By George Miller
Says White House Supports Them
Looks like Calvary Chapel Godspeak lost round 1 in the lawsuit by Ventura County to stop indoor church services which have been banned by the county’s and state’s COVID-19 emergency orders. This morning, Senior Pastor Rob McCoy confirmed that the judge granted the emergency TRO (Temporary Restraining Order). An evidentiary hearing is scheduled for August 31. We wanted to go, but it was all done on a teleconference with judge, plaintiff and defendant only, so we didn’t have access to hear or see it. It seems that COVID-19 even affects judicial proceedings adversely.
McCoy said this afternoon that they were reviewing their options and would make some decisions this evening.
Church services were initially banned by the state when the lockdown started in March, on the grounds that they are not essential. Godspeak announced resumption of limited indoor services in May and the ban was lifted, with restrictions, right before they resumed the services. In July, the ban was re-imposed, but the church chose not to comply on First Amendment and law of God grounds (the state doesn’t recognize the latter). This week the Ventura County Board of Supervisors met to authorize Counsel, in a deeply divided vote, to take legal action against the church to force compliance. The lawsuit was filed the next day, against the church, McCoy and “1 to 1000 Does” (presently unnamed defendants who attended) and the hearing occurred this morning.
We asked McCoy for a statement. He wrote us about the order and said they would make a decision by 5 PM. He added that he had been contacted by the White House and that this has gone national. He did the video linked below this evening to inform the congregation and the public. The Church elders later voted unanimously to continue services. McCoy also declared that “The President’s Counsel Jenna Ellis called to offer her support.” We’re trying to learn exactly what that means.
Pastor McCoy’s Answer: “Come to Church! If you’re one of the first 1000, you get a prize- a summons”
Rather than repeat all of the background, we refer you to our previous article(s):
By George Miller & Debra Tash Calvary Chapel’s Co-Counsel Nada Higuera of Tyler Burch informed us that Health Officer Dr. Robert Levin for Ventura County today sued Calvary Chapel, Pastor Rob McCoy and “(John) Does 1 through 1000” who attended services forbidden by California Governor Gavin Newsom and a fourth level bureaucrat Dr. Robert Levin, […]
Ventura County Press Release:
Temporary restraining order issued for violation of Public Health Orders
Ventura, CA – On Friday, August 7, 2020, the Ventura County Superior Court granted a temporary restraining order requiring Godspeak Calvary Chapel and Pastor Rob McCoy to adhere to statewide and local public health orders requiring church services to be conducted outdoors with masks and social distancing and/or online.
A further hearing on the matter is scheduled for August 31, 2020 and the temporary restraining order will remain in effect until that time.
Godspeak Calvary Chapel and McCoy, its pastor, have repeatedly held large, indoor worship services which violate current Health Orders issued by the State Public Health Officer and the Health Officer of Ventura County. These orders are aimed to mitigate the further spread of COVID-19 during the current global pandemic.
“Indoor gatherings, including indoor church services, are prohibited by the state at this time due to the increased person to person and community transmission leading to increased COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Churches can have their services outdoors and/or host virtual services,” said Public Health Director Rigo Vargas. “COVID-19 continues to spread from person to person and at gatherings. It is very important to follow the State’s guidance, so that the most vulnerable in our community can be spared from the disease. Churches and other community groups play a valuable role in the wellness of our County. We encourage people to stay connected, but to do so safely.”
In counties like Ventura, which are on the State Monitoring List due to concerning rates of disease spread, the health orders prohibit indoor gatherings for a number of businesses, activities, and events to protect the health and safety of residents from contracting COVID-19.
The orders prohibit indoor gatherings for places and events such as gyms and fitness centers, non-essential office buildings, malls, personal care services, hair salons and barbershops, protests, and worship services.
Despite these orders and notifications from Public Health to cease indoor services and to move services outdoors or to host services virtually, Godspeak Calvary Chapel and Pastor McCoy insisted upon holding services indoors, without requiring masks or social distancing.
Pastor McCoy has publicly stated that the church would not cease indoor services absent court intervention. The County and its Health Officer were therefore compelled to seek relief from the court, to protect the life, health and safety of Ventura County residents.
“The best way to gather at this time is virtually or outdoors in accordance with state orders and guidance. The more we can work together to follow these guidelines the quicker we can get back to enjoying activities indoors,” added Vargas.
George Miller is Publisher/Co-Founder of CitizensJournal.us and a “retired” operations management consultant residing in Oxnard.