Home>Articles>Grace Community Church Wins Against Gov. Newsom’s Attacks on Religious Liberty

Pastor John MacArthur. (Photo: Twitter)

Grace Community Church Wins Against Gov. Newsom’s Attacks on Religious Liberty

‘Governor Newsom tried to put the First Amendment on hold, and lost’

By Katy Grimes, September 2, 2021 4:29 pm

“The Cross Culture Christian Center in Lodi and Cornerstone Church in Fresno just won large lawsuits against Gov. Gavin Newsom, whose statewide COVID shutdown orders included churches,” the Globe reported Wednesday. And they aren’t the only two big wins for religious freedom.

After state and federal courts in California issued permanent injunctions prohibiting the state or any of its agencies from ever again imposing discriminatory restrictions on all houses of worship, attorneys for Pastor John MacArthur and Grace Community Church announced that the California and Los Angeles County have agreed to pay $800,000 in “prevailing party” attorneys’ fees.

Los Angeles County will pay $400,000, with an additional $400,000 paid by the State of California as compensation for the attorneys’ fees incurred by Grace and MacArthur, the Thomas Moore Society reported.

The lengthy legal battle started when California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered houses of worship to close in March 2020, in a hasty and sweeping response to fears about the potential spread of COVID-19.

In March 2020, Los Angeles Grace Community Church closed its doors because of the coronavirus pandemic. When it announced plans to re-open in May, a federal court upheld the state’s ban on indoor church services.

Pastor MacArthur slowly opened back up in July 2020, and offered an outdoor tent for services, until thousands of his parishioners were attending. But LA County tried to enforce a limit of 100 on church service attendees – a tiny fraction of the megachurch congregation, the Globe reported last year.

“The renowned pastor and his well-known church in Sun Valley, took the stance that church is essential,” the Thomas Moore Society reported. “The court affirmed that position, recognizing the constitutionally protected right of churches to remain open and to hold indoor services in their sanctuary.”

The Thomas Moore Society explain the lengthy legal case:

Grace Community Church, its Elder Board, and Pastor MacArthur have been the target of ongoing unconstitutional religious discrimination by the City of Los Angeles and the State of California, amid the state’s orders to cease in-person church assembly during the coronavirus pandemic.

The persecution of Grace Community Church and MacArthur, known worldwide for their ministry and seminary, was surprising to many. The church and its lead pastor have enjoyed an impeccable 65-year history of serving the Los Angeles community in person and having a reputation for good citizenship and deference to legitimate state authority.

However, the State of California, the County of Los Angeles, and the City of Los Angeles unconstitutionally used COVID-19 as a pretext to attempt to force churches to close indefinitely.

In a series of aggressive actions, Grace and MacArthur were abused by the governing authorities. First, the City of Los Angeles, through a cease-and-desist letter, threatened Grace Community Church and Pastor MacArthur specifically with a daily fine of $1000 or arrest, after which Grace filed suit against the state and county.

California State Senator Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) weighed in: “The Government has no authority to tell people they cannot worship or attend church, and these lawsuits have reinforced the religious freedom that every American is guaranteed under the Constitution. Governor Newsom tried to put the First Amendment on hold, and lost.”

Pastor MacArthur said, “We are very grateful for our Lord’s protection and providence throughout this past year. Our commitment to the Word of God and his church has never wavered. We have simply continued to stand firm, as we always have and always will. We put our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ who is the head of the church.  Over the past year, our congregation has seen his hand of blessing in ways like never before, and the Lord’s promise has been realized: ‘I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.’  I am thankful for the advocacy of our attorneys, Jenna Ellis and Charles LiMandri, and this outcome.”

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15 thoughts on “Grace Community Church Wins Against Gov. Newsom’s Attacks on Religious Liberty

  1. This lifts my heart to finally see freedom prevail for these churches. Too bad so many others were fooled into giving up their rights for ‘false security’.

  2. Its too bad the Religious leaders have so little regard to the medical/front liners who are overwhelmed with unvaccinated people ending up in the hospital and running around spreading this horrific virus. It is also too bad that while we have a rampant homeless problem our tax dollars are being wasted on a settlement paid to this wealthy religious group. This all seems very unGODly to me. Kim Laughlin Wooden

    1. Kim, there are just as many vaccinated individuals sick and spreading “this horrific virus.” Taxpayer dollars would not have been used for this settlement if your governor had not violated OUR CONSTITUTION! Religious leaders do not have disregard for the medical workers. That is NOT what this settlement was about.

    2. The main reason that the medical/front liners are overwhelmed is the shortage of workers. There are enough hospital beds (https://data.thecalifornian.com/covid-19-hospital-capacity/california/06/):

      “According to a story published by a newspaper in Bakersfield, in the past month, no fewer than four emergency room nurses have quit at one Eureka hospital.
      And aside from the burnout and the pressure and the stress, nurses have also cited California’s mandatory vaccination rule as one reason they’re thinking about leaving the state. Traveling nurses have been turning down assignments in the Golden State at record rates because they don’t want to get vaccinated – and the mandate hasn’t even taken effect yet.
      Cole of Scripps Health said the state’s testing requirement, imposed last week, already has discouraged some out-of-state, traveling nurses from taking temporary jobs at California hospitals. ….”

      (https://www.zerohedge.com/covid-19/california-nurse-shortage-reaches-crisis-level-vaccine-mandate-wards-traveling-nurses?utm_campaign=&utm_content=Zerohedge%3A+The+Durden+Dispatch&utm_medium=email&utm_source=zh_newsletter)

    3. First off how do you know they have little regard for front line workers, you mean the 1000s of workers walking off the job because of the shot that makes your sicker then the virus, As far as homelessness in Cali, please look to those in charge before you judge, the states with conservative leadership do not have the same problems!!!! And finally most of the money they will receive is to a Law firm that is non-for-profit, its not free to stand up for your freedoms thats why most smaller churches/people don’t fight the system because they can’t afford it, Oh in closing while your talking about waisting money, It cost the State Billions to keep people out of church, work, everyday life, If you want to point blame on wasteful spending, Look to your leadership, their wastefulness is based on Fact Science and Fact New (and no I dont support trump)

  3. Did you know there is no one Godly but Almighty God. We are all sinners, no one is good, but Jesus Christ who died on the cross and took the penalty for our sins. You can too accept this gift of salvation. The good news of the gospel, of Christ, for it is “the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes. “. Do you know where you will be spending eternity? Jesus is the Way the Truth and the Light,. The only way to heaven is through Christ. God bless you

  4. Kim, Please read Dark Agenda by Horowitz. It outlines how religions are being obliterated by our government and the media. It is a sad case of affairs. Freedom FROM interference by the government to practice ones religion (no exceptions) is written in a document you should become familiar with.
    Give me Liberty or Give me Death.

  5. Since most churches are about making money , and those who attend that judge, condemn, play politics , ..churches brain wash people and teaching children they will burn for all eternity for not following gods rule…if Republican self proclaimed Christians act as evil and hate mongers…who don’t love their neighbors or know what love is….churches should be taxed …they do nothing to help others or the less fortunate…..Christians who proudly defend trump and his actions…and lies ….why are they entitled to any protections ….for the propaganda they spread …religions don’t make the world better..they make it worse….the most violent and mentally unstable people are religious .

    1. @Brian Churches are here to improve, make good, humble people, and build friendships. I live in a Latino working class neighborhood and there’s a church here that I go to that helps with food donations. And the churchgoers are all mostly working class Democrats or liberals so your statement is an insult.

  6. It is of interest that the three churches the article mentioned have very highest death rates for 2020.
    Los Angeles county is number 3 in death rate per capita.
    San Joaquin county is number 5.
    Fresno county is number 10 out of 58 counties.
    There are forty four verses in Leviticus that mentions the word plague. None of the other books of the Bible or Torah mention as much (most are 1 to 4 verse). Since Leviticus is the textbook for the Levites (in our case a picture of religious workers or leaders), this means if there is a plague or epidemi, the religious leaders did not do their job. In the end, Jesus wants us to look unto Him, one on one not via religious leader or talk show host. So God will manifest His glory on His people, peculiar (treasured) and Holy (uncommon). Healing and blessing is from Jesus only, not by hanging on to Moses who died before Jordan.

    The highest thirty (or forty) infection rates and mortality rates are in the religious countries of this world. They are not just outside the Christendom but also in the Christendom where they lift the ten commandments of Moses. The singular country where they have limited the mortality rate to 0.0% because of Covid is a small country with dense population called Singapore where it is widely known to have preachering of Gospel of grace that say Jesus is the savior and Jesus is also the healer.

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