A church deacon from Idaho who was arrested for his outdoor worship service is speaking out against what he thinks is a severe erosion of Constitutional protections. Gabriel Rench is telling the story of how he was arrested after singing hymns in front of the city hall in Moscow, Idaho, last September.

Background on Arrest

Moscow is a sleepy little college town located approximately one hour south of Spokane, Washington. Largely due to the presence of the University of Idaho, the town is known to be a progressive hotbed in a mostly conservative state.

Rench’s arrest made national news last fall when law enforcement arrested three individuals while citing five others for protesting against the mayor’s public health order. The protest was organized by Rench’s Christ Church. The peaceful protest involved a group of people gathering at the steps of City Hall, signing songs for approximately 20 minutes. To show their respect for proper social distancing protocols in the era of COVID-19, the group had placed yellow dots stationed six feet apart so participants would know where to safely stand.

Hymn Book Taken Away

When listening to Rench recount the arrest, it is clear that what bothers him the most is that the authorities took away his hymn book just prior to handcuffing him and taking him to the county jail. Rench is also hurt that many fellow Christians have rebuked him for standing up for his right to worship and peacefully protest. He pointed to the fact that the lack of courage in the nation’s political leaders goes back to the same lack of courage present in some spiritual leaders.