The city of Lake Worth, Florida has taken a cue from old-world Soviet Union tactics and sent an actual spy to investigate the inner workings of a local church.
Pastor Mike Olive, of the Common Ground Church believed they were targeted by the city because rumors were circulating that his church was “anti-gay.” Remarkably, it was the city commissioner, Andy Amoroso, who was spreading the rumors, according to Olive.
The Common Ground Church owns a coffee house that also acted as a place of gathering for their weekly worship, reported Fox News’ Todd Starnes.
“After we opened up the coffee bar and started doing services, I heard that [Amoroso] told people we were anti-gay,” Olive said. “So I went to ask him about that.”
Olive said he wanted to set the record straight and have a man to man conversation with the commissioner.
“Our message to the gay community is the same as it is to the straight community,” he told Amoroso. Olive said that he tried to express that they are all about “loving God and people.”
That didn’t appease the commissioner who, according to Oliver, threatened that “[Oliver] better not have a church down there.”
A few days later a code enforcement officer – dressed in a hoodie – showed up for the spy mission. The notes he officially reported indicate that the officer has read one-too-many spy novels.
“I walked back to the Coffee Bar and was able to visualize, in my opinion what appeared to be a ministry in progress,” he wrote in his report.
He also noted critical findings like, “I was approached by an unknown man with a cross around his neck,” and “someone speaking from a podium.”
He secretly recorded the service and mentioned in his report that “their case file” will be used against them.
Unfortunately, the Common Ground Church is not the only one who is feeling the city’s wrath.
Church’s in Lake Worth will now have to apply for business licenses that include permits and fees in order to operate, according to Starnes.
Joan Abell, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church said she was troubled by the new regulations.
“We’ve been there 99 years and we’ve never had to have a license,” she told the Lake Worth Tribune. “Where do you all of a sudden say the church has to have a license to gather and pray?”
When the church becomes the enemy of the progressive state – that’s when.
Matt Staver, founder of the religious liberty law firm, Liberty Counsel, is on the case and says the city’s actions violate both Federal and Florida Constitutions.
“Churches are not businesses and need not obtain such licenses,” Staver wrote in a letter to the city.
But city officials warn that noncompliant churches will be shut down by the fire department.
For now, Pasto Olive said his church will be taking his congregation underground instead of meeting in the church-owned coffee house.
That makes it a sad day for liberty in America.
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