For Christians in different parts of the world, the celebration of Easter is an emblematic time marked by the faith, life, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, even amid the current tense situation that surrounds the world due to the CCP Virus, also known as COVID-19.
However, San Bernardino County in California has implemented a new order under which Christians could end up spending 90 days in jail during Easter or having to pay fines of up to $1,000.
According to the new public health provision, faith-based services provided over the Internet or through the use of other technology are permitted, as long as people remain in their homes, but it prohibits people from going out to participate in parades, provide driving services, or pick up nonessential items.
As an article in the Western Journal pointed out, the order was issued at the beginning of Lent, although given the conditions in the country with the outbreak of the CCP Virus (coronavirus), it is a time when there is also no regular attendance of people in churches and other places of worship.
And while the measure imposed does not specify a total limitation for those who practice the Christian faith, for people who do not have access to the Internet or do not have optimal technological services, the celebration of Easter could be left in the background.
Public health officials have also ordered county residents to make mandatory use of masks in public places.
San Bernardino County is the largest county in the United States by area and the fifth largest in California by population, with more than 2 million residents. Amid the coronavirus crisis, the county reported 530 cases of infection and 16 deaths so far, according to The Blaze.
California has a known history of religious censorship. In 2018, several Democratic Party members were pushing a bill to ban the sale of Bibles in the state.
The legislative measure, which was introduced in February 2018 under the concept of ‘Illegal Business Practices; Efforts to Change Sexual Orientation’, was implemented as an argument to ensure that the expansion of LGBTQ ideology would not be torpedoed by therapies related to sexual orientation.
While AB 2943 does not directly mention religion, it is designed to define any sexual orientation change effort as an illegal practice, which also includes any religious content or organization that is based on a heterosexual view of sexual development, according to the Conservative Daily Post.
In times of pandemic, efforts to censor religious freedom have not only taken place in San Bernardino. As the Western Journal noted, an episode was reported in March in Baltimore, Maryland, in which a pastor ended up getting a police visit for violating a similar health order.
Officials questioned the minister about his awareness of the measure, a scene that was described by the minister as “a police raid on a drug deal.”
there was another case in Florida when the Rev. Rodney Howard Browne ended up receiving an arrest warrant on Monday, March 30, for overpowering local officials and holding a service.