As news breaks nationally and internationally about the arrest of several congregants at Christ Church’ Psalm Sing, an event designed to be a brief time of public worship (three songs and a doxology) that took place at Moscow’s City Hall and attended by nearly 150 Christians singing acapella hymns, the usual mélange of harpies and professional tut-tutters have perked up and come out to play.
Predictably, out of their indignant displeasure for what one has called ‘Muscovite cultists’, one of the biggest falsehoods being passed around is that the congregants were arrested for not showing his ID to the police. Critics have been making the case they purposefully provoked the officers by not giving their ID, that they were arrested for not giving their ID, and that if only they would have shown their precious identification and complied with all Law Enforcement Officer directives they would have not been arrested.
The narrative is this: ‘You are not being persecuted and your rights are not under attack. You are being arrested for not showing your ID, and not some perceived slight or ‘violation of your constitutional rights.’
While it is true that at least some of the arrested attendees did not give their identification, reasoning that they were not committing a crime by singing worship publicly and therefore the police had to right to ask them that, that’s not the reason they were arrested. They were specifically arrested for violating “PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY ORDER No. 20.03”
By way of background, the city passed that ordinance back in July and then announced on Monday that they were extending the mask mandate until at least January 5th, 2021. On Tuesday Gabe Rench, one of the men eventually arrested, emailed the chief asking him to refuse to enforce the order, telling him this was his “Daniel Moment” and pleaded for interposition and for the chief to stand up for them. On Wednesday they had Psalm Sing, with Pastor Doug Wilson telling attendees that if they didn’t plan on social distancing during the event, they may get a ticket or get arrested.
Rench explains what happened with his arrest- comments edited slightly for clarity.
“The cops just walked up to me and my mom first because we were kind of the closest to them- they weren’t signaling anybody else. And they asked my mom ‘are you guys together?’ and my mom’s like ‘we’re family’ and she grabs my arm. And then I grabbed my buddy Tyler’s arm…and I said to the cops ‘but we’re not.’
After that, the cop came to talk to me and said ‘give me a license, I’m going to write you a ticket.’ So I said to the cop ‘you don’t need to do this, you don’t need to write me a ticket.’ And the cop repeated himself ‘give me your license.’ And I said ‘look, you’re better than this. It’s your job to actually defend the people… your job is for the citizens, not the mayor.’
And so we kind of went back and forth on this, and then he said ‘this is my last time. I’m gonna arrest you’ and I said, ‘you don’t need to do this’ And then I looked at [Police Chief James Fry] as they’re starting to arrest me, (They’ve had Chief Fry in the studio before and have met in person) and told him this could be his ‘Daniel Moment.’
As Rench was taken into custody, one of the videographers asked what crime he was charged with. Officer Thueson answers:
“He’s been charged with a violation of the city’s ordinance 20-03“
According to the ordinance:
“Every person in the city of Moscow must wear a face covering that covers their nose and mouth when in any indoor or outdoor public setting where the 6-foot physical distancing is not able to be maintained with non-household members.”
In accordance with Moscow City Code Section 1-11-10, any person who knowingly violates the provisions of this order may be charged with a misdemeanor. The maximum penalties for this offense are up to 6 months in the county jail and a $1,000 fine.
Not only do we have confirmation from the arresting officer, but we also have their police report from the city of Moscow. Notice how there is nothing about the refusal to show an ID or resisting arrest.
Contrary to unpopular wokefolk opinion, this story is as egregious as it sounds, and the violation of social distancing, not the refusal to present ID, is the reason at the worshippers were arrested.
Update 1: from a press release by the city:
“Upon confirmation that the individuals were unwilling to comply with the Order by either social distancing from non-household members or wearing a face covering, five attendees were cited for violating the Order. Of those cited, two individuals were also cited for Resisting and Obstructing, and three individuals were arrested and released from custody the same day. The five individuals that received citations will be prosecuted according to law. “