by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – John McArthur’s Grace Community Church in Los Angeles County, California filed new documents Friday in an ongoing legal fight over the freedom to hold indoor services amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Just the News reports.
Following a period of compliance with state COVID-19 restrictions at the beginning of the pandemic, in July Grace Community went back to holding indoor services in contravention of ongoing restrictions. The church argued the restrictions are not Biblical and are unconstitutional.
The church’s stance eventually resulted in an injunction being issued against it by L.A. Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff in September: the Court ordered the church to stop holding indoor services and to ensure congregants wear masks and practice social distancing if services are held outside. In his ruling, Judge Beckloff said: “potential consequences of community spread of COVID-19 and concomitant risk of death to members of the community, associated and unassociated with the church, outweighs the harm that flows from the restriction on indoor worship caused by the (Los Angeles County) health order.”
In continuing the legal battle, attorneys for the church are now relying on two US Supreme Court decisions that allowed churches and synagogues to continue holding their indoor services, while also allowing limits on the number of congregants attending.
In a declaration accompanying the documents filed on Friday, the church leadership said: “[t]herefore, in response to the recent state order requiring churches in California to limit . . . all meetings indefinitely, we, the pastors and elders of Grace Community Church, respectfully inform our civic leaders that they have exceeded their legitimate jurisdiction, and faithfulness to Christ prohibits us from observing the restrictions they want to impose on our corporate worship services.” “[I]t has never been the prerogative of civil government to . . . modify . . . worship. When, how, and how often the church worships is not subject to Caesar.”
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