A San Diego church, fed up with unfair restrictions on churches while strip clubs are allowed to open to the public, has taken a dig at the city’s authorities.

Before the start of Sunday’s preach, the speakers at Awaken Church did a ‘strip’, where they removed their jackets, ties and belts, mocking the fact that churches have such strict guidelines.

“Strip clubs (Not Churches) are exempt from the Covid lockdowns, and are deemed essential by our governor!” senior pastor Jurgen Matthesius stated on Instagram. “Soooooo… we decided we are NOW AWAKEN FAMILY FRIENDLY STRIP CLUB! (Where we strip the devil of his hold, power & authority over people’s lives!) Enjoy the intro to the preach today!”

The pastor recently posted the image below, as there is a widening divide in just how many deaths are Covid related.

Related: Pastor: ‘Despite the Hype, Is Covid a Major Health Concern?

In early August, the megachurch responded after receiving a cease and desist order on indoor services from the San Diego county.

The church’s pastors were interviewed on Good Morning San Diego, where they pleaded the side of churches being allowed to re-open.

California Governor Gavin Newsom has been heavily criticized for ruling over churches with a heavy hand during the COVID lockdown, causing frustration, even anger, amongst both pastors and churchgoers who believe that worship and the work of the church are essential. At the same time, stores like Walmart and Home Depot see hundreds of people strolling through them.

“There is a desperate need for the church with the brokenness within our community,” senior pastor Jurgen Matthesius stated at the time.

“We have buried three people in the last five weeks who didn’t die of COVID, but because of it… the overbearing restrictions around COVID. There is no data that shows COVID signs linked to church services.”

“What we don’t do is compromise our First Amendment right that says congress shall make no law prohibiting churches from operating,” said Pastor Leanne. “We are doing as much as we can to be compliant, but there are some things that we will not compromise.

“It’s interesting that the media chooses to not show the signs we have in place to protect people. They are trying to push a narrative that makes us look reckless and careless. Nothing could be further from the truth. We have had multiple meetings with the county and they have gone really well.” 

We won’t take a back seat because we are told we are non-essential,” Jurgen continued. “We know we are essential because each and every day, lives are being saved.”

In Nevada, casinos are raking in the customers, while churches are under strict rules. When concerns over COVID-19 first began, Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley voluntarily began conducting services virtually, before Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak imposed a hard cap of fifty people maximum for churches and other religious gatherings. 

And while churches in the state were capped at 50 people, the state’s world-famous casinos were being treated far more favorably, allowed to welcome hundreds to thousands of visitors up to half their buildings’ capacity.

As the months dragged on, the spiritual toll of the pandemic grew. Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley wanted to hold in-person services and be treated at least as good as casinos, including the one about four miles away from the church. The church has filed a lawsuit via Alliance Defending Freedom.

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