Today I took Penny for her run and did some closeup photography. My webcam finally came after sitting in a Post Office distribution center in LA for over a week with nothing happening. Father Serra could have delivered it quicker and he walked from mission to mission. It appears that religious freedoms are being eroded by government mandates and liberal judges. Violence in this country toward Christians has been increasing as evidenced by events like the burning of a Christian Church in Mississippi  

Today, San Luis Obispo County reported two new cases of COVID-19, bringing the county’s total to 251 cases as of May 21. Health officials state, “Three people are hospitalized, including two patients who are in the ICU, twenty-four people are recovering at home and 223 people are recovered. San Luis Obispo County has had one death attributed to COVID-19. Both of the new cases are in Paso Robles, which now has a total of 101 cases to date. Atascadero has 38 cases, Arroyo Grande has 22, Nipomo has 18, San Luis Obispo has 17, Pismo Beach has nine, San Miguel and Templeton each have eight, and Morro Bay has six. Eleven inmates at the California Men’s Colony have also tested positive for coronavirus. Another 13 cases are in communities with fewer than five cases and the health department is not disclosing those locations. The health department reports that a total of 7,998 coronavirus tests have been conducted so far at both the public health lab and at private labs.

The Cal Poly Arts Program is seeking community input on the type of entertainment they want to see from the comfort of their own home. Organizers with the program say they understand no virtual experience can compare to the moment of excitement at a live performance when the lights go down, the conductor taps his baton, and the orchestra begins the overture. However, given the COVID-19 circumstances, they still want to provide this entertainment for their community. Since the Performing Arts Center must remain closed during the pandemic, organizers say in the meantime they want to know what high-quality virtual entertainment they may provide for you to enjoy in the comfort and safety of your own home. Community members can participate in this survey (go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/survey-taken/?sm=wA8otzUFmH1zCCtwna5LC7sgy8UaO0RD_2FdhmwBWr4rj9YXicG8ojPx7aIM9cvjOBcnFgUew0aP_2FdBLDe0XrtLSVDv0gpej2oSilI3cyvRqM_3D to take the survey) , which will help the Cal Poly Arts Program get a better idea of what performances the community would like to see, including what format they would like them to be presented. The survey provides a wide range of performance options including theater, comedy, music, dance and much more.

More than 1,200 pastors in California plan on resuming in-person religious services on May 31, in defiance of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s ban on religious gatherings. Robert Tyler, an attorney representing a church in Lodi that sued Newsom last month, said the large group of pastors signed a “declaration of essentially” asserting their churches were essential and should be allowed to open. It detailed their plan to reopen on May 31 — with or without the governor’s permission — while observing physical distancing and other virus precautions. “We believe you are attempting to act in the best interests of the state,” Tyler wrote to Newsom, according to the Los Angeles Times, “but the restrictions have gone too far and for too long. Newsom has slowly allowed some businesses to reopen as California’s coronavirus hospitalizations have flattened in recent weeks. While retail business, office buildings, restaurants, shopping centers were approved to open as part of California’s second phase — churches are still banned — along with hair salons and sporting events. They are barred from reopening until the state’s third phase. On Monday, Newsom said that could happen within weeks. Tyler said some of the pastors represent multiple churches. He expects that up to 3,000 churches across California could have in-person services on May 31. “This letter was not sent for the purposes of asking for permission,” he added. The letter comes as a high-ranking Justice Department (DOJ) official warned Tuesday that parts of the state’s coronavirus shutdown order may infringe upon religious freedoms in California. “Simply put, there is no pandemic exception to the U.S. Constitution and its Bill of Rights,” Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband wrote. “Laws that do not treat religious activities equally with comparable nonreligious activities are subject to heightened scrutiny under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.” U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez previously denied the church’s request to keep the state from enforcing the ban on in-person worship. In that decision, he wrote that “during public health crises, new considerations come to bear, and government officials must ask whether even fundamental rights must give way to a deeper need to control the spread of infectious disease and protect the lives of society’s most vulnerable (despite no exceptions listed in the First Amendment), ” according to the paper. Rabbi Michael Barclay signed the letter and plans on resuming services on May 31. He said he has been streaming his services, but not all of his congregants can use electricity on the Sabbath. “It’s been extremely difficult to stay in contact with people, especially to deal with people and their psychological, emotional, and spiritual needs,” said Barclay. “It really has hurt the psyche and the spirit of people.” Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report on Tuesday which showed that two symptomatic people who later tested positive for COVID-19 attended church events in rural Arkansas back in early March. 35 of 92 attendees who participated in events at the church later contracted the virus and three of them died. “We stayed home so the virus quieted down and stopped spreading widely where it was spreading widely, but it’s still out there,” CDC director Tom Frieden told Fox News Wednesday.    “So anytime you have a lot of people together in an indoor space and one of them is infectious, you can have a lot of cases.” In March, local police entered the Cross-Culture Christian Center in Lodi during a service to tell them they were violating the governor’s order. The church’s landlord later changed the locks, and police threatened to cite anyone who entered the property.

A Pentecostal church in Holly Springs, Mississippi that was refusing to shut down amid the pandemic and continuing to have services has burned down in an apparent act of arson. A call came into the police around 2:30am Wednesday morning that First Pentecostal Church was ablaze. Firefighters arrived on the scene but the whole structure was lost. At the scene of the fire, police found that someone had spray painted on the pavement the words “I Bet you stay home no you hypokrits.” The fire took place a couple of weeks after the pastor, Jerry Waldrop, filed a suit against the city of Holly Springs, due to several police officers crashing the churches bible study and Easter service several days previous, as well as protesting the unjust shelter-in-place laws in the state that is preventing the church from meeting. There were several members of the community upset and outraged that the church never stopped services, but Pastor Waldrop says he has no idea who did it.

The pastor urging churches nationwide to reopen in defiance of coronavirus shutdown orders is traveling to Chicago this Sunday to stand with a church the city fined $500 for holding service this week. Brian Gibson, pastor of His Church, a megachurch with locations in Owensboro, Ky., and Amarillo, Texas, is going to Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church, one of three the city fined for violating Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s statewide stay-at-home order, according to the Chicago Police Department. Gibson, who started the “Peaceable Gather” movement that now reportedly has thousands of churches on board, told Fox News he’s traveling to Pastor Cristian Ionescu’s church to “stand against injustice” in the location that “seems to be the belly of the beast.” His Church pastor points out Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s “double standard” for getting a haircut, but then using government force to blocking church parking lots and fine congregations: “There’s a ruling caste and you are peasants,” the pastor characterized her actions. “This is a refugee population that came here from a totalitarian government, had no religious liberties … and what do they find when they get in Chicago?” Gibson added. “They find thuggery, they shut down the streets around their church. These people are harassed … It’s un-American. It’s unacceptable. This is not Romania. This is not China … This is America. “So I go to stand with them for the First Amendment and stand for religious freedom and stand with my brothers and sisters in Christ.” Mat Staver, Liberty Counsel founder and chairman representing Elim and Logos Baptist Ministries, also slammed the governor and mayor’s actions as being “reminiscent of mob-like thuggery.” “The outrageous action by Mayor Lori Lightfoot is putting people in danger,” Staver said in a statement. “These heavy-handed tactics are unconstitutional and will not succeed.” The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals did not grant an injunction Saturday night pending appeal, with an expedited briefing expected to come in about three weeks. Ionescu held services with more than 100 people on Sunday after the church was denied a request for a temporary restraining order last week by a federal judge. He called the city’s efforts “vindictive.” U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman (a Clinton appointee) rejected the comparison between churches and grocery stores in his ruling and instead, said they are more comparable to schools, movie theaters or concert halls, where no one is currently allowed to gather. The ruling came a week after another church, the Beloved Church of Lena, represented by Thomas More Society, failed in its challenge against the governor’s orders.

Flowers growing next door to my place.

A close up of a yellow flower

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A cactus growing on my porch.

A close up of a flower

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Copywrite MPFitch

Published by mpfitch

I am a retired disabled veteran and am actively involved with a Baptist Church on the Central Coast of CA. I am a photographer who likes to shoot portraits and scenic photographs.

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