived better. The world is a seducer, and Satan is a seducing deceiver, pushing us into compromise, and therefore into hypocrisy.

When our Lord indicted the scribes and Pharisees who were the frequent objects of His blistering attacks. Inevitably it was on their integrity that He assaulted them. For example, in Matthew 23:3, He said, “They say things and do not do them.”

MacArthur, who is truly blessed, has a number of additional observations. As such, I would invite you to read or watch his sermon in full.

In short, manliness does not involve belonging to a street gang.

Each man, at some point, will have to rely upon his own wits, determination and fortitude to resolve his own trials, whether they be his own or those of his family.

We need to recover the biblical ideal of manliness, which has kept Western society protected for centuries. It hasn’t always succeeded, but we are fallen people, susceptible to temptation and sin.

Men have been beaten into the ground for decades. This must be remedied:

We need a generation of men who are alert to danger, who stand firm in the faith, who are courageous with the Word of God, uncompromising and strong.

And, listen, everything about this that I’ve said indicates they will be tested. Manliness will be tested. Conviction will be tested. Courage will be tested. Strength will be tested. The pressure will come, it’ll come in unexpected ways, but it’ll come. You may get away with your statement of conviction for years, but there will come a test, and many men will shock the people who knew them by selling out, compromising, abandoning their integrity, playing the hypocrite out of cowardice. This falls into a translation of Romans 12:2. Don’t let the world squeeze you into its mold.

Stay strong. Stand firm in the faith, as Saint Paul did.

The world needs real men now more than ever, especially to stand by principled women.

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