RALEIGH – Governor Roy Cooper may getting pats on the back from Big Government fans that think his combination of government overreach and rigid, top-down policies, has done wonders to save lives. Many others, more concerned with constitutional government, see the governor’s response as exaggerated, unconstitutional, and un-American.
Count some more sheriffs among the latter group.
After the Sheriffs Association request to amend the order to allow church services was all but rejected by Governor Cooper, Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell took a stand. He won’t enforce the ban on indoor church services, on account of it being unconstitutional on its face, and closed a letter announcing his policy with, ‘Now let’s go to church!’
Now, Sheriff Bizzell is getting some back up from Nash County, Halifax County, and Craven County.
Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone said, “The thought of arresting someone for going to church is not an action that I will be taking.”
Halifax County Sheriff Wes Tripp stated, “I have full confidence that our church attendees will practice what is safe for their individual health and welfare. I will not stand in the way of peaceful assembly.”
Craven County Sheriff Chip Hughes asserted, “I believe that if social distancing and other guidelines are good enough to allow big box stores to operate, it should be good enough for in person church services,” adding that the disparity between churches and businesses under the order was “inconsistent, unfair, and quite frankly, morally wrong.”
This should be heartening for even those that don’t live in these counties; common sense, local governance from local elected officials who are committed to fulfilling the oath they took, to protecting the God-given rights we understand to be unalienable, and to securing these blessings of liberty, even in the face of risk and uncertainty.
These sheriffs may never have thought they’d be asked to prevent people from going to church in their course of duty. Yet, when the surreal becomes reality, these sheriffs are embodying the Esse Quam Videri spirit, and we should all aspire to do the same.