Maine's Blatant Discrimination Against Christians

Oct 13, 2020

The substances Pastor Ken Graves helps people overcome were deemed “essential” by Maine’s governor, while the one thing that could save those addicts – the church – was ordered closed! Read on to learn more about our case defending Calvary Chapel of Bangor, ME. - Mat

Pastor Ken Graves

Long before ME Gov. Janet Mills decided to attack churches, Ken Graves was raised up as a warrior for the Lord. Born in what the pastor describes as one of the poorest parts of the state, Ken was the son of a hard-core alcoholic whose addiction brought heartbreaking violence upon the young family. Graves’ father eventually left, leaving more poverty and pain in his wake.

Through God’s grace, in his teens Ken stumbled across a copy of “The Cross and the Switchblade,” a biographical account of David Wilkerson’s Christian outreach to drug-addicted gang members. God’s abundant love described in that book struck a chord with Ken, freeing him to see beyond his own pain and to get beyond his father’s bondage.

With that, young Ken knew exactly what his life work would be – he was called to be a pastor, and he wanted to minister to alcoholics and drug abusers.

By the age of 23, Pastor Ken Graves had been taught and mentored by some of the finest Christian ministers of the time. After establishing a home bible study and church, Graves established a jail ministry to reach “his” people -- those with broken homes, broken faith and hurting, often addicted souls -- and many who had never been exposed to the Word of God. These people needed the kind of redemption that only God’s care can accomplish.

Today, Calvary Chapel’s ministry serves the entire community. But on the church grounds, there are also residential dormitories for recovering men and women. And although the church serves the needs of the greater community, the heart of the substance abuse ministry is the yearlong live-in recovery program for addicts seeking rescue. What makes the program successful is being in relationship with Jesus Christ.

But the COVID pandemic brought trouble to Calvary Chapel.

When Gov. Janet Mills issued her stay-at-home order, she made many exceptions, but none for religious assembly. NO worship was allowed under the governor’s initial order, no matter what. Yet at the very time Gov. Mills banned Calvary Chapel from assembling, she deemed liquor stores and marijuana dispensaries to be “essential.”

The substances Pastor Ken was helping people overcome were deemed essential, while the one thing that could save those addicts – the church – was ordered closed!

Gov. Mills’ orders allowed secular services in the same church building with the same people but banned religious services. By her reckoning, one can offer employment counseling in the church building but not Bible studies. One can feed the stomach but not the soul. One can offer shelter for the body, but not shelter under the wings of God.

A church can perform non-religious services to an unlimited number of people. But the moment a Bible is opened – even as part of a life skills, food, shelter, or addiction program – the entire operation violates Gov. Mills’ illegal orders.

The fact that Governor Mills would allow many exemptions to all sorts of services, but ONLY if those services do not include worship, is proof that her shutdown orders discriminate against churches and people of faith.

Risking punishment, Ken would not secularize the program and stop the essential reason the recovery ministry works.

Despite threats of criminal charges, fines and even potential imprisonment, Pastor Ken Graves is continuing to preach, and Calvary Chapel is fighting to remain open (with social distancing and sanitizing). He refused to remove the worship of Jesus from the ministry of the church.

Liberty Counsel is defending Pastor Ken and Calvary Chapel in Federal Court.

Like so many of the other pastors we are representing in our six lawsuits against lawless governors, Pastor Ken knows that at any time he can be thrown in jail for serving God’s people. He’ll keep preaching... and Liberty Counsel will keep fighting for his right to do so!

We argued our case before the First Circuit Court of Appeals on September 9, and I will update you on the court’s ruling as soon as I receive it.

I am deeply honored to stand with Pastor Graves, and all the other pastors we are representing. And I am equally honored and thankful for your continuing support. YOUR generosity means that NONE of these fearless, yet humble, pastors will go without a legal defense, no matter how long these cases take to resolve. These pastors, thanks to you, are not fighting alone.

The challenge grant will effectively DOUBLE the impact of your donation. Please take this opportunity to make your best possible donation NOW so YOUR IMPACT will be doubled. Please help us make certain that fearless pastors like Ken Graves can continue their God-given, constitutionally protected ministries in this challenging time.

Mat Staver
Founder & Chairman

P.S. As I mentioned above, a generous supporter has established a CHALLENGE GRANT which will effectively DOUBLE the impact of your donation today. Please don't let this opportunity to DOUBLE your effective support pass you by. America's pastors and churches are relying on YOU, a faithful Liberty Counsel supporter, to help ensure religious freedom remains FREE!

P.P.S. Considering the sheer number of abuses of Christians' religious rights taking place right now in America, we MUST ensure Judge Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed and seated on the U.S. Supreme Court. PLEASE - FAX THE SENATE NOW - DEMAND JUDGE BARRETT BE CONFIRMED AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!