Church Issued Criminal Sanctions For Praising Too Loud?
When someone gets saved, it is usually because they have finally realized what they are being saved from. Their lives are transformed, or they are pulled up from the lowest points they’ve been in life. The response to this for most Christians is to glorify God in Praise and Worship. Yet, for this Louisiana church praise and worship was turned into the right to remain silent.
The executive pastor of Vintage Church, Rob Wilton, was recently issued a criminal summons and staff threatened with arrest if they had continued to use any amplified sound in their worship services. A lawsuit that was filed by Liberty Institute on behalf of the church against Jefferson Parish, and the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office (both named in the lawsuit). The suit alleges, that the local government is “imposing unwarranted and unreasonable demands on the members of Vintage Church.”
The trouble began when plans to expand the existing church structure, forced the congregation to meet in a tent on the grounds outside the sanctuary. The church applied for and was granted a permit to erect the structure, but a complaint reported by a neighbor about the noise provoked initial warning by Parish sheriff’s. The church was told, “not to set up prior to 8:50 a.m. and noise levels to be kept below 60 decibels. The pastor recalls, “I even began preaching without a microphone, but we still received a second criminal summons.” The summons was issued in front of the entire congregation during a service. This began a weekly tirade by authorities, harassment of the staff, and trouble by neighbors who wanted them out.
The church complied with the demands, which meant no microphones, amplified sound, electric guitars, or other similar sound equipment. Liberty Institute says, “The parish allows things like lawn mowers and jackhammers starting at 8 a.m. on Sunday while placing these burdensome restrictions on the church,” attorney Butterfield told Todd Starns of Fox News. “We are seeing more and more of this sort of hostility toward churches in the United States,” Butterfield said “Five or ten years ago the idea that a church would be issued a criminal summons and would be subjected to this sort of continuous investigation just for having a worship service would be unthinkable.”
The church tried several times to make adjustments, but their attempts continue to be met with threats, and hostility. It is a sad state of affairs when you can use a jackhammer on Sunday mornings but cannot lift up praises to your Lord.
Article: Charisma News