State to churches: Nope, you can't meet in homes either

Wednesday, September 16, 2020
 | 
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

Bible study group 2Another California church is asking a court for emergency relief from the restrictive COVID-19 orders, this time those being imposed by Governor Gavin Newsom.

Harvest Rock Church and Harvest International Ministry is challenging the total ban on in-person worship (including in private homes) in the counties on the "County Monitoring List," as well as the ban on singing and chanting in the remaining counties.

"We filed an emergency request at the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday for an injunction pending appeal, and within 45 minutes the court gave a briefing schedule," says attorney Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel, the law firm representing Harvest Rock Church and Harvest International Ministry.

Staver

"This week, the state has to reply – and then we get 24 hours to reply to that," the attorney continues. "This is moving very quickly but Harvest Rock has a letter from the Pasadena prosecutor threatening the pastor, the staff, the church as a whole, and every parishioner who ever attends with criminal daily charges."

Each charge carries a penalty of jail and daily fines.

In addition to in-person worship at Harvest Rock Church, the church also has many "Life Groups," which are home Bible studies and fellowship groups. These too are prohibited under Newsom's orders of July 6 (no singing and chanting) and July 13 (no worship).

"Yet while [the governor] discriminates against churches, home Bible studies and fellowship meetings, [he] continues to encourage thousands of protestors to gather throughout the state," notes Liberty Counsel. "Like Governor Newsom, Pasadena has allowed hundreds and thousands of protestors."

And as the legal group points out, no public officials in Pasadena have attempted to stop the protests in which people "are crowded together, many of them not wearing masks."

"Time is of the essence," Staver concludes. "This is how unreal it's been in California."

Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, has been in a legal battle with Los Angeles County for several weeks over indoor worship services. A Los Angeles Superior Court ruling on Friday banned Pastor John MacArthur's church from "conducting, participating in, or attending any indoor worship services." The church still held services on Sunday.

Another California church, this one in Santa Clara, has been fined thousands of dollars for, among other things, singing. North Valley Baptist Church was also accused of failing to follow mask protocol and practice social distancing.

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