Harvest Rock Church in California Appeals Governor’s Ban on Home Bible Studies and In-Person Worship

Pastor Ché Ahn speaks at Harvest Rock Church in Pasadena, California, 2019. | Facebook/Harvest Rock Church

The Pasadena-based Harvest Rock Church and Harvest International Ministry have appealed their case regarding Gov. Gavin Newsom’s ban on all in-person worship, including home Bible studies and fellowship with anyone who does not live in the home.

On behalf of Harvest Rock Church and Harvest International Ministries, which is a nonprofit corporation with 162 member churches statewide and over 65,000 affiliates worldwide, the religious rights law group Liberty Counsel has filed a lawsuit in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The lawsuit challenges “both the total ban on in-person worship (including in private homes) in the counties on the ‘County Monitoring List,’ and the ban on singing and chanting in the remaining counties,” Liberty Counsel said in a statement.

Harvest Rock Church also has many “Life Groups,” which are home Bible studies and fellowship groups. “These too are prohibited under Gov. Newsom’s July 6 (no singing and chanting) and July 13 (no worship) orders.”

“While he discriminates against churches, home Bible studies and fellowship meetings, the governor continues to encourage thousands of protestors to gather throughout the state,” Liberty Counsel argued. “Like Gov. Newsom, Pasadena has allowed hundreds and thousands of protestors. Neither the Pasadena Public Health Department nor the Pasadena Prosecutor has attempted to stop the protests in which people are crowded together, many of them not wearing masks.”

On Aug. 12, Judge Jesus G. Bernal denied the church’s request for a preliminary injunction. The following day, the Pasadena prosecutor sent the church and its pastor, Ché Ahn, a letter demanding that all in-person worship services cease. The letter threatened daily criminal charges and fines to the pastor, the church, staff and parishioners, saying each criminal charge would be punishable by up to one year in prison.

“The Supreme Court has clearly stated that under the First Amendment, the state cannot prohibit people from attending church against their will,” Liberty Counsel founder and Chairman Mat Staver said.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Anugrah Kumar