ESCALATION: Los Angeles County wants John MacArthur held in contempt of court

Jenna Ellis: LA County continues ‘unconstitutional attack’ on John MacArthur & Grace Community Church

Leftist Tyrants in California continue their attack on churches with an escalation in the battle against Grace Community Church and Pastor John MacArthur. Los Angeles County requested that John MacArthur and Grace Community Church be held in contempt of court, according to the Thomas More Society attorneys representing the church.

“The LA County Board of Supervisors has decided to continue their unconstitutional attack against Pastor John MacArthur and Grace Community Church,” said Jenna Ellis, Special Counsel for the Thomas More Society. “They are now asking the court to hold the church in contempt for simply being open for worship last Sunday. Pastor MacArthur is standing firm that church is essential and has no plans to yield to this tyrannical board, which is clearly defying the constitution’s mandate to protect religious liberty.

Los Angeles County lawyers filed the request to hold Pastor John MacArthur and Grace Community Church in contempt of court on August 18.

The Los Angeles County filing asks the court to impose multiple sanctions including fines per incident and per defendant.

“Defendants collectively committed eight acts of contempt, and the Court should impose a fine of $1,000 for each act of contempt, for a total of $4,000 for each Defendant. In addition, they should be ordered to pay Plaintiffs’ reasonable attorneys’ fees incurred in connection with the contempt proceeding… Defendants’ actions this past Sunday likewise constitute four separate violations of the TRO and Court of Appeal Order by each Defendant. Therefore, the Court should sanction each Defendant $1,500 per violation, for a total of $6,000 per Defendant,” the court filing requested.

Apparently, the county notified church lawyers at 10:56 p.m. of this move.

“On August 18, 2020, at 10:56 p.m., counsel for Plaintiffs provided notice to Defendants’ attorney, Charles LiMandri,” the LA County legal filing details.

According to the LA County filing with the court, the church held services in violation of a court order and denied Los Angeles County Health officials access to the property.

The county claims in the court filing, “MacArthur flaunted the violations and openly disregarded the dangers to public health: ‘So the good news is you’re here, you’re not distancing, and you’re not wearing masks.’ (Id. at 1:12.) Defendants’ deliberate decision to violate the Court Orders constitutes contempt of court.”

The county legal filing also details a list of evidence of the violation including video of Sunday’s Grace Community Church service.

“However, on Sunday, August 16, 2020, Defendants blatantly violated the Court Orders. They held three indoor services…Video from Phil Johnson, a pastor at Grace Church, showed a large group of people gathering indoors, not observing social distancing, and nearly all were not wearing masks…At the beginning of the service, MacArthur stated: ‘the good news is, you’re here, you’re not distancing, and you’re not wearing masks.’ … Grace Church’s indoor service in violation of the Court of Appeal Order was attended by thousands and was widely reported by the media,” according to LA County legal filing.

According to the Thomas More Society this is the latest round in the battle between California and the church.

“MacArthur and Grace Community Church are suing the county – and the state of California – for attempting to shut down their worship under COVID-related orders that violate the state’s constitution. The lawsuit was filed after MacArthur received a cease and desist letter prohibiting indoor worship and threatening him with fines and imprisonment should Grace Community continue to worship in their church building.  After a California Superior Court Judge denied the county’s request for a temporary restraining order against MacArthur and his congregation, the church held weekend worship services. Following that the County of Los Angeles asked the court to hold the pastor and church in contempt,” the Thomas More Society said in a statement released to the press.

A hearing is scheduled for August 20 on the LA County filing to hold Pastor MacArthur and Grace Community Church in contempt.