California Megachurch Sues State Over COVID Mandates
Within days of opening his church to worship services in July, Pastor John MacArthur of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, received a "cease and desist" order from Los Angeles County.
The order started off gently: "The County requests that you immediately cease holding indoor worship services or other indoor gatherings, and adhere to the Health Officer Order directives governing activities at houses of worship."
But then the state bared its teeth:
If you or Grace Community Church continues to hold indoor services in violation of the law, you are subject to criminal and civil liability....
Violating these orders is a crime punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and imprisonment of up to 90 days. Each day that you conduct indoor services is a separate offense....
Unless written confirmation is received by 5:00 p.m. on July 30, 2020 that Grace Community Church will comply with the law, the County will pursue further action through all available avenues of relief.
That date came and went. MacArthur and his church held those prohibited indoor services on Sunday, August 2 and Sunday, August 9.
On August 12, the church filed a lawsuit claiming that the "law" to which the county referred was unconstitutional and that the church was being discriminated against.