Moscow, Idaho Reaches Settlement With Christians Arrested for Not Wearing Masks at Outdoor Church Event

Originally published July 21, 2023 6:00 pm PDT

One man said the event represents a “microcosm” of a nationwide problem.

  • Three Christians arrested in the liberal town of Moscow, Idaho for not wearing masks during an outdoor church event are receiving a settlement of $300,000.
  • Gabriel Rench and Sean and Rachel Bohnet were arrested in September 2020 and filed a suit against city officials in March 2021, alleging their Constitutional rights were violated after the city violated the First and Fourth Amendments.
  • This is despite the city claiming there were religious exemptions to its COVID-era health ordinances.
  • According to the judge in the case, the “plaintiffs should never have been arrested in the first place.”
  • The event was affiliated with the town’s local church, Christ Church, whose pastor and his family remain in legal struggles.
  • Noting that the incident is a “microcosm” of issues across the United States, Rench told Fox News Digital that “it’s no secret that portions of our government and political groups are now starting to target Christians in a way that has never really happened in America or Canada.”
  • “I’m in a conservative state, but I live in a liberal town, and the liberals had no problem arresting me for practicing my religious rights and my Constitutional rights,” Rench explained. “But my [Republican] governor also didn’t defend me either. If you look at what’s going on in Canada, I think America’s 10 years, at most 20 years, behind Canada if we don’t make significant changes.”
  • “What needs to happen is the people need to change how they vote and disincentivize the targeting of Christians and those who are genuinely trying to defend the Constitution,” he added.
  • Rench went on to explain that “political systems” fear that if they admit wrongdoing, “they look at that as like they’re losing their political power.”
  • The City of Moscow stated in a press release that its liability insurance provider, Idaho Counties Risk Management Program (ICRMP), determined that a “financial settlement in the case was the best course of action to dispose of the suit and avoid a protracted litigation proceeding.”
  • “Under the terms of the settlement agreement, ICRMP will pay a total settlement amount of $300,000 and all claims against the City and the named City employees will be dismissed with prejudice along with a release of all liability,” the release continued.
  • According to the city, “This settlement provides closure of a matter related to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic and the City’s efforts to protect the public during an exceptionally trying time.”
  • American Faith reported that over 28,000 people were convicted of COVID-19 offenses throughout the United Kingdom (UK).
  • Some of the senior government officials who broke their own policies have not been charged or fined by the government for violating COVID-19 mandates.
  • “It is ridiculous that the courts are still prosecuting people for COVID offenses,” said the Director of Transform Justice Penelope Gibbs.
  • “All outstanding COVID prosecutions should be canceled immediately,” Gibbs stated.