Once again, the court of California has denied Los Angeles County's application for a temporary restraining order against Pastor John MacArthur and Grace Community Church from holding their weekly indoor sermons throughout the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic regulations set by Governor Gavin Newsom.
Judge Mitchel Beckloff determined that the restraining order did not meet the statutory requirements. As a result, the next hearing regarding the matter will be set for Sept 4th.
Paul Jonna of Thomas More Society Special Counsel commended the court's decision stating that Los Angeles County's attempts at seeking a restraining order was ultimately defective. This attempt by the county is reported to be their fourth unsuccessful attempt to prohibit Grace Community Church's indoor services.
Pastor MacArthur also added to the conversation that the county's attempts were aimed to hinder the Church's "free exercise of religion by criminalizing activity directly required by our faith." He goes on to state that after 63 years of sacrifice for the city, the county in turn tried to take action to shut down Grace Community church when no one is actually sick. He concluded by saying, "Our leaders and congregation see no real health threat to warrant such restraint. We see this action against us as an illegitimate misuse of power,".
Pastor MacArthur went on to express the significance of the actions taken against the church. He said, "It should shock the conscience of every Christian that churches are coming under assault from our own government simply for holding church. Church is essential."
In response, Los Angeles county officials argue the continuance of indoor worship services held by the church could have a possibility of contributing to the spread of COVID-19 within the community. They seek repercussions such as fines or even arrests if Pastor MacArthur and his church do not comply with orders.