Gov. Glenn Youngkin Signs Bill to PROTECT Churches During the Next Emergency — Including Pandemics

Governor Glenn Youngkin of Virginia is trying to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself during the next pandemic — which is inevitable — or other emergencies.

A divided legislature managed to pass a bill that reads: “Provides that no rule, regulation, or order issued by the Governor or other governmental entity pursuant to the Commonwealth of Virginia Emergency Services and Disaster Law shall impose restrictions on the operation of a place of worship that are more restrictive than the restrictions imposed on any other business, organization, or activity.”

Gov. Youngkin signed this bill into law on Sunday.

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in this country, churches sued local and state governments over mandated closures and restrictions on attendance. Houses of worship claimed the government treated them differently than secular organizations.

One of the most egregious examples of government retaliation was against John MacArthur and his Grace Community Church in Southern California.

MacArthur, also chancellor of The Master’s Seminary, author, and founder of the internationally syndicated Grace to You radio program, continued to hold services inside the church after Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order that banned all worship services in California indefinitely, whether in church parking lots, church buildings, or inside homes. Los Angeles County issued a cease-and-desist order and threatened MacArthur with fines, jail, and contempt.

In addition to the governor, the pastor sued the state’s attorney general, the Los Angeles mayor, and other officials. MacArthur sought to stop the government from enforcing unconstitutional regulations it claimed were necessary during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pastor MacArthur held services in defiance of government orders.

“This is not the first time we as Christ’s church have stood for Truth,” he said. “We will continue to stand firm for the Truth today like we have every prior day in our 63-year history and in the over 2000-year history of the biblical, New Testament Church. We stand firm to continue fulfilling our biblical mandate from Christ to proclaim the Gospel and assemble together, and I earnestly hope that our stance will encourage other pastors, churches, and the general public across America and the world to also stand firm for biblical Truth. Church is essential.”

In further retaliation, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works issued his church a 30-day notice to terminate a lease agreement for land the church had used as a parking lot for 45 years.

But John MacArthur had the last word. The state and Los Angeles County settled the case and agreed to pay him $800,000. The county also rescinded the lease termination as part of the settlement.

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