ABOVE: Randy Thomasson with SaveCalifornia.com appeared on the Tuesday edition of CBN Newswatch to talk more about the California pastor's plea to reopen churches. Newswatch is seen weekdays on the CBN News Channel.
A California pastor's plea with Gov. Gavin Newsom is getting national attention after he recorded a video message asking the governor to reopen churches ahead of Easter Sunday.
In a video, Pastor Jack Trieber of the North Valley Baptist Church in Santa Clara tells Newsom that congregants have obeyed the state mandates for over a year, but "enough is enough."
"Governor Newsom, I implore you to open up our churches Easter Sunday, April 4," Trieber said. "This is Sunday, early in the morning, and we're freezing out here. We're cold. We've been obeying for 366 days, one year and one day. We've shut our church down. We're meeting in the parking lot. We're meeting in open-air meetings and we have tents everywhere."
"We need our church open," Trieber added, explaining that the weather has forced church members to sit in their vehicles during the sermon. "We're out here literally freezing in the winter. Through hail this past week, as people sat here, and through rain. And we are very hot in the summer. Yet we have a 3,000-seat auditorium that sits empty."
CBN News has previously reported that North Valley Baptist Church is facing financial penalties exceeding $100,000 for initially holding indoor worship services.
As the number of fines continued to climb, Pastor Trieber submitted to the state requirements and began holding worship services outdoors.
Trieber tells Newsom in the video that congregants have sacrificed many holidays and observances over the past year out of respect to the government and its guidelines.
"In addition to Easter, we gave you Mother's Day and Father's Day. We gave you July 4th. We gave you Labor Day. We gave you all the summer, we gave you all the spring, we gave you all of the fall. Enough is enough, sir."
Mat Staver of the Liberty Counsel, a religious liberty law firm, called Newsom's COVID restrictions on churches "unconstitutional." He said the church is incurring "horrendous fees for simply exercising its First Amendment right to worship."
In his conclusion, Pastor Trieber asked the governor to permit the church's reopening on Easter Sunday and for attendees to forgo the mask.
"Let us worship God. Let us have a choir," he said. "It's hard to believe there's a pastor asking the government if we can open up. This is not a communist country. We have been closed 52 Sundays and we need to get back."