UPDATED: California, LA County To Pay Grace Community Church $800K In Legal Fees Over COVID Restrictions

Pastor John MacArthur makes a case for indoor service to remain open

UPDATE: Sept. 2 -- Pastor John MacArthur's Grace Community Church has won a $800,000 settlement over a lawsuit on COVID restrictions.

Rev. Franklin Graham, in a Facebook post, celebrated MacArthur's victory, saying "Thank you for standing firm. This is a huge victory for religious liberty"”it's a win for all of us! The Constitution has the last word. This situation was an abuse of power by those making the decisions in their county and their state."

Attorney Jenna Ellis clarified that the $800,000 Pastor MacArthur's church will be receiving comes from the State of California and the LA County, both of which will give $400,000 each.

Rev. Graham quoted Ellis in saying of MacArthur, "Always stand firm in the truth. And you may be the only one, but in the end you will prevail and you'll give others hope and courage to stand firm as well."

--- Here's the original story as follows ---

Los Angeles (LA) is being requested to pay the legal fees of a church over lawsuit on COVID restrictions.

In a settlement agreement dated Aug. 19, the LA County Claims Board proposed for the payment of $400,000 to Grace Community Church (GCC). The money will be taken from the budget of LA's Department of Public Health. Further, it says that California will also pay the same amount to the congregation. The county's board of supervisors will vote on the agreement today, Aug. 31, the Los Angeles Times reported.

GCC has incurred $938,096 on attorney fees and $13,831 on other costs.

GCC Pastor John MacArthur reportedly communicated the development to the supporters of John MacArthur Charitable Trust, calling it a "monumental victory" for the church.

"We know that there is no circumstance that can cause the church to close. The church is not only a building but is the bride of Christ and exists to proclaim the truth," he added.

Three days after holding an in-person service on July 26 last year, the local health officials warned the church against it, saying that the event has broken LA's health directives.

But two weeks after, GCC sued the county and the state, claiming that the rules were violating the constitution's religious freedom.

Moreover, the church said that the citizens have started to realize that they were "being cheated by their own government," alleging that the imposed coronavirus restrictions were not applied to some "favored groups" such as the demonstrators.

"When many went to the streets to engage in 'political protests' against 'racism' and 'police brutality,' these protestors refused to comply with the pandemic restrictions. Instead of enforcing the public health orders, public officials were all too eager to grant a de facto exception for these favored protestors," GCC emphasized.

The following day, the county countersued, contending that the church could have opted for outdoor or virtual services but chose to hold indoor services instead, violating the government orders.

"The County always wants to amicably resolve these issues with all members of the community, including churches. We use education as the primary step in gaining compliance; however, when compliance is not achieved, we must use the other tools at our disposal," the LA County said in a statement.

On its website in July 2020, the church explained its decision to remain open and gather for corporate worship amidst the state's order to limit such gatherings.

Declaring the lordship of Jesus Christ and His sovereignty over every authority in the world, as stated in the Bible, GCC argued that it will stand on those "biblical principles."

"As His people, we are subject to His will and commands as revealed in Scripture. Therefore we cannot and will not acquiesce to a government-imposed moratorium on our weekly congregational worship or other regular corporate gatherings. Compliance would be disobedience to our Lord's clear commands," the church declared.