A San Jose, California church and its pastor were found in contempt at a court hearing this week after ignoring a court order to stop holding indoor worship services in direct violation of Santa Clara County's COVID-19 restrictions.
KNTV reports Pastor Mike McClure of Calvary Church continued to hold services while being fined thousands of dollars. A county Superior Court judge had also ordered the church to stop holding indoor services, which the county said were held as recently as Nov. 25.
As CBN News reported, Santa Clara County Counsel James R. Williams and District Attorney Jeff F. Rosen filed a complaint in Superior Court on Oct. 27, requesting that Calvary Chapel stop "ongoing and serious violations of the state and local public health orders."
But McClure vowed to keep his church open after seeing members suffer from emotional and mental anguish due to the pandemic lockdown.
During McClure's hearing, a judge told him "science matters," before levying a fine of $2,500 for every day the church has held in-door services. The fines totaled about $55,000, according to KNTV.
Following the hearing, McClure addressed the media, indicating that no matter the fines or the restrictions placed on his congregation, services will continue.
"I respect the judge and I respect what the law says," McClure said. "But there's a bigger law. I have to get told, you follow God or you follow man. I have to follow what God's word says."
In a statement, Williams said it is vital for everyone to comply with all public health orders to avoid serious illness and save lives.
Attorneys with California-based legal group Advocates for Faith and Freedom are representing McClure and Calvary Chapel. The attorneys are planning to appeal the injunction on the constitutionality of the county's health order. They said they will be in federal court on Dec. 17 to ask the government to take over the case, KNTV reported.
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