Maryville Baptist Church members celebrated Easter Sunday in-person, exercising their First Amendment rights despite the state’s Healthy at Home order.
It is estimated that 50 people attended the services.
However, many argue that the church members’ constitutionally protected rights are under assault.
It is reported that piles of nails were blocking the parking lot entrances. It is currently unclear who placed the nails on the road with the intention of popping vehicle tires.
Once the congregants were finally able to get into the church parking lot, a heavy police presence met them there.
While the police did not issue tickets or arrest church members, they began recording the license plates of every vehicle in the parking lot.
More on this developing story below:
This development comes less than 72 hours after the state's governor, Andy Beshear, announced that anyone attending church services would be forced into a mandatory quarantine.
Police were given authority by Beshear to record license plates for local health authorities to order people into 14 day quarantines after Easter services.
Governor Beshear is a Democrat.
The Courier Journal has more details on the nails in the parking lot as well as the heavy police presence:
As hymns sang out Easter Sunday from a large outdoor speaker overlooking the Maryville Baptist Church parking lot, two Kentucky State troopers placed quarantine notices on parishioners' cars and wrote down their license numbers.
Inside the church, roughly 50 worshipers ignored Gov. Andy Beshear's order against mass gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic so they could attend services together on Christianity's holiest day.
Several said as they left that they had no intention of abiding by the notice on their windshields that called for a 14-day self-quarantine or face the threat of "further enforcement measures."
Exactly what troopers will do with those license numbers or what steps Beshear will take next wasn't immediately clear Sunday.
What is clear is that Maryville's pastor, the Rev. Jack Roberts, has no intention of ending in-person services, despite the deadly pandemic, putting his church among a handful of others across Kentucky that have rebuffed Beshear's wishes.
Roberts arrived at the church Sunday morning to find several piles of nails dumped at the church entrances to the parking lot. He said he wouldn't tell his congregation to follow or defy the orders that Beshear announced Friday in his ongoing effort to hold down the spread of COVID-19.
The virus has killed nearly 100 Kentuckians and infected more than 1,800.
"Everybody has to do what they feel comfortable with," Roberts said. He did cover his own license plate, as did several other parishioners.
It didn't matter. Troopers took down the VIN numbers instead.
Across Kentucky, reports came in of other churches in potential violation of the mass-gathering rules and CDC guidelines on drive-thru services.
Sgt. Josh Lawson of Kentucky State Police said most of KSP's 16 posts responded to between two and five complaints about church services.
But they hadn't found any violations of CDC guidelines or other in-person services — except for Maryville.
Most calls were for outdoor services, where people remained in their cars. Those services “were specifically mentioned by the governor as being allowed,” Lawson said.
At Maryville, the people who stayed in their cars and listened to the service through the outdoor speaker did not receive quarantine notices.
“We’re responding to those calls as we would any other calls for service,” Lawson said.
It is also being reported that more than just Kentuckians were in attendance this morning.
People drove from multiple states to be able to celebrate Easter in person.
A couple from New Jersey was even at attendance at Maryville Baptist Church in Kentucky on Easter morning.
Many observers have argued that the draconian actions being taken in New York and on the West Coast are unnecessary throughout the entire country.
Data suggests that population density and mass transit have a major impact on how the COVID-19 virus spreads in a given population.
Many states in the middle of the country have been largely unaffected by the novel coronavirus.
Though the virus is everywhere, New York City accounts for over half the number of deaths and cases in the entire United States.
The New York Post confirms the developing story and reports that Kentucky State Troopers accused church members of "Creating Scenes of an Emergency":
A Kentucky church defied coronavirus-lockdown orders to hold a packed Easter Sunday service — despite a heavy police presence and even nails blocking the parking lots, according to a report.
Maryville Baptist Church appeared to have a near-full house for its Sunday service despite orders to avoid in-person services — and the heightened risk of catching COVID-19, the Louisville Courier Journal said.
Worshippers arrived even after police warned that they would record their car plates to force them into 14-day quarantines.
Many — including the defiant pastor, Rev. Jack Roberts — arrived with their plates covered, with officers instead recording their VIN numbers, the paper said.
Even more desperate measures appeared to have been taken to keep the faithful away — with “piles of nails” blocking each entrance, according to photos shared by the Courier Journal.
It was not clear who had left the nails, which were eventually cleared by church volunteers in time for the main arrivals, the paper said.
Kentucky State Police troopers then left large signs on every car left in the church lot, the paper said — accusing those present of “CREATING SCENES OF AN EMERGENCY.”
They noted that everyone in the car owner’s household would be forced to quarantine for 14-days for defying the warning — an order several worshippers told the Courier Journal that they planned to ignore.
The backlash against Democratic orders also comes as many Democrat-led cities are letting criminals go from prisons and jails.
These leaders claim that the COVID-19 virus could spread quickly in jails... but many argue that these moves are benefiting criminals while punishing law abiding citizens attempting to exercise their First Amendment rights.
This story continues to develop.
Keep checking our website for the latest updates!