Shutdown Protesters Including Lancaster Pastor Call Gov. Wolf a Tyrant Over COVID Quarantine
They Don’t Want Welfare, They Want to Work, Protesters Say
Hundreds of angry Pennsylvanians gathered outside the state Capitol in Harrisburg April 20 demanding that Democrat Gov. Tom Wolf reopen the Keystone State.
Among them was Joel Saint, pastor of Independence Reformed Bible Church in Lancaster, who said he showed up to communicate and network with other pastors who say Wolf has “absolutely exceeded his authority” and acknowledge that the Bible is the book that “sets the limits on political authority.”
“We believe that Christ set all authority,” he told reporters at the protest, including Breitbart News, adding, “that’s why we have legislation, that’s why we have written constitutions to limit the power and the authority of tyrannical people and yes, this governor is a tyrant.”
Saint said his own family has been severely impacted by the economic shutdown and that he and his parishioners are not happy with socialist payouts for companies or individuals.
“We’re not thrilled with taking other people’s money in the form of these stimulus checks — doesn’t really make us feel all that good,” he said.
Pennsylvania residents are currently under a stay-at-home order in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus and keep infections at a manageable level by hospitals, but many are upset that they aren’t given a say in judging their own risk levels, and want to get back to work.
“How about this? How about you stop taking our money, and I won’t ask for any of it back,” he said.
Saint added that welfare “is not a way of life. (Welfare) is not the job of the state, because the state takes it away by force,” he told the crowd of protesters. “The church and the family give it away voluntarily. No more state-sponsored welfare. It’s unbiblical and ungodly and needs to stop.”
“I’m worried about all the rights that have been taken away from people because of the coronavirus,” he said. “I’m not concentrating on China right now. I’m concentrating on the US of A and Gov. Wolf, who are overreacting, overreaching, and destroying their neighbors.”
There have been about 32,000 confirmed COVID-19 infections in Pennsylvania, and just over 1,100 deaths, according to the state Department of Health. Opponents of the lockdown and quarantine note that the infection and death rate for the common flu is higher.
Jodie Zeiders of Reading said she attended Monday’s rally because of her friends who are small business owners. She said she wants them to be able to reopen safely, while practicing social distancing and offering workers’ protections.
Wolf on Monday said he is extending the statewide stay-at-home order until at least May 8, and vetoed a Republican bill that would have allowed some businesses to reopen. Wolf said he might relax lockdown restrictions in certain counties before May 8.
Wolf however did say he will allow “limited construction” statewide beginning May 8 provided social distancing protocols are followed on site. He also expanded the number of state-run wine and spirits stores that offer curbside pickup.