CC Bangor—Supreme Court
CC Bangor—Supreme Court

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Calvary Pastor Going before Supreme Court

Pastor Ken Graves Asks Believers to Pray and Fast May 5-12 for Religious Freedom Case

Story by Christmas Beeler and Margot Bass

The battle to restore religious freedoms in Maine, with some of the harshest COVID-19 restrictions in the country, hits the U.S. Supreme Court on May 13.

Maine’s governor, Janet Mills, has imposed a cap on religious gatherings of 50 persons or five per 1,000 square feet, in practicality limiting attendance at most churches in Maine to 50. In February, Ken Graves, senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Bangor, ME, filed the case with the Supreme Court with help from the nonprofit Liberty Counsel. Ken is calling on Christians to fast and pray with them before the hearing.

So we fasted and entreated our God for this, and He answered our prayer. Ezra 8:23

Ken announced, “The Supremes have decided to decide. They will take up our case on May 13. At that time, they will either A) hear our arguments and rule on the merits of the case, thus settling the issue for the whole nation, or B) they will do as they have done elsewhere and just order the lower court that ruled against us to reverse their decision from last year. We are praying for Plan A.” Pastor Ken seeks a clear answer for the nation, since many of the religious gathering caps that the Supreme Court has overturned or sent back to lower courts in the past year (such as New York, California, and Nevada) are only by temporary injunction.

Ken added, “Please join us in praying and fasting May 5-12. We are making Wednesday, May 12, a prayer meeting. Let’s make our appeal to heaven.” You can find Ken’s services at ccbangor.org.

The imposed limit subjects Maine’s churches to criminal penalties, fines, and other sanctions for gathering. “We have been forced to choose between worship and criminal punishment. In a country born on the desire to be free and with the right to worship fundamentally enshrined in our First Amendment, forcing such a Hobson’s choice is unconscionable and frightening,” he warned.

One aspect of the governor’s anti-religious bias affects CC Bangor’s Calvary Residential Discipleship (CRD), a Christ-centered addiction recovery program. The state allows unlimited occupancy at overnight shelters that feed and clothe those in need or offer social services, which includes counseling for addiction—so long as it does not include worship. Ken noted that the governor’s orders allow the CRD program to continue as long as they refrain from Bible reading and worship.

Ken wrote that the caveat is unacceptable: “As a pastor who has firsthand experience with the evils of substance abuse and who has worked nearly my entire life to help people trapped in bondage by their addictions, I know that Bible studies and worship are essential. … I cannot in good conscience remove worship from the CRD. … On the one hand, I am compelled to help the residents in their recovery; and on the other hand, doing so subjects me to criminal charges and fines.”

In light of record-breaking statistics about overdose deaths, anxiety disorders, and depressive disorders since the COVID-19 lockdowns, Ken insisted, “Gathering … to minister to these souls so desperately in need of the hope that only Jesus Christ can offer has never been more necessary, and Calvary Chapel intends to fill that void.”

“O Lord, I pray, please let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant, and to the prayer of Your servants who desire to fear Your name; and let Your servant prosper this day, I pray, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.” Nehemiah 1:11a

 

All verses above are quoted from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

© 2020 Calvary Chapel Magazine. All rights reserved. Articles or photographs may not be reproduced without the written permission of CCM. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.® Used by permission.

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