/ August 26, 2020
Officials in Maryland are encouraging residents to snitch on one another for breaking coronavirus “prevention guidelines.” And they are allowing the citizens to do so anonymously, a columnist noted.
The Maryland Emergency Management Agency, State Police, and Department of Health are touting a “COVID Prevention Line” and email address where citizens can “report situations of concern where prevention guidelines are being ignored and the potential for the spread of COVID-19 is high.” Reports will be followed up with a visit from the health department or law enforcement.
Since July 2, "nearly 40 Anne Arundel County businesses and restaurants have received citations, including my church," Rebekah Gantner, Executive Director of the Eagle Forum Education & Legal Defense Fund, noted in an Aug. 23 op-ed
After someone reported an anonymous tip, Gantner said an employee from the Anne Arundel County Department of Health showed up at her church's Sunday morning service.
The health official, Gantner noted, issued the chruch's associate pastor with a citation and an Order for Immediate Compliance. The order states that upon inspecting the church, “numerous deficiencies” were found “that result in an unreasonable risk of exacerbating the spread of COVID-19.”
The “deficiencies” cited include: “Employees and/or customers are not wearing required or proper face coverings that fully cover a person’s nose or mouth” and failure to follow “social distancing guidance.” The health official also referenced the “lively” singing which Gantner said consisted of one piano and hymns on a screen.
The order threatened the church with closure if it does not comply.
"As Adolf Hitler rose to power, he took control of churches, shut down businesses, encouraged neighbors to report each other, and created a public surveillance operation system. If these actions sound familiar, they should. Public officials and bureaucrats are now putting their own tyranny on full display, using the COVID-19 crisis to impose similar draconian tactics in the United States," Gantner wrote.
"History has shown time and again that tyrannical leaders who get a taste of power will abuse that power. Government bureaucrats have told churches over the past five months when they can and cannot meet, how many people can attend a service, that singing and home Bible studies are not allowed, and masks and social distancing are required. If government bureaucrats can make these demands, who is to say they won’t use or create a crisis to shut church doors forever?"
Free Press International