Editor's Note: Click here for an earlier story about Grace Community Church's legal battle.
The Los Angeles County Superior Court announced on Aug. 20, 2020, that there is no court order prohibiting Pastor John MacArthur and Grace Community Church from holding indoor worship services. The renowned minister and his Sun Valley, California, congregation are being targeted by the County of Los Angeles, which has made repeated attempts to shut down the nondenominational, evangelical megachurch. Thomas More Society Special Counsel Jenna Ellis and Charles LiMandri are representing the church, defending the religious freedom of the pastor and congregants against the county's unconstitutional violation of the right to worship together.
Ellis responded to the judicial finding:
"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."
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.
Background Information on Pastor John MacArthur and Grace Community Church's Legal Battle:
Read the Thomas More Society's Complaint filed with the Superior Court for the State of California – County of Los Angeles, in Grace Community Church and Pastor John MacArthur v. Gavin Newsome et al., on August 12, 2020, here.
Read the Demand Letter sent to Pastor John MacArthur by attorney Jason Tokoro, representing the County of Los Angeles in California, on July 29, 2020, here.
The Thomas More Society is a national not-for-profit law firm dedicated to restoring respect in law for life, family and religious liberty. Headquartered in Chicago, Omaha and Fairfield, New Jersey, the Thomas More Society fosters support for these causes by providing high quality pro bono legal services from local trial courts all the way up to the United States Supreme Court. For more information, visit thomasmoresociety.org.
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