Calif. judge overrules Newsom, says L.A. church can hold indoor services

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Pastor John MacArthur. (Photo: Thomas Moores Society)

Cracks are appearing in the nationwide leftish push to prevent the free practice of religion, with a judge in California on Aug. 14 allowing a prominent pastor in Los Angeles to hold indoor, live services in defiance of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s coronavirus restrictions.

The California governor’s proscriptions included banning singing in houses of worship.

Pastor John MacArthur of Grace Community Church expressed gratitude to Superior Court Judge James C. Chalfant, whose order allows in-person worship while still requiring churchgoers to wear masks and socially distance.

“I am very grateful the court has allowed us to meet inside and we are happy for a few weeks to comply and respect what the judge has asked of us because he is allowing is to meet,” MacArthur said in a statement. “This vindicates our desire to stay open and serve our people. This also gives us an opportunity to show that we are not trying to be rebellious or unreasonable, but that we will stand firm to protect our church against unreasonable, unconstitutional restrictions.”

Like many localities and government officials across the country during the coronavirus outbreak, Los Angeles County had sought a court order barring churches from holding in-person services, arguing that they were an immediate health threat which free people could not be depended upon to avoid on their own.

“Los Angeles County’s first and only objective is to save lives and protect the health of our residents and communities,” county officials said in a statement, adding that “we will continue to work through the legal system to ensure that the health officer orders are upheld, as these are the best tools we currently have to slow the spread of this lethal virus.”

In other words, they’ll take away freedom in the name of protecting your own health.

The judge set a September hearing on the county’s request for an injunction barring indoor services at the church.

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