Liberal college town delivering big cash payout to Christians arrested during COVID

City of Moscow, Idaho. Photo courtesy Wikipedia
City of Moscow, Idaho. Photo courtesy Wikipedia

Judge found officials ‘overlooked’ language of ordinance

Bob Unruh
WND News Center

A liberal college town in Idaho is paying three Christians $300,000 for arresting them during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, after a federal judge ruled against Moscow officials in his rejection of the city’s demand to dismiss the case.

A report from Fox News explains U.S. District Court Judge Morrison C. England Jr., said the “plaintiffs should never have been arrested in the first place, and the constitutionality of what the city thought [its] code said is irrelevant.”

He continued with his scolding, “Somehow, every single city official involved overlooked the exclusionary language in the ordinance,” referencing wording that allowed “constitutionally protected behavior.”

The city has announced it is settling the case with Gabriel Rench and Sean and Rachel Bohnet.

They sued after their First and Fourth Amendment rights were violated by the city, when officers arrested them at an outdoor “psalm sing” held by their church.

Fox reported, “Moscow, home to the University of Idaho, is a town of approximately 25,000 people about 80 miles south of Spokane, Washington. Christ Church is a local congregation of approximately 1,000 people belonging to the Communion of Reformed Evangelical Churches.”

At the time of the arrests, President Trump condemned the officers’ actions in taking Rench’s hymn book and leading him away in handcuffs to the jail.

The three were accused of violating the city’s repeatedly extended health ordinance that, in fact, included exemptions for behavior protected by the U.S. Constitution, including religious activity.

The charges against the three were dismissed, and Rench reported to Fox News that the events have drawn the ire of his liberal community.

He said members have told him to “take your money and run.”

“I think it’s no secret that portions of our government and political groups are now starting to target Christians in a way that has never really happened in America or Canada,” he said, the report said.

“I’m in a conservative state, but I live in a liberal town, and the liberals had no problem arresting me for practicing my religious rights and my constitutional rights.”

“What needs to happen is the people need to change how they vote and disincentivize the targeting of Christians and those who are genuinely trying to defend the Constitution,” he said.

Fox News Digital got a statement from the town that said its insurance company, Idaho Counties Risk Management Program, decided it was better to settle than continue to fight.

The city’s troubles may not yet be over, however.

Fox reported, “Douglas Wilson, who serves as senior pastor of Christ Church, told Fox News Digital that his family remains in a legal battle with city authorities since his son and two grandsons were hit with misdemeanor charges for protesting the arrests by placing stickers on city utility poles, which are replete with many other stickers.”

Wilson also charged there is a direct link “between what his family and church have been experiencing in Moscow and the wider concerns with regard to President Biden’s Department of Justice targeting people of faith.”

He said, “Basically, we’re dealing with the weaponization of the justice system. We are seeing it here in small-town America, and you see it in Washington, D.C.”

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