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Colorado Springs church says it has Constitutional right to open, defying state health order

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- A Colorado Springs Church remains open for worship services even though there is a State Health Department order banning gatherings of 10 or more.

Leadership at Colorado Springs Fellowship Church tell KRDO they have no plans of closing. The church says that it has a Constitutional right to practice their religion, even amid the public health order aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Colorado Health Department officials tell KRDO this is the first example of defying the order in this manner that they've seen.

A YouTube video of Colorado Springs Fellowship's Sunday service on March 22 shows dozens of people in attendance.

The state order banning gatherings of 10 or more went into effect on March 19. The order specifically mentions that faith-based events are not exempt.

Pastor Rose Banks addressed coronavirus concerns with her congregation on Sunday.

"Now I want you to understand this ... if I'm a Christian, if I'm living for God, if I'm doing the right thing, why would God send a virus to kill me?" Pastor Banks says. "For us to create this type of fear and paranoia in this country … is amazing to me."

The vice president of the church, Lamont Banks, said the church has no plans to shut down. He declined an on-camera interview but did provide a statement.

"It is our belief under the Constitution that we will exercise our religious right as a church in this community," Banks said. "We exercise our rights, as it is the exercising of faith according to the word of God. We live by this as it is our faith. It is our belief that in this time of crisis according to scripture we run to the church as a place of Refuge and a place of hope for all those that seek it. We will under no circumstances close the doors of Colorado Springs Fellowship Church. We stand by this belief."

The language in the order indicates it is enforceable with fines of up to $1,000 and a year in county jail. However, both state and county health departments say voluntary compliance is preferred.

The state health department did tell KRDO on Tuesday that local law enforcement and the state can get involved if a request from the county health department isn't enough.

It's unclear if the El Paso County Health Department is looking into the situation at Colorado Springs Fellowship. A spokesperson told us that complaints could be filed through its new hotline.

You can reach health officials at (719) 578-3167.


Colorado Springs / Coronavirus / Investigations / Local News

Chelsea Brentzel

Chelsea is an investigative reporter for KRDO NewsChannel 13. Learn more about Chelsea here.

Comments

58 Comments

  1. These are the same people that dance with snakes and spin their heads around. If they get Conronavirus they should have to pay their medical bills without any outside help.

    1. I guess ALL the people at WalMart other stores & at the parks in large gatherings is okay? It is everyone’s right, Constitutional right to choose to turn to GOD in a time of crisis. This is the time for us to pray to GOD for the virus to stop and not continue to get worst. The POWER of PRAYER works. Try it instead of the negative comments.

      1. No, Walmarts and other stores should also be adhering to the social distancing rules and requisite distance spacing and # of persons who can be within a given space.

        That doesn’t exactly apply to being outdoors, in terms of the # of people who can be present in an outdoor setting (though social distancing spacing still applies). Otherwise at a population of 350 million, we’d be well over that limit.

        Nobody is saying that folks can’t worship God. Just that they (and everybody else) cannot gather within a building, unless very specific criteria is met. Do it online. Do it in the privacy of your own home.

        It’s not that difficult.

  2. Your comment is absurd! It is this church’s and it’s members religious rights to continue their regular services to worship and praise God during this coronavirus crisis. Apparently, you have no faith or real relationship with God to know that he covers those that are His under his blood and protect them from all harm! Worry about yourself and leave other people’s business alone!

    1. You are my business, and I do worry about you. whileis your right to worship God, it is also your right to respect the rights of others. Clear disregard for your ability to infect others and the Cavalier attitude of you can do it because it’s your right, shows that you need to reprioritize your understanding of God. Show compassion for others not self-indulgence for yourself.

  3. To – WhoDatBe. Your comment is not true. As a member for over 30 years our church is not involved in any such foolishness. The CSF Church actively supports the Colorado Springs community and is also know as the Loving Kindness church for our programs that honor the military, purchase school supplies and help families with Thanksgiving and Christmas. During this time our goal is to give hope and encouragement in the midst of fear and uncertainty. In a time of crisis, the church is a refuge. The word of God says, “forsake not the assembly of ourselves together” Hebrews 10:25 Our services do not defy ANY MANDATES. That also is an incorrect headline and statement. We are exercising our constitutional rights and wholehearted believe that our efforts in seeking God to intervene while also holding obedience to God’s Word as our instruction for proper conduct, is the right position to take as believers that God is going to bring this nation and world through this crisis and “heal our land.”

    1. Thanks for your support and giving us the Coronavirus. Your negligence impersonal Self Indulgence as well as an incorrect interpretation of your right we’re surely spread the virus among those who are trying to do the right thing. Including other worshippers oh God, the innocent children and the elderly. Think about this why you are claiming exercise you’re right.

  4. Clearly the church values the income from their congregation more than the welfare of the people in the congregation. If people choose to attend a church like that, they deserve everything they may get there, although I wouldn’t wish COVID-19 on my worst enemy…

    1. Perhaps a more accurate description is that these people think they can simply believe that they won’t get COVID-19 and they will not get it.

      If this is true, then there is no need for medical supplies for doctors and nurses as all the doctors and nurses have to do is to simply think it will go away and that will make it go away.

  5. You have the right but please do us all a favor and lock your doors when you all get there and don’t come out until it’s over. The Bible also tells you not to associate with the rest of us heathens.

    1. Definition of a Right

      A right is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man’s range of activity in a social environment.

      A corollary of this is the principle that a man must never initiate the use of physical force in human interactions.

      The validation of rights is that rights are necessary for man to use his faculty of reason and reason is man’s sole and most fundamental natural tool of survival.

      Rights derive NOT from Divine Law nor from Legislative Law but from the Law of Identity, man is man.

      Rights are NOT self evident but are rationally demonstrable.

  6. This church doesn’t live or follow God’s word like Pastor Banks claims. The bible says in Romans chapter 13 verse 1 and 2 that we are to Obey the laws of the land (this is short version of scripture). The government isn’t telling people to stop practicing their religion or believing in God; they are telling people to stay home in order to get control of this virus. It’s not about fear or paranoia. If they want to bring hope to people then they can live stream their services. They can continue their religion while protecting people from spreading or contracting the virus. People need to use common sense and wisdom. If people in this church get sick they cant blame God, they should blame themselves for their own ignorance. This is why it is so important for people in churches to read their bible to see if their Pastor is preaching God’s word or their own opinion. They should be fined for not obeying the law.

  7. Our Lord Jesus is about relationships, and peace not defiant to a governor order and using God to okay wrong doing.
    My bible says, render unto God what is God not mix religion into a cris instead God wants us to pray in times like these. You couldn’t be serving the Almighty God, more of a selfish reason not to comply. Don’t mess around and be the Church that was left behind. When the blind leads the blind they all fall in a ditch. You will be held accountable by our Lord Jesus for each day you’re not in compliance.

  8. Our Lord Jesus is about relationships, and peace not defiant to a governor order and using God to okay wrong doing.
    My bible says, render unto God what is God not mix religion into a State of Emergency instead God wants us to pray in times like these. You couldn’t be serving the Almighty God, more of a selfish reason not to comply. Don’t mess around and be the Church that was left behind. When the blind leads the blind they all fall in a ditch. You will be held accountable by our Lord Jesus for each day you’re not in compliance.

  9. Everything here is wrong includeing the comments. God did not give us covid 19. We as humans did it to ourselves. I do respect this church for staying open.But I am not sure they are doing it for the right reasons. Look into the construction industry we’re I work didn’t Evan slow down. Tons of people face to face working together. Do construction worker have no value? I am not afraid of this virus, why because I trust my God in life or death. I know he will be there for me. Why because I am doing my part for him, He has already done his part for me. What does bother me is the fear people have over this pandemic and other things. Because they don’t know God.

    1. And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites
      are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and
      in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men.
      Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

  10. Limiting social interaction is not prohibiting the free exercise of religion. My wife attends services through Zoom or other 21st-century technology that allows her to congregate without subjecting others to greater risk. These guys are completely irresponsible and should be subject to any fines or other punishments as a result.

  11. All you negative people need to shut up. If these people want to go to church and worship God it is not your business. So many people trying to say what the bible says and they don’t know what they are talking about. It is obvious they don’t have a clue about scripture and how God protects “real Christians”. Bottom line, if you are afraid and in a panic you are not a Christian.

  12. FOR THE RECORD:

    A right is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man’s range of activity in a social environment.

    A corollary of this is the principle that a man must never initiate the use of physical force in human interactions.

    The validation of rights is that rights are necessary for man to use his faculty of reason and reason is man’s sole and most fundamental natural tool of survival.

    Rights derive NOT from Divine Law nor from Legislative Law but from the Law of Identity, man is man.

    Rights are NOT self evident but are rationally demonstrable.

    As such, according to the Ninth Amendment, Americans have a right to not be exposed to a deadly disease just beacuse these people want to congregate thus endangering us all.

    And for that matter, FAITH is belief in something that there is no evidence from or is against the evidence. Faith is NOT reason. Please be reasonable, folks.

    1. Nicely said. It is sad that this group doesn’t care about anything but themselves. IF they cause someone to get the virus they should be made to pay their medical bills and any wages they would would miss since they could not work, or they should be locked in their church so they can not spread it to anyone.

      1. Actually, according to tort laws, if someone dies due to such neglect then the one(s) who did the neglecting can get the death sentence. While this is also Biblical…”an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,” (If I may quote their god.)these people expect us to forgive them, to not hold them responsible for their actions.

  13. Romans 13:1-2 says: “Obey the government, for God is the One who has put it there. There is no government anywhere that God has not placed in power. So those who refuse to obey the law of the land are refusing to obey God, and punishment will follow.”

  14. First off what are you trying to imply of the majority good people dying in this world? Are they an enemy of God and now they deserve punishment? You just exposed yourself to be incredibly invalid to your congregation. Luring intelligent, significant humans with that line of crud. Sad actually that you take advantage of genuine people. I hope you and your kind are eliminated from this church and all others as leaders, or any other position of influence. You need god not to use him to ultimately prey on his creations. Everyone else can turn to online why won’t you? As your reputation goes maybe because you don’t make enough money to suit your own desires. Use others like you do god to pull the wool over the eyes of humans you turn to sheep you abuse. You should see you yourself need to do some soul searching just to ensure that you have one still. It’s like a child learning the person they thought was their loving, protective parent is indeed a child predator of them or another. You just orphaned your congregation. Faith or no god wants us to have and use our brain, our hearts, and honor soul in doing so. Nice try though. Pretty typical.

  15. Also, people who deserve things via their choices will never include children. They should be able to trust adults. Adults therefore should not put that in harm’s way by exploiting other adults. I’m praying now for the children’s safety in the church, and the true enlightenment and strength and true support of the mislead adults supporting it currently operated all to obviously by the individuals who are not looking out for them competently or sincerely.

  16. Good! I’m gonna have to donate some money to them. I wish more businesses and groups would do the same. This over-hyped annual flu is an attempt to manipulate us and all of you calling for legal action against people exercising their rights are the problem. No thank you to the police state we’re headed towards.

    1. “This over-hyped annual flu…” You won’t find a single medical expert who will agree with your ignorant evaluation. President Trump may agree with you, but that is self-explanatory…

    2. If you had the time to do a little research you would know that CoVid 19 is not the flu, it is not even related to influenza. It has 20 times the mortality rate of flu and is close to 3 times as infectious. To equate this epidemic to seasonal flu is a huge mistake, and, yes, I a real doctor, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, class of 1984.

  17. For the record, the family associated with running this “church” has a history of mismanagement of finances. In 2011, six members of the church were convicted of multi-million dollar wire fraud by a federal jury, including several members of the pastor’s family. It was in reference to a sham software company that never delivered the products it had been paid for.

  18. They are not exempt from God when he made it clear to follow the laws of the land. When or if they get anyone sick or are the cause of anyone’s death, God will see that the correct consequences from the lawmakers of the land will be handed out. If this is truly a church where God is God they will do what is right for all mankind, not just that church base of people. God is just, he is kind, but he also expects obedience for his followers. To get this kind of negative responses from so many gives these people a bad reputation and the church will not prosper or grow. Maybe that will be the consequence put on them. True God fearing people would obey the laws of the land. Look at all the other churches in town, they are closed. It’s is this one that will have people question God and they will reap what God and man have for them. Watch this play out.please note that I do not attend church anywhere, but I do believe than whoever your higher being is expects you to do the right thing for the greater good of all.

    1. If god is just and kind why did he send this disease, god could stop this with a twitch of his nose if he chose to do so. And why Ebola, SARS, MERS, pneumonia, Black Death, Pandemic of 1918, malaria, AIDS, TB, etc etc. If you ask me, the universe is trying very hard to kill us all, and if there is a god, he is woefully uninvolved.

      1. God did not give us this or any of the other viruses/pandemics. God gives mankind choices. We have the choice of what we are going to believe, what kind of life and lifestyle we are going to live. If we want to be good or evil, happy or sad, you get the point. With that said, man started the spread of this zoonotic disease when he made the choice to sell live wild animals illegally in the market. I know there are literally 100’s of conspiracy theories, but science has proven otherwise. So please don’t bring them up, that is not the point of all this. God does allow it to continue (now that I don’t know why, as I am not God) my best guess is to allow us to reap what we sow. You can blame God all you want to, but honestly that seems like a waste of time because last I heard there is a higher being for most everyone and probably in your best not to question why as you may get an answer you really did not want.

  19. This church should be heavily fined and forcibly closed for defying the public order. There is no constitutional right to stupidity and those who put the public health at risk should not be tolerated. If they are so sure “God” will protect them, let them head out to Spain or Italy where “God” apparently has other ideas.

  20. There are many false brethren, false gospels based on works, not on the blood of Christ. This so called shepherd stated he is doing what is right so God won’t give him the virus. He confesses God rewards his good behavior but fails to realize that Scripture declares there is none good, no, not one! Romans 3. Faith is believing in Christ and who he is and what he has accomplished, not in what you can accomplish. The early disciples were butchered, most of them. They had faith in Christ, not a physical salvation in the flesh of a fallen world. Do not tempt the Lord with your well being, if he wills you will be healthy and if he wills your days will be done. The Lord gives and he takes away, blessed be his name.

  21. Jim Jones was a charismatic leader, too. I suggest missing Koolaid day. The Lord provides, he protects but the devil is there trying to kill you with every misstep. “I sent benevolent leaders forth to warn you to take care of yourself. To ignore this is to follow a false profit and will surely bring demise.”

  22. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/share-facts-h.pdf Know the facts about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and help stop the spread of rumors. There are simple things you can do to help keep yourself and others healthy. 1)Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.2) Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.3) Stay home when you are sick.4) Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. People …this pandemic fear is making people irrational.

  23. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/03/covid-19-coronavirus-who-media-guidelines-stigma-language/ Facts, not fear, will stop COVID-19 – so how should we talk about it?
    It’s not a “plague” or an “apocalypse”; it’s not a “Chinese” or “Asian” disease; and people with COVID-19 should not be described as “spreading the virus”. “Evidence clearly shows that stigma and fear around communicable diseases hamper the response. What works is building trust in reliable health services and advice, showing empathy with those affected, understanding the disease itself, and adopting effective, practical measures so people can help keep themselves and their loved ones safe.” No Stigma, no fear – practical measures are going out the window here…if you don’t stay calm, it won’t be COVID19 that will change your health…

  24. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/two-takes-depression/201106/if-it-bleeds-it-leads-understanding-fear-based-media If It Bleeds, It Leads: Understanding Fear-Based Media
    Managing depression requires you to mind your media intake. News is a money-making industry. One that doesn’t always make the goal to report the facts accurately. Gone are the days of tuning in to be informed straightforwardly about local and national issues. In truth, watching the news can be a psychologically risky pursuit, which could undermine your mental and physical health.

  25. My God did NOT tell me not to associate with the rest of you… He said not to become like you. He said that when you curse us,we should not done with you. He also said we should go and tell EVERYONE that He loves you ALL. We are to do that, not only with our words,but also in what we do. Gathering in fellowship and praying for you all, is a critical part of that! It’s when we gather in His name, that our faith grows and our works become more powerful. Yes, even you all who curse us, though we may not sit and share a meal with you, we MUST still pray for you all, and we must find the right way to show you His love for you, difficult as it might be for some of us, to focus on Him, in fellowship with our faithful brothers and sisters will help us find the way! (If I were you, I wouldn’t interfere with that!! Lol…(not joking at all, really)

    And hey, I was of the belief that religious orginizations don’t have to follow even Federal law, and doesn’t federal law trump city ordinances and state mandates? Or does it?

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