A California judge ruled Los Angeles County can ban Grace Community Church and Pastor John MacArthur from holding services. Lawyers for church pledge to continue the fight.
In the continuing persecution of Christians in the People’s Republic of California, Los Angeles County won a round in court when LA Superior Court Judge Mitchell L. Beckloff issued a preliminary injunction.
Special Counsel Jenna Ellis called the actions of Los Angeles County an example of tyranny.
“Church is essential, and no government agent has the runaway, unlimited power to force churches to close indefinitely. The County’s argument was basically ‘because we can,’ which is the very definition of tyranny. Without limiting government’s power in favor of freedom and protected rights, we have no liberty. We will fight for religious freedom, as our founders did when they wrote the First Amendment,” Ellis said.
Pastor John MacArthur said the ruling was not what God or America’s Founders intended. He pointed toward the low number of infections and deaths from the COVID-19 Pandemic and asked a powerful question.
“In an inexplicable ruling, the judge said the ‘scale tipped in favor of the county.’ 1/100th of 1% of Californians with a virus apparently wins over the U.S. Constitution and religious freedom for all?” MacArthur said. “That is not what our founders said. Nor is that what God says, who gave us our rights that our government—including the judicial branch—is supposed to protect. The scale should always tip in favor of liberty, especially for churches.”
Lawyers from the Thomas More Society said the judge’s ruling ignored the US Constitution and the California constitution.
Ellis said this ruling represents a “temporary setback.”
“Although this is a temporary setback, we will continue to fight for Pastor MacArthur and Grace Community Church’s constitutionally protected right to hold church,” Special Counsel Jenna Ellis said. “While the judge did go out of his way to repeatedly state that he is not ruling on the merits, only a ruling at this very preliminary stage, Pastor MacArthur is still harmed because he has every right to hold church.”
“We are disappointed in the ruling on the preliminary injunction as the court did not apply the strict scrutiny analysis to the government order that we believe is required by the California Constitution and legal precedent, Special Counsel Charles LiMandri said. “The court also did not properly consider the medical and scientific evidence that the current number of people with serious COVID-19 symptoms no longer justifies a shuttering of the churches. Nor do we believe that the court gave adequate consideration to the fact that churches have been treated as second-class citizens compared to the tens of thousands of protestors.”
But this is not the end. John MacArthur, Grace Community Church and the legal team pledge more action.
“More than ever, California’s churches are essential. Therefore, we plan to appeal this ruling to ultimately vindicate our clients’ constitutionally protected right to free exercise of religion,” LiMandri said.