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Evangelical Pastor Matt Trewhella Defies Government Order to Close His Church

matt trewhella and family

Most Evangelical pastors have prudently shut down their churches due to the Coronavirus pandemic. While this blog features critiques of Evangelicalism and often ridicules the excesses found within Fundamentalist Christianity, I do want to thank these pastors for putting the health and welfare of their congregants and communities first. Even some of the churches who, at the start of the pandemic, refused to close their doors, have now caved to the reality that their continued obstinance was putting people’s lives at risk. Better late than never, but I am not inclined to forget the churches and pastors who put their politics and theology about the health of family, friends, and neighbors.

A handful of Evangelical pastors continue to hold church services despite government suggestions or orders that they refrain from doing so. One such man of God is Matt Trewhella, pastor of Mercy Street Christian Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I learned about Trewhella’s behavior from a blog post written by uber-Fundamentalist and anti-government extremist Susan-Anne White. I have written about Ms. White several times in recent years:

That White thinks Matt Trewhella is a “courageous” pastor should come as no surprise. White thinks that the Coronavirus pandemic is much ado about nothing; a government plot to meant to take away civil liberties. On March 11, 2020, White posted a link to an article that suggested the coronavirus was little more than “fake news.” It is clear, at least to me, that Trewhella and White are two peas in a pod; fellow conspiracy theorists who are watching the world burn while pretending there’s no fire.

Trewhella operates the Defy Tyrants website. Trewhella, father of eleven children, calls himself a missionary to the pre-born.

Trewhella’s church bio page states:

In addition to being pastor of Mercy Seat Christian Church (founded in 1989) in the Milwaukee, WI area, Pastor Trewhella is also founder of the pro-life organization Missionaries to the Preborn, author of the book The Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrates: A Proper Resistance to Tyranny and a Repudiation of Unlimited Obedience to Civil Government, and lectures frequently on righteous resistance and the lesser magistrate doctrine.

Pastor Trewhella has been a passionate leader and laborer within the body of Christ since his conversion at age 17 in the inner city of Detroit. His integrity and innovative leadership within the pro-life movement [and now within the abolitionist movement] have inspired a generation to “love their neighbor as themselves”.

Though much maligned in the liberal media for his effective pro-life work, Pastor Trewhella’s reputation as a man of principle and great courage shine brightly to a generation so desperately in need of godly leadership. He and his wife Clara live in the Milwaukee, WI area. They have eleven children.

While the governor of Wisconsin has wisely ordered all churches to close their doors, Trewhella refuses to abide by the order. Instead of meeting at their normal gathering place, the Zoofari Conference Center, Trewhella has moved his carnival act to his home. You can, if you dare, view Trewhella’s recent sermon on the COVID-19 virus below.

Video Link

Just today, the good pastor said on Facebook:

God’s Word speaks to all matters of life, including the matter of quarantining. The Lord speaks of this in His law in Leviticus 13. And when we look at the law of God we see one thing that comes through loud and clear – you do NOT quarantine the whole of society – rather you quarantine the sick.

There is also a process in God’s law to follow to determine who is sick. You do not abridge the rights and freedom of everyone and shut down the whole of society. In this we see the goodness and grace of God’s law. God’s law is more gracious and protects freedom more than man’s law. God’s law doesn’t destroy the economy and lives of others. God’s prescription was intended to protect society not only from the disease, but from economic hardship upon those who weren’t diseased. You don’t abridge every other person’s freedom – you quarantine the sick.

Perhaps it time for me to pray an atheist imprecatory prayer:

Dear Lord,

We live in a day and hour of extreme ignorance and stupidity. Countless Evangelical and Independent Fundamentalist Baptist pastors are putting the lives of their congregants, families, and neighbors at risk Lord, all because they hate the governments you have ordained (Romans 13) and think you are commanding them to keep the doors of their churches open.

Since it is evident that these so-called men of God are immune to reason, science, and common sense, Lord I ask that you inflict them with the COVID-19 virus. Don’t kill them Lord, just make them wish they were dead. Please protect everyone around them from their Trumpian stupidity, Lord. No need for others to suffer due to their ignorance. May everyone see their affliction, Lord, as your judgment upon their lives. And when these monuments to ignorance recover Lord, may they testify to the world that they were wrong and that Lord Science and his Son Reason alone rule this earth.

To your name, I give all the glory,



Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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  1. Avatar

    “11 kids and no health insurance,” he brags. Might as well say “I’m an irresponsible idiot and a bad husband and father.” And sadly, it will be the children who will suffer the most from dad’s stupidity.

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    I wholeheartedly agree with your prayer. People who are getting others in groups are ending up infected with the novel coronavirus, AND passing the virus along. I usually don’t wish illness or suffering on others, but these ignoramuses are going to get people killed.

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    ... Zoe ~

    When I look at these innocent children a Bible verse comes to mind. Something about having a millstone hung around your neck rather than lead one of these astray. If your God is real Matt I don’t think he’ll have mercy on your soul for the damage done to your children.

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    What on earth is wrong with these people? God gave us common sense. Apparently, they’ve either NEVER used it, or patently refuse to do so!!!! GREAT!!! Just what the world clearly does NOT need: YET ANOTHER cretinous jackass!!!!

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    Brian Vanderlip

    Spoke with my evangelical, religio-infected brother today and he emphasized that all news is fake news and none of it tells true, that the numbers are wrong, inflated. Dear Trump the bully-baby Christian gets a back-pat.
    Matt Trewhella does the same kind of wash of Reason in any form that might stray from his narrow evangelicalism. Matt shows us just how addled ‘belief’ is capable of making us. He takes on the government and vilifies it so that he can own his crowd and force them to comply, coming to his home to praise his resistance to Reason. Pastor Paranoid needs meds.

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    I’ve seen a lot of “don’t let the government take away your liberty in the interest of temporary safety” on social media. Yet I know they see the posts by healthcare acquaintances we have in common begging people to stay home, begging for equipment to keep them safe as they treat others. Where’s the disconnect?

    Oh, and it’s funny how when it suits them they refer to Levitical laa but when it doesn’t, Jesus fulfilled the law. Which is it, follow the law or we don’t have to because of Jesus?

      • Avatar
        Hugh D. Young

        Actually, I’d much prefer they just go on ahead and send ’em my way if they don’t intend to use ‘Tha Debboolz Money’!!! 🙂

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    Michael Mock

    “With the shekels come the shackles” …? Wow. So on top of everything else, the virus is a Jewish conspiracy to take away their Freedom(tm)? I can’t see any other way to read that.

    These are, quite simply, horrible people.

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    I am weary of you misrepresenting me, slandering me and putting words into my mouth Mr. Gerencser. I am NOT an “anti-government extremist” nor am I a “conspiracy theorist.” I am opposed to anarchy and long for righteous God-fearing government that is strong on law and order. You frequently write falsehoods about me. You attribute words to me that I did not say. Where did I say that Covid-19 is “much ado about nothing, a government plot meant to take away civil liberties.” These are all YOUR words, not mine, and if you had a conscience you would not behave so wickedly towards another human being. In your blasphemous “prayer” you speak of “their Trumpian stupidity.” What are you talking about? It is President Trump who is ordering the lockdown which is causing economic devastation and deprivation of liberties.I would not have voted for Trump anyway so whose stupidity are you referring to?You are very concerned about the coronavirus,so it is legitimate for me to ask, where was your concern for the multiplied thousands of your fellow countrymen and women who died of the flu in recent years?

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      Your works precede you, Ms. White. I don’t like you, so it doesn’t take much effort on my part to wind you up. It’s a good day when you are pissed off. You are vile hater of the human race. I wear your anger at me as a badge of honor.

      The things you have posted on your blog you supposedly “weren’t going to be writing” tells me everything I need to know about your anti-government views and conspiratorial beliefs about the virus.

      Trump is a vain, narcissistic , ignorant idiot, thus Trumpian stupidity.

      I’m concerned when anyone dies. Deaths from flu have become normalized. Death from COVID-19 is stalking me. Flu? I get my flu shot and hope for the best. Besides, people who die from the flu almost always have comorbidity issues. COVID-19 is killing young and old, sick and healthy.

      Have a wonderful day, Ms. White. All praise be to Loki, our one true Lord and Savior. May his blessings shine upon your face and irritate the hell out of you. ?

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    Susan Anne White’s remark about “deprivation of liberties” makes me wonder what she is doing in her neck of the woods right now. Walking all over the town doing her shopping, visiting multiple stores thus endangering multiple people, while the British govt has strongly advised people to do the most straightforward shop they can and for basic supplies only. Endangering multiple people AND putting herself at greater risk than if she went into a single shop and then right home? Such people are a public health hazard.

    Susan-Anne, yes, people have died of flu and will continue to do so. That is sad. But there IS a flu vaccine which many people make sure they get. (Presumably this is deemed to be government interference as well?) THAT is the major difference between Covid 19 and flu. Oh, and Covid 19 kills proportionately more people who have been infected than flu does. The National Health Service (note to American readers: this serves England, Wales, Scotland and also Northern Ireland which is where Ms White lives) has a serious shortage of ventilators at a time when people who are very sick with Covid 19 might well need the help of a ventilator. These facts and many more are easily at Ms White’s disposal yet there she is on her blog downplaying everything and praising Matt Trewhella above for being “courageous.” He is putting the wellbeing of people at risk, even his own children, what is remotely courageous about that? (While being an enthusiastic “pro-life supporter; there is a disconnect there.)

    Unfortunately, it is only too true that “you cannot fix stupid.”

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    Brian Vanderlip

    Susan Anne White is a blight. She reminds me of so many believers who could care less about viruses and people. In her view, God should kill them all and then bring back only her version of the righteous to visit with her in glory. She really really believes her bullshit and it hurts this heart to have to bear the weight of her. What a hateful grinch she is! What is wrong with Jesus that he allows her such bandwidth? When I think of you, Susan, I think of an elastic band that has been left stretched too long in the world and begins to fall to pieces in the light of the everyday. You couldn’t quench the thirst of a misquito. Yuck! I spit you out…

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    Frederick Douglass is rolling over in his grave as this asshole claims to be a leader “within the abolitionist movement”.

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    How my heart goes out to this despicable man’s children. In the UK, he would have raised enough red flags with Child Protection Agencies for the authorities to be legally able to go into his home, and investigate and ask why he’d never taken any of them for any sort of NHS medical checks that everyone here normally uses for their little ones for the first 5 yrs of their lives….and the children would be questioned without parents being present if this were deemed necessary. I too think of the millstone verse when odious fundies play down and cover up such behaviour – and cover up child abuse too, funny how it’s rarely mentioned by them whilst they cherry pick other verses about the sins of others.

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      Karen the rock whisperer

      Yes, but you UK people are SOCIALISTS! That’s the same as being COMMIES! The NHS and Child Protection Agencies are TOOLS OF SATAN! EVIL all around and dedicated to PERSECUTING CHRISTIANS!!!

      As over-the-top as that rant above sounds, I guarantee you that there are far too many US Fundagelicals who would agree with it, even down to the shouting. These people have been conditioned by their religious environment to think no harder than figuring out where to get brunch after church on Sunday. They’re like Pavlov’s dogs; anything someone labels “socialist” or “progressive” or “liberal” or “secular” gets immediately rejected without examination. Government services beyond emergency first responders (and maybe road maintenance) are evil by definition, and throwing a few buzzwords around any issue is enough to get them to enthusiastically vote AGAINST SATAN and not so coincidentally vote against their own best interests. Some of my husband’s distant relatives fall into this category. We don’t talk much since Husband and I are Eeevil Librul Commie Atheists and can therefore not say anything truthful by definition. (And no, we’re not actual communists; we’re merely Not Republicans.)

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      Michael, I had 2 children and that was enough to radically change my body, girl parts and all. How browbeaten does a woman have to be to have that many children??

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Bruce Gerencser