Earlier this month, Los Angeles County acted against Pastor John MacArthur and Grace Community Church after the Los Angeles County Superior Court denied its request to block the church from holding indoor worship services.
After 45 years of leasing land to the church to use as a parking lot, the county terminated the contract.
At the most recent court hearing on whether the church can continue to hold indoor worship services, the county got its way. A judge ruled in the county’s favor by temporarily suspending worship services while the matter is pending. From the Free Beacon (emphasis added):
The legal representation for the church argued that the church has been treated like a second-class citizen and the government gave preferential treatment to Black Lives Matter protesters.
“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 John MacArthur] is still harmed because he has every right to hold church,” Jenna Ellis, special counsel for the Thomas More Society, said. “Church is essential, and no government agent has the runaway, unlimited power to force churches to close indefinitely.”
Los Angeles County praised the decision and said that they “look forward” to working with the church.
The Free Beacon noted that Los Angeles County “has been taking more aggressive action against the church over the past couple of weeks.”
MacArthur’s legal counsel, The Thomas More Society, was correct about the disparate treatment. The government is holding churches to different standards than protests. Americans have a right to peacefully petition their government for redress, but Americans also have a right to gather and worship. If holding indoor church services is dangerous, so are mass protests in the streets.
Photo credit: IslandsEnd – Own work, CC BY 3.0