The Los Angeles County Superior Court announced Thursday there's no court order prohibiting Pastor John MacArthur and Grace Community Church from holding indoor worship services.
“We are pleased with the outcome today. Judge Mitchell L. Beckloff correctly found there is no court order prohibiting Grace Community Church from holding indoor services. LA County continues to harass and target Pastor MacArthur. Having failed to get a court order to shut down the church they have sought three times, they’re going to try again by hauling us back into court. Ironically, LA County said in its application for contempt that, ‘Grace Church cannot thumb its nose at the court when decisions don’t go its way,’ yet that’s precisely what LA County is now doing themselves. We will simply continue to defend our client’s constitutionally protected rights because church is essential," Thomas More Society Special Counsel Jenna Ellis said in a statement.
Officials with Los Angeles County wanted MacArthur and the leadership of the Grace Community Church held in contempt of court after holding a regular church service at their Sun Valley, California campus last Sunday.
County health officials said the church has repeatedly violated public health and court orders needed to slow the spread of COVID-19.
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As CBN News has reported, MacArthur and Grace Community Church are suing the county – and the state of California – for attempting to shut down their worship under COVID-related orders that violate the state's constitution. The lawsuit was filed after MacArthur received a cease and desist letter prohibiting indoor worship and threatening him with fines and imprisonment should Grace Community continue to worship in their church building.
The lawsuit pointed to the double standard that has been applied to Black Lives Matter protesters, who have been allowed and even encouraged to flood the streets by the thousands while churches have been forced to keep their sanctuaries closed over concerns worship services could cause spikes in Coronavirus infections.
After a California Superior Court judge denied the county's request for a temporary restraining order against MacArthur and his congregation, the church held weekend worship services. Following that the County of Los Angeles asked the court to hold the pastor and church in contempt.
MacArthur said they were meeting in obedience to God's word which tells Christians to assemble together and worship.
"They don't want us to meet, that's obvious," MacArthur said from the pulpit. "They're not willing to work with us. They just want to shut us down. But we're here to bring honor to the Lord."
A full hearing in the case is set for Sept. 4.