In a tweet from earlier today, Republican Governor Tate Reeves came down hard against Greenville Mayor Errick Simmons and local law enforcement for their unconstitutional actions of shutting down all churches, breaking up services, and fining congregants $500.00 for participating in drive-in services.
As we wrote about in our post Breaking: Police Assail Another Greenville Church in Overwhelming Show of Force, which only happened yesterday, the mayor issued an “executive order” shutting down all churches, even those who have drive-in services where social distancing is strictly observed. The members stay in their cars at all times and have the sermon piped through the FM station, honking their horns in place of “amen!”
Two churches who refused to abide by that order and held services anyway – Temple Baptist Church and King James Bible Baptist Church – had their services overrun with police officers and were fined or threatened to be fined.
As the story went viral and gained national attention, thanks to radio host and commentator Todd Starnes, Governor Reeves tweeted in response to the article:
In a video upload to his Facebook page earlier today, Pastor Charles E. Hamilton Jr. of King James Bible Baptist Church thanked the governor for coming to their defense and repudiating the acts of the city:
“The Lord has really blessed what’s going on here in Greenville. The Lord is working. The governor took a stand for the churches, Temple Baptist Church and King James Bible Baptist Church here in Greenville. Governor Reeves really took a stand and basically told them that they don’t have the right to send law enforcement to churches so long as we are abiding by the social distance orders that were set forth by the governor himself. And so Tate Reeves took a stand for the churches in Greenville.”
While Pastor Hamilton Jr. clearly had no compunction about violating what he believed was an unconstitutional and ungodly decree, he also urged grace and kindness towards the mayor and officers, stating that he had no tolerance for any abuse of them. Responding to people leaving cruel and angry comments on his page, he urges:
“I see a lot of people on my Facebook page using derogatory terms and words towards Mayor Errick Simmons. I want to let all of you know that I do not stand for that. Mayor Simmons – he’s my mayor. I might not agree with the executive order that was set forth by Mayor Errick Simmons, or the city councilmen and the city councilwomen…I might not agree with their order and I stood up against it, but I don’t like that a lot of people on my page are using derogatory terms, calling the mayor dumb and calling him different types of names.
I refuse to have people talk about my mayor. He’s still my mayor…I live in Greenville….even though I disagree with him, even though I stood against his ordinance because I think it’s violating the word of God and our constitutional right…he’s still my mayor and I don’t want anybody on Facebook, on any of my posts, using a derogatory term or words toward my mayor…. He’s a mayor. He’s a person that God loves. He’s a husband. He’s a dad. He’s a brother. He’s a son, He’s an uncle. He’s a nephew. He’s a cousin, so don’t talk bad about Mayor Errick Simmons.”
Pastor Hamilton Jr. also reiterated he felt the same way about law enforcement officers, stating he isn’t mad at them and will not stand for anyone bad-mouthing them either.