One attorney says Pastor John MacArthur declaring his church in California will meet for services, regardless of what Governor Gavin Newsom (D) says, is constitutionally and theologically sound.
"First of all, it's a First Amendment right," Pastor MacArthur told Tucker Carlson on Fox News Channel. "This is the United States of America, and the government can't intrude in worship."
MacArthur went on to point out there is a 99.99 percent chance of surviving COVID-19 in California.
"In the state of California, there are 40 million people," MacArthur explained. "8,500 of them have died with COVID, and that's .002 percent of the population. So why would you shut down the entire state and, particularly when people are frightened and sometimes terrified that they're going to die, shut down the church, where most of the intense relationships in our society exist?"
MacArthur then added that his congregation at Grace Community Church went 21 weeks with no ministry to children, to students, to senior adults, and with no funerals or weddings.
"I can't go to the hospital," said MacArthur. "I've had to go on the phone to talk to dying people at the hospital."
Earlier this week, MacArthur put out a statement titled "Christ, not Caesar, Is Head of the Church."
Some people are reluctant to return to church. They point to news reports of COVID-19 cases being linked to churches and church members. Others cite concerns about how it may look if they do not follow government guidelines. Still, Abraham Hamilton III, general counsel for the American Family Association and host of "The Hamilton Corner" on AFR Talk, believes MacArthur is right to resist Gov. Newsom's orders against worship services.
"Emergency orders must be time limited," Hamilton tells AFR's "Today's Issues" program. "You cannot announce an indefinite suspension of the First Amendment. And as Attorney General William Barr said, there is no COVID-19 exception to the First Amendment in the Constitution."
Theologically, Hamilton adds that MacArthur is right to resist the order(s) from Gov. Newsom.
"I know there are … pastors [of smaller churches] all over the country who do not have the influence of Dr. MacArthur, but him stepping up to do this is going to have a reverberating effect across the United States of America," Hamilton asserts.
Editor's Note: The American Family Association is the parent organization of the American Family News Network, which operates OneNewsNow.com.