After one full year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the statistics have been very consistent: 1/10 of 1% of El Paso County’s population of 732,874 people have died from the virus. (This means that 99.9% of our county have not died from the virus!) 3/10 of 1% have been hospitalized. The 7-day average hospital admission over the last four weeks is down 26%! Though we grieve every death in our county, the draconian measures of the past year, placed upon our county by Gov. Jared Polis, based upon the science and mathematical data of those who are affected by the virus are, as the old saying goes, “worse than the disease.”
One of the cornerstone convictions at the founding of our nation, the first line of the Declaration of Independence, reads that we are “endowed by [our] Creator with certain unalienable rights that, among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” This opening line was written for just such a time as this, a highly controlling government dictating how people live, how they worship, and the free exercise of work.
As pastors in our county, we are the front-line workers who daily labor for, pray with, and visit those most affected by the lockdown of our county. Our hearts go out to the many men, women, and families who have been so negatively impacted. In our county, teen suicides have reached new records, unemployment has risen to as high as 12% during COVID, 1 out of 8 children go to bed hungry at night, and 30% of our small businesses have been shut down.
In comparing the economic hardship to the Great Recession, Jay Carlson, managing broker and principal with Springs Brokerage Front Range Commercial said, “It is far worse than it was back then.” (Gazette Dec. 28) We believe that the negative outcomes of the lockdown far outweigh the benefits.
As pastors who have safely and prudently opened up our churches since May 2020, we would challenge the necessity of a continued lock down. We have had tens of thousands of people come through our doors over the past 10 months, with even less physical impact upon our people than the statistics shared above.
We support and are behind the “Proclamation to Reopen Colorado” being made by our county commissioners. They truly understand the need for our county to stand up and declare our freedom to pursue individual freedom without undue governmental controls.
We so appreciate our commissioners for doing their best to ensure a freedom county that loves our Constitution, Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights. We thank Carrie Geitner, Holly Williams, Stan VanderWerf, Longinos Gonzalez Jr. and Cami Bremer. It takes courage to stand up, fight for the people, and make such a declaration. These are the kind of leaders that make our county great!
The time is now to unlock our county and allow the people of our great city to exercise their unalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in their job, their worship, and in their personal lives. We must allow each business the freedom to make their individual decisions regarding the safety of their employees and customers.
We are well past the time of wholesale mandatory mask wearing, limited seating in restaurants, and pressure to conform to the stringent mandates coming from Denver. As pastors who love God and the people in this county, we the undersigned, encourage the permanent unlocking of our city and encourage our God-given right and freedom to pursue happiness in every area of our lives.
Steve Holt, Senior Pastor, The Road @ Chapel Hills Al Pitman, Senior Pastor, Calvary Worship Center; Brian Michaels, Senior Pastor, Springs Lighthouse; Gabe Valle, Senior Pastor, Venga Tu Reino Church; Mark Cowart, Senior Pastor, Church For All Nations; Todd Hudnall, Senior Pastor, Radiant Church; Jeff Anderson, President, International Bible Conference; Derek Sissel, Senior Pastor, Gateway Church; Henry Allen, President, SCLC, Pikes Peak Region; John Serio, Senior Pastor, Springs Journey Church; John Bornschein, Senior Pastor, Calvary Fellowship Fountain Valley; Lawson and Barbara Perdue, Senior Pastors, Charis Christian Center and Joseph Winger, Senior Pastor, Boulder Street Church.