Police cited five attendees and arrested three at a church-sponsored “psalm sing” that took place in Moscow, Idaho, Wednesday in front of the city hall. Christ Church sponsored the event, and Pastor Doug Wilson defended it, calling out city leaders for what he called “high hypocrisy” in their enforcement of the city’s mask mandate.
“We have every right to protest the high hypocrisy involved in all of this,” said Doug Wilson on his blog. “Not only so, but I believe we have a responsibility to do so. Having said that, I do want to mention that our protest was not conducted Portland style. The federal building is just a block away from city hall, and I can say that I was very proud of our people — not one of them tried to burn it down. Rather, we addressed this hypocritical and nonsensical law in a peaceful, orderly, law-abiding, and responsible way.”
Pastor Doug Wilson Leads Mask Mandate Protest
Pastor Doug Wilson said that Moscow-Pullman Daily News, which reported on the incident, gave a “fair representation of what happened.” His only disagreement is that he believes there were closer to 300 people present instead of 150 as the paper said.
The “flash psalm sing,” as explained on Christ Church’s Facebook page and Wilson’s blog, was a brief affair. It began at 4:45 p.m. and Moscow-Pullman reports that “most people had left within 30 minutes of it starting.”
“When we arrived, the police were waiting for us,” said Wilson. “One of them informed me that people either had to social distance or wear a mask, or otherwise face a citation. I told him that I would inform everyone of that, which I did. I said a brief prayer, and we began to sing.”
Attendees sang Psalm 20, Psalm 124, “Amazing Grace,” and the Doxology. Photos and video footage of the event show the people in the crowd not wearing masks or social distancing. Moscow’s mask order requires residents to wear masks when they are in public places indoors or when outdoors and social distancing is not possible. The mandate was set to expire on Oct. 6, but on Monday, the Moscow City Council unanimously extended it through Jan. 5.
Moscow Police Chief James Fry told Moscow-Pullman that officers have been “very lenient” with enforcing the order and have tried to avoid issuing citations or making arrests when interacting with different groups. Wednesday afternoon, officers cited five people for violating the city’s mask/social distancing order. They arrested two for suspicion of resisting or obstructing an officer and one for refusing to identify himself. The man who refused to identify himself is Gabriel Rench, a Republican running for Latah County Commissioner.