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Judge Dismisses Charges Against Idaho Church Deacon Arrested for Singing Outdoors

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An Idaho court has now dismissed charges against a deacon who was among three Christians arrested last September in Moscow, Idaho for participating in an outdoor worship service.

Deacon Gabriel Rench was detained during a "Psalm Sing" in the Moscow City Hall parking lot on Sept. 23. The event was hosted by Christ Church as one of the congregation's monthly hymn sings, according to attorneys with the Thomas More Society.

Nearly 200 people attended the outdoor gathering. 

But police arrested those individuals for reportedly violating Moscow's mask mandate and the social distancing restrictions that were in place due to the pandemic. 

Rench explained, "We had done the Psalm Sing in the past under the same (mask) resolution and we weren't arrested, we weren't warned…we were just taking our constitutional liberties to do what we're allowed to do under the Constitution – worship."

Thomas More Society Special Counsel Michael Jacques pointed out that the city violated its own mandate when police officers unlawfully arrested Deacon Rench and the others.
"Mr. Rench and the other worshippers who were arrested had their constitutionally protected liberties violated and their lives disrupted – not only by the inappropriate actions of law enforcement officers, but also by city officials who did not immediately act to correct this unlawful arrest," Jacques explained. 

Pastor Toby Sumpter with Christ Church shared the good news on Twitter, saying the Psalm Sing was "completely legal and protected by our city code."

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About The Author

Andrea Morris

Andrea Morris is a Features Producer for The 700 Club. She came to CBN in 2019 where she worked as a web producer in the news department for three years. Her passion was always to tell human interest stories that would touch the hearts of readers while connecting them with God. She transitioned into her new role with The 700 Club in August 2022.