Faith Wins: Moscow, Idaho, Pays Out $300,000 to Christians Arrested During Pandemic

faith wins moscow idaho pays out 300000 to christians arrested during pandemic
Moscow Report/Facebook

Three Christians arrested while maskless at an outdoor church service held during the coronavirus pandemic are being paid out $300,000 after settling with the city of Moscow, Idaho.  

Moscow is home to the University of Idaho. 

Gabriel Rench and Sean and Rachel Bohnet filed a lawsuit against city officials in March 2021, alleging their first and fourth amendment rights were violated by being arrested during the “psalm sing” organized by leaders from Christ Church in September 2020, Fox News Digital reported. The church had previously held services outside of Moscow city hall, but according to pastor Rev. Ben Zornes, this particular one was about making a statement against these “largely groundless laws,” Breitbart reported. Mask mandates in the city were in effect until January 2021. 

“We wanted to make a statement that we’re ready to head back to normal,” Zornes said.

City officials had placed yellow circles six feet apart for social distancing guidance along Friendship Square. 

Video footage shows Rench and the Bohnet getting put in handcuffs while the members of the congregation peacefully sing, following along in their hymn booklets. At the time, the arrests  garnered criticism by then President Donald Trump on Twitter. The trio were charged with violating the city’s health ordinance, and they were detained for a couple hours. 

However, exemptions to the ordinance existed, including religious activity and other activities protected under both the United States Constitution and the Idaho State Constitution. 

The city’s charges against the three were dismissed by a magistrate judge.

“Plaintiffs should never have been arrested in the first place, and the constitutionality of what the City thought it’s [sic] Code said is irrelevant,” according to District judge Morrison C. England Jr.

 “It’s actually the city of Moscow that was defying the law,” Rench told Fox News Digital. “I was obeying the law. The political system doesn’t want to give away their power, and they think if they admit they’re wrong, they look at that as like they’re losing their political power.”

Rench says that Americans’ civil liberties — especially their religious freedom — is under attack.

“I’m in a conservative state, but I live in a liberal town, and the liberals had no problem arresting me for practicing my religious rights and my Constitutional rights,” Rench said. “But my [Republican] governor also didn’t defend me either. If you look at what’s going on in Canada, I think America’s 10 years, at most 20 years, behind Canada if we don’t make significant changes.”

In the COVID-19 pandemic, a Canadian pastor was jailed and fined for holding worship services, Breitbart reported.


faith wins moscow idaho pays out 300000 to christians arrested during pandemic

Gabriel Rench (Gabriel

Authored by Elaine Mallon via Breitbart July 20th 2023