The Los Angeles County Superior Court announced Thursday that there’s no court order prohibiting Pastor John MacArthur and Grace Community Church from holding indoor worship services amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are pleased with the outcome today,” Jenna Ellis, special counsel for the Thomas More Society and one of the attorneys representing MacArthur and his church, said in a statement to The Christian Post.
“Judge Mitchell L. Beckloff correctly found there is no court order prohibiting Grace Community Church from holding indoor services,” she added. “LA County continues to harass and target Pastor MacArthur. Having failed to get a court order to shut down the church they have sought three times, they’re going to try again by hauling us back into court. Ironically, LA County said in its application for contempt that, ‘Grace Church cannot thumb its nose at the court when decisions don’t go its way,’ yet that’s precisely what LA County is now doing themselves. We will simply continue to defend our client’s constitutionally protected rights because church is essential.”
Officials with Los Angeles County had wanted MacArthur and the leadership of the non-denominational, evangelical megachurch held in contempt of court after holding an in-person church service at their Sun Valley, California, campus last Sunday.
The county claimed that Grace Community Church should face $8,000 in fines in addition to attorneys’ fees. The county also seeks an additional $12,000 in fines for violations of court orders — $1,500 per violation.
“The LA County Board of Supervisors has decided to continue their unconstitutional attack against Pastor John MacArthur and Grace Community Church,” Ellis, who is also a Trump campaign adviser and lawyer, said.
“They are now asking the court to hold the church in contempt for simply being open for worship last Sunday,” she continued in a released statement. “Pastor MacArthur is standing firm that church is essential and has no plans to yield to this tyrannical board, which is clearly defying the constitution’s mandate to protect religious liberty.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett