A California court has ruled that a pastor who held live church services will not be going to jail, at least for now.
The Santa Clara County Superior Court ruled on Jan. 21 that Calvary Chapel Pastor Mike McClure will remain free for now after his church hosted indoor services without the use of face masks amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to ABC 7 News.
The pandemic has been used as an excuse by government officials to change election and voting rules, shut down and hamper businesses, control church services and prevent free assembly by Americans from coast to coast.
Santa Clara County had sued McClure and his church to stop them from holding indoor services without masks.
Robert Tyler, a lawyer for the San Jose church, announced the ruling on the court steps just after 5 p.m. following the contempt hearing. Dozens of members from the South Bay congregation turned out to the courthouse to support their pastor.
“The county has expressly said that they’re only looking for monetary sanctions,” Tyler said. “Not looking to put Pastor McClure or Pastor Carson Atherley in jail, thank God.”
The church is facing more than $1 million in administrative fines for a long list of violations including conducting indoor services without masks for months. County officials say that no fines have so far been paid.
The case is due back in court on Jan. 28 for closing arguments.