Pastor urges faith leaders to reopen in defiance of governors' coronavirus orders: 'Step up and roar'

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Kentucky pastor, joined by at least 50 other churches, is urging religious leaders across the nation to "step up and roar" for the right to worship amid coronavirus shutdowns.

"I believe that every day a church is closed, a bit of liberty dies," Brian Gibson said. "We need people to stand up and roar. There is a time to be quiet, a time to be the lamb, but today is the day to be the lion."

Gibson, pastor of His Church, a megachurch with locations in Owensboro, Ky., and Amarillo, Texas, told "Fox & Friends" Sunday that he found it unreasonable that some businesses could reopen while churches were forced to stay closed.

"I believe that every day a church is closed, a bit of liberty dies."

— Pastor Brian Gibson, 'Fox & Friends'

"Restrictions eased up on everyone around us but we couldn't do business as normal as the church," he said.

"We're looking across the road at fast-food places handing out french fries. Liquor stores are serving patrons -- but the church is the bad guy.  It is time for us to stand up for our First Amendment rights," the pastor continued. "We have religious freedom in this nation. We'll not lay that down on our watch."

Gibson, who has been urging religious leaders to sign an online petition, praised other megachurch pastors who have joined his initiative to reopen church doors responsibly and safely, using guidelines such as reducing occupancy, social distancing, requiring staff to wear masks and gloves, dismissing attendees aisle by aisle and increasing sanitation.

"I really believe momentum is starting right now," Gibson told host Pete Hegseth.

Gibson said his "movement" would be "fasting and praying" for a network of pastors in California who told Fox News they plan to reopen May 31, with or without Gov. Gavin Newsom's approval, as well as churches in Illinois defying Gov. J.B. Pritzker's restrictions on in-person services.


"We have a right to peaceably assemble," Gibson argued. "We want to be smart, be safe, be caring. We have all sorts of precautions put together... extra sterilization. We’re taking care of everything, but we want to know our religious freedom isn't going to die with us."

Fox News' Caleb Parke contributed to this report.