Willits, CA — Workers and patrons of the One Fish Thrift are looking forward to meeting Jesus on a faster timetable after the Evangelical Christian discount store announced it would ignore State demands to shutter during the coronavirus outbreak.
“We know that that the Lord, though his only son Jesus Christ is the only one who knows how this plague will go,” said One Fish Thrift director of operations Jacob Evans. “We don’t need the godless State interfering with our personal relationship with the Lord, and his messenger Jesus Christ. He will protect us, and if not, he’ll call us home.”
California Gavin Newsom ordered all “non-essential” businesses closed until further notice to lessen the impact of the novel coronavirus’ community spread. Most non-essential businesses across the state have complied, however many in the separatist State of Jefferson, of which the community of Willits, CA sits, have defied his orders. Many in the region claim this is just another hostile takeover of their rights.
“We don’t need no Sacramento types telling us what to do,” said Mendicino County State of Jefferson leader Daft Herring. “We support One Fish and other businesses who refuse to let themselves fall under Gavin Newson’s plans to change our way of life. God, guns, and liberty. That’s it.”
Not Just in California
Many Christian institutions across the country are heeding the warnings of federal, state and local officials to “social distance” from one another, several notable fundamentalist sects are openly defying orders.
Florida-based charismatic Christian pastor Rodney Howard-Browne, who prayed over Trump in the Oval Office on numerous occasions, vowed not to stop services and encouraged worshippers to shake hands despite experts identifying that behavior as an easy way to spread the virus. And in Louisiana, Pastor Tony Spell was warned by local police after holding a service that attracted hundreds and flouted a state ban on mass gatherings. Spell, who has claimed that his services also heal cancer and HIV, said that he would not permit “any dictator law” to stop worship.
As for the workers at One Fish Thrift, several confided that they don’t share the same faith as their director.
“I’m 62 with COPD, and I was told that if I didn’t show up to work, I would face damnation for not trusting the Lord,” said Hazel Gobbins, who’s worked at the thrift store since 2006. “Jacob is 42 and less at risk, so it’s easy for him to say the Lord will watch over him when he has lungs that are functioning properly.”
According to the California Department of Health, they were not aware of One Fish Thrift’s “rebellion” against the governor’s order but pleaded with those resisting to shelter in place until the virus has “flattened out.” The office also claimed that this was only an attempt to lower fatality rates and protect California hospitals from being overwhelmed.