The California Court of Appeal on Saturday issued a stay on the Superior Court of Los Angeles County’s ruling that Grace Community Church wasn’t under a court order barring indoor church services.
But John MacArthur, chancellor of The Master’s Seminary, pastor of Grace Community Church in Southern California, author, and founder of the internationally syndicated Grace to You radio program, will continue holding indoor services.
Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order that bans all worship services in California indefinitely, whether in church parking lots, church buildings, or inside homes. Los Angeles County had issued a cease-and-desist order and threatened MacArthur with fines, jail, and contempt.
The pastor sued the governor, the state’s attorney general, the city’s mayor, and other officials. MacArthur sought to stop the government from enforcing unconstitutional regulations it claimed are necessary during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In response to MacArthur’s lawsuit, the Superior Court ruled that he and his church were under no court order barring such services.
But the appeals court issued a stay on that ruling.
As between the harm that flows from the heightened risk of transmitting COVID-19 (namely, “serious illness and death”) and the harm that flows from having to conduct religious services outdoors [under tents in the heat] instead of indoors, the balance at this early stage favors issuance of a stay. (emphasis added)
“They don’t want us to meet, that’s obvious,” he said from the pulpit. “They’re not willing to work with us. They just want to shut us down. But we’re here to bring honor to the Lord.” He added that it was “hard to figure out exactly what the city is trying to do with us and to us…we’re not meeting because want to be rebellious, we’re meeting because our Lord has commanded us to come together and worship Him.”
At this point, it seems the government in California is just trying to win at all costs against MacArthur.
Photo credit: IslandsEnd – Own work, CC BY 3.0