The Pacific Justice Institute, representing OURChurch in University Place, has sent a letter to Governor Jay Inslee seeking clarification as to why the State does not plan to permit churches to hold drive-in church services despite other state-chosen entities being allowed to operate in similar capacities.

Despite the state’s position against drive-in church services, OURChurch’s Sunday morning services went on without any major interruptions from authorities. You can read their letter to the governor here.

Later Sunday afternoon, thousands gathered at the Washington State Capitol to protest Governor Jay Inslee’s ongoing orders to keep closed what he and his administration consider to be “non-essential” businesses and non-profits. As Washingtonians begin to feel enormous economic pressure, the governor has indicated that he plans to extend further his executive order that shutters most of the state economy. It is currently due to end on May 4th.

As Dori Monson noted in his column today, hypocrisy is one of the reasons Washingtonians are taking to the streets. The governor has decided that “private home construction must stop, but Sound Transit construction can continue. Private landscapers are out of work, but King County can still dispatch crews to trim grass in closed parks. The hypocrisy is outrageous.”

At the center of this discussion is whether or not government even has the authority to define what businesses or church groups are or are not essential. After all, every business – for-profit and otherwise – is essential to those who utilize, own, or are employed by it.

The balance between issuing guidelines to protect the public health and becoming an authoritarian ruler is apparently very delicate. Many governors and mayors have gone beyond reasonable requests for residents to stay at home and have begun dictating what stores can and cannot sell, arresting parents for playing with their kids at public parks, or dragging people for not wearing face masks.

People should continue to take precautions as it relates to stopping the spread of COVID-19, including continued social distancing, but they should also remain aware that freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.

Government officials should focus on encouraging common sense – not using COVID-19 to test the boundaries of their offices’ power.

We echo our previous calls to Governor Inslee: please don’t disregard the advice of qualified economists in favor of advice from medical professionals. The advisement must be balanced properly, or we risk saving people and families from a contagious disease only to lose them to poverty we created in the process.