Hypocrisy Before the Law
Jesus Christ is recorded in Matthew 7:5 as saying: “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” While this verse has been applied many times over, perhaps it is no more relevant than in the midst of the present COVID-19 pandemic.
On July 13, Governor Gavin Newsom ordered numerous entities to close their doors in response to surges of COVID-19 cases in their counties; among this list were included places of worship, gyms, salons, and malls. 
In response, Liberty Counsel filed a lawsuit on behalf of Harvest Rock Church in Pasadena, California for violating orders by Governor Newsom to put an end to their worship services, including worship in their homes.  These regulations, which threaten to reach into the heart of private worship, are seen by many as a concerning overreach that needs to be questioned. Especially as church members face fines and jail time for non-compliance. 
This sentiment is made worse by the fact that numerous officials who have made public pushes for mask-wearing, shutdowns, and social distancing, have also been caught flaunting those rules without consequence.
In one glaring example, a mask-less Nancy Pelosi made headlines when she was caught on video frequenting a salon in California during the middle of the shutdown imposed by COVID-19 regulations.  Pelosi responded to the footage by claiming that it was a set-up on the part of the salon owner, whom it was alleged had been operating in violation of orders implemented by Governor Newsom.
Other examples can be found in the governors of South Carolina and Arizona, who were both photographed mask-less in large crowds, despite pushing residents of their states to comply with mask-wearing regulations.  
The fact is that everyone knows the rich and powerful will never be punished for their noncompliance, whereas those who have attempted to honor their God in good-faith are subject to harsh retribution under the law. The fact is many politicians have been guilty of blatant hypocrisy, not only on a personal level, but also on a public policy one.
While Governor Newsom has empowered the government to punish church-goers, he has previously encouraged assemblies of “peaceful protests” against racial injustice in the United States.  This picking and choosing of which Constitutional rights are worth protecting would be amusing if it were not so dangerous. The right to peaceful assembly and the right to free exercise of religion are both enshrined within the First Amendment, neither is less worthy of protection, not even in the midst of a pandemic.
Unfortunately, such politicians continue to engage in self-justification. Nonetheless, this political piety cannot go on forever, as it says in Luke 16:15 “…You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.”
At the end of the day, if these laws and regulations are to be applied, they ought to be applied equally. To do anything else is to violate the idea of equal justice under the law. Sadly, there appears to be no end in sight to this egregious violation of the rights of Americans and believers throughout our nation.
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 “Statewide Public Health Officer Order, July 13, 2020,” California Department of Public Health (July 13, 2020), https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/CDPH%20Document%20Library/COVID-19/SHO%20Order%20Dimming%20Entire%20State%207-13-2020.pdf
 “HARVEST ROCK CHURCH, INC., and HARVEST INTERNATIONAL MINISTRY, INC., itself and on behalf of its member churches in California, v. GAVIN NEWSOM, in his VERIFIED COMPLAINT official capacity as Governor of the State of California,” LibertyCounsel.org (July 17, 2020), http://lc.org/PDFs/Attachments2PRsLAs/071820CaliforniaHarvestRockVerifiedComplaint.pdf
 Andre Coleman, “City Tells Local Church to Stop In-Person Worship Services,” PasadenaNow (August 12, 2020), https://www.pasadenanow.com/main/city-tells-local-church-to-close-its-doors/
 Seema Mehta, “Nancy Pelosi says her visit to a hair salon was a ‘setup.’ Stylist backs her up,” Los Angeles Times (September 2, 2020), https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2020-09-02/pelosi-hair-fallout-salon-mask
 “Despite urging mask use, South Carolina governor without one at GOP National Convention” News19 (August 29, 2020), https://www.wltx.com/article/news/local/south-carolina-governor-without-mask-at-gop-national-convention/101-183b8ab9-4331-4ec5-af2b-2e93b9dc8186
 Bob Christie, “Governor Doug Ducey pushes masks but goes without in big crowd,” FoxNews (August 28, 2020), https://www.fox10phoenix.com/news/governor-doug-ducey-pushes-masks-but-goes-without-in-big-crowd
 “Governor Newsom Statement on Demonstrations Across California and the Passing of Federal Officer,” CA.Gov (May 30, 2020) https://www.gov.ca.gov/2020/05/30/governor-newsom-statement-on-demonstrations-across-california-and-the-passing-of-federal-officer/