Church Will Fight Ventura County Threat to Shut it Down



By George Miller

County Medical Director threatens action on Calvary Chapel Godspeak’s refusal to shut down as ordered. Church responds defiantly.

A previous Calvary Chapel Godspeak service. Photo: George Miller/

Godspeak Calvary Chapel Pastor Rob McCoy

Calvary Chapel Godspeak (CCTO- Newbury Park) Senior Pastor Rob McCoy does not shy away from controversy in the name of what he believes right. With no regrets, he watched congregants peel away when he took controversial and politically incorrect positions of principle on multiple social and political issues over the years. But this also attracted new supporters to the congregation and allies such as Sen Rand Paul, Senator Shannon Grove, Charlie Kirk (Turning Point). He turned down a prestigious university deanship to stay and minister to his flock. He attracted supporters who poured millions of dollars  into Calvary Chapel to turn the YMCA into a new church.

He was Thousand Oaks Mayor and a Councilman. When he and church elders decided to reopen the church in defiance of government orders, he first resigned his Council office. The church was reopened with strict precautions- stricter than stores open. Around the same time, the county permitted reopening again. When the County recently ordered churches closed again, Calvary T.O. did not comply.

McCoy announced a Saturday evening online “fireside chat,” promising it would be an important announcement, vital to the church/congregation.

It seems that having the church fully open has attracted attention, leading to complaints and threats from the county to “take action”.

During the event, McCoy said County Health Director Rego Vargas contacted him and asked him if he was in compliance with the order. McCoy asked him if he had called all churches and added that they are in compliance with the First Amendment  (which keeps government out of religious affairs). He wondered why BLM isn’t being prosecuted for its destructive actions.

He believes that the sick should be quarantined, not the healthy.

County Health Officer Dr. Robert Levin, who has attracted so much attention due to hyper-enforcing state guidelines, claiming the force of law, works for Vargas.

McCoy said he told Vargas to consider his “Return On Investment” in any enforcement actions and that he would vigorously contest any shutdown actions, make it difficult and ensure that it received very high visibility and “national narrative.” The county has had brutal coverage from conservative media for what sounded like threats to forcibly relocate quarantined people and from last week’s forcible lockdown of the apartment building at 137 S. Palm in Ventura.

He said he told Vargas that he might succeed in shutting the church down, but it wouldn’t go quietly and that he might even take it to the President. McCoy said they would demand the unsealing of records to show actual causes of death, testing records and people who were classified positive with no testing, that families would be asked about cause of death and this would be compared with records, claims of causes of deaths.

He told the congregation that the “gloves are off”, that they are “all lawyered up”  ready for a fight and that he would hold an emergency meeting with the church elders to decide on next actions.

He noted that some other churches are also defying orders and noted their compliance with a higher authority. But he said we should not shake our fists and said he told Vargas that he was praying for him, asked that God give him wisdom and said that he stood only against his ideology, not him and that the congregation should do the same.

Meanwhile, he solicited everyone’s support and said while “the noose is tightening,” their resolve has grown stronger. He asked them to pray, to spread the word and invited all to live, in-person Sunday church services at 9, 11 and 1 tomorrow. He says he’s not sure if the county would move tomorrow or next Sunday.


Prior to making the announcement, McCoy had set the stage this evening by laying out some key points for the congregation:

  • He mocked Dr. Anthony Fauci’s hypocrisy in telling people they should be wearing masks, making a big show of wearing one while making his disastrous first pitch for the Yankees game, then being spotted up in the stands in a lonely group not wearing masks. He pointed out that “the oligarchy” sets its own rules while mandating more restrictions for others and that they obviously don’t believe what they are telling us. Similar behavior has been observed with other officials and celebrities.
  • He ruefully observed the Giants nearly all kneeling, compared their conformity to NAZI Germany and pointed out that BLM preaches violence, hate and Marxism.
  • He berated LA Mayor Garcetti for supporting violent, anarchist, Marxist “demonstrators,” who are unrestricted in movements and association, while imposing draconian restrictions in LA.
  • He attacked the LA teacher’s union for refusing to go back to work without government defunding police, stopping charter school funding, imposing a state wealth tax, and federal medicare for all.
  • He said that the virus case numbers are being exaggerated and that the death numbers are plunging.
  • He criticized the US Supreme Court and particularly swing vote John Roberts for ruling against Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley in Nevada to open, while permitting casinos, liquor stores, etc. open and BLM/Antifa anarchists running wild and in apparent violation without response .  He showed Justice Gorsuch’s scathing minority opposition statement. What is “essential?” Is this really about safety?


Christ, not Caesar, is the head of the church

McCoy referred to a statement by John McArthur and the Elders of the Grace Community Church that Christ, not Caesar, is the head of the church. The church is the most high-visibility non-complier in the state at present,


Therefore, in response to the recent state order requiring churches in California to limit or suspend 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.

 Although McCoy invoked the Constitution, Grace Community did not:

Notice that we are not making a constitutional argument, even though the First Amendment of the United States Constitution expressly affirms this principle in its opening words: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The right we are appealing to was not created by the Constitution. It is one of those unalienable rights granted solely by God, who ordained human government and establishes both the extent and the limitations of the state’s authority (Romans 13:1–7). Our argument therefore is purposely not grounded in the First Amendment; it is based on the same biblical principles that the Amendment itself is founded upon. The exercise of true religion is a divine duty given to men and women created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26–27Acts 4:18–205:29; cf. Matthew 22:16–22). In other words, freedom of worship is a command of God, not a privilege granted by the state.

This will infuriate secular progressives, who see no authority of God- or even that He exists and is all-powerful.

Jonathan Leeman responded to McArthur’s essay with compromises to reduce conflict with state authorities and costs, while getting at least something. But his advice to meet outdoors or in smaller groups has also been forbidden in some jurisdictions.

Lastly, there is the thought that church defiance could result in increasing health risk to people. McCoy laid out a case suggesting that the danger has been vastly exaggerated and that he may bring evidence.

It should be an interesting debate and actions coming up.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal.

George Miller is Publisher/Co-Founder of and a “retired” operations management consultant residing in Oxnard.

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Jack Malone

We in Florida are praying for you all! God bless you and fight the good fight

Diane Lenning, JD/EdM

The church should also include in their rationale and legal argument the First Amendment Right of ‘Free Exercise thereof,’ because States and Local Governments ‘cannot enlarge upon or recreate the First Amendment, or any part of the Constitution.’
It also shows Intent of the Founders to Form Our Republic based on Godly Principles and Biblical Precepts, which supports their current argument and Justification for ‘exercising their religion freely…’

Mike Smith

If the local government cuts the church building’s power and water, the church should continue meeting in the building anyway.

If the government fines the church, the fines should go unpaid.

If government officers try to kick the church members out of their own building, they should heavily phone-video-record and publicize the ordeal, to where the mainstream media would >have< to report it.

That would be one way to take the matter to our President.


A bit late in my book you never should have shut down in the first place! But better late than never I guess. Lawyered up? WTF is that?
I know he’s got a lawyer that’s not the question.
He will cause all both small and great free and bond to receive a mark in their right hand or forehead. Lawyering up won’t stop that.
It won’t even slow it down. Politics and using worldly methods won’t stop this!
stop waiting on something the church says will be the antichrist this kind of crap from the Govt is it!


Brother and Sisters who are the remnant. Persecution has now gone up another notch and we’re about to go through the fire unlike any other time in the history of the U.S. Our earlier brethren in Christ knew what this was like in the first century.

Pray that we not fall into temptation in that hour. Please listen to this broadcast to encourage you.

Website Reader

Dr Mercola has good data on how all the covid-19 data is misrepresented and mis-reported. I have a copy of his latest report “Consistent Inaccuracies in Covid-19 testing and reporting” If you read this report, please don’t let your blood boil too long, we need to start holding all health authorities responsible to be truthful and accurate in their data, and not participating in a scheme to keep all Americans afraid, waiting for a vaccine, oops, Bill Gates says multiple vaccinations now. I am tired of the lying, it needs to stop now.

Tragoudi Arpa

The main job of government is to reward the good and to punish the evil doer. However, when a government redefines evil as good and good as evil, and punishes the doers of good while rewarding evil doers, it has become illegitimate and its authority is no longer valid. When it enacts orders, laws or other regulations in contradiction to the Bible, it has become illegitimate and is no longer to be obeyed but to be resisted. Romans 13 is then no longer valid.

We must obey God rather than men. Yes, it can come at a high cost. But it must be done. Government must change its operations and policies to be in line with the Bible, God’s Word. Period. On every level. That is the inconvenient truth.


While I agree with your intent, if you wanted to maintain the separation of church from state you ought not have applied to become a 501c3 corporation under the state. It’s either you are under Jesus’ authority or under the state’s authority. Jesus stands outside knocking to be let back in…


Amendment XIV
Section 1.
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

This illegal mandate is not being applied equally.

Doug Miller

When I go to my local Walmart , it is a MOB scene. Everyone paws through the produce , and then you take home what countless people have touched. Social distancing goes out the window.
Although this is a 1st amendment issue , I have to ask , why do you trust a large corporation to safeguard your health , over a church group?
In this pandemic , leaders are deciding for us, businesses they have deemed are “safe” and those that are not. Mom and pop stores lose out , and giant corporate stores win.
Once again, mostly leftist, leaders see us as too stupid to make the right decisions to safeguard our health , and prevent spread of this virus.
Politicians have seized this opportunity to control every aspect of our lives, and keep us living in fear.
We have weathered worse infections, and death rates , but never have we cowered in our houses like we are doing now , calling authorities on our neighbors when the have too many friends over, or go outside without a mask.
Will we destroy our economy and dissolve our social structure to save a few lives?


John, I am interested in looking at the case data for the dozens and dozens of attendees of church dying? I have not heard of those statistics. If you go to today, you will see the stats. We have 4 million cases and 145k deaths. That is a 3.6 percentage of deaths nationwide from this sickness.

What does seem odd to me is that our Covid numbers actually spiked not long after we had riots and protests lead by BLM and the death of George Floyd. The protesters claimed to be exercising their rights for freedom of speech and then our officers and many more were exposed to potential illness.

I am not responding to fight. There is enough of that in this world today. I just want to lay facts out and then be able to rationally discuss. I think McCoy is a man of conviction and personally admire him for standing for Christ and His people. We are headed down a very scary slippery slope by allowing the government so much control over our lives. I am praying for our country, we need it. Thanks for listening.


Awesome! Totally Support him and the Church. He makes total sense. I will pray for you and your church.❤️


Although the Pastor wants to claim the separation of church and state as one reason why the defiance of guidelines due to virus…the points he is making or rather grievances I.e. BLM, conspiracy theories of Fauci, pointing out how Fauci was pictured without mask in a lovely area of stadium while eating with two family members, which is perfectly ok but wants to use that as a way of making something out of nothing and exaggerated Covid numbers, the kneeling at sports events, the Supreme Court rulings, etc etc….it appears to suggest that the Pastor has totally politicized his Church, even threatening to get the President involved, not a word about praying and asking my awesome God for the right direction……. please go to Romans 13:1-7

Roger Dat

Hasn’t God already answered in His Word? The pastor has very relevant points illustrating the dual nature of OUR government that is supposed to keep its nose out of the church.


Romans 13 never said to obey Govt anyhow’s so long past that point.
The word in Romans 13 power was mistranslated from the Greek word Exousia. Which means liberty not power anyhow’s. so the church has been falsely teaching were to obey Govt for more than a thousand years or more already,which makes them the false prophet.
But not agreeing with you at all just pointing out your wrong for using Romans 13 as a way to say be sheep and comply!


More Pastor’s need to come out like Pastor Rob! It is a battle between the Children of the Dark vs. Children of the Light! He’s right…..Pray for Pastor Rob!!


Perhaps to prove their faith and not adversely effect the Covid cautious among us, the attendees need to sign DO NOT HOSPITALIZE, DO NOT RESUSCITATE orders so our healthcare system won’t be overwhelmed.


God Bless! We stand behind you!! You are a brave man to stand up for what others are afraid to do..

John Slagboom

Well Pastor McCoy, it was not God’s will for you to go to Sacramento when you ran for State Assembly several years back. It looks like Sacramento has come for you? You have been raised up for such a time as this. A Voice of One in the Wilderness of Luke Warm Christianity calling out “This is the Straight Way of the Lord, walk in it!”. My Life verse for your at this critical juncture of the fight for the very Soul of the Church during the Great Apostasy we are surely in right now: “The Wicked Flee when no one pursues. But the Righteous are Bold as a Lion!” Proverbs 29:1


Proverbs 28:1

Jenni Garcia

I think Pastor McCoy is a brave man. His motives are pure. Hes standing up for what He believes in what we all should believe in that is Jesus Christ as God not government. The bible tells us to fear God not man , to be a God pleaser not a man pleaser to obey God over man if man would ask us to sin. To not meet together , to not worship God, to cower in fear all these are sin. You cant
ask christians to sin. The church of Jesus Christ has been hated and persecuted the
day it started, so this is nothing new. When you tell a true christian that hes not allowed to worship his God there will be push back.


Silly dangerous man followed by sad sheep. What happened to keeping you body as the Temple of the Holy Spirit


That’s a false way to use that.
The body is the temple of the Hoy spirit is how Second Thessalonians is fulfilled not how your using it.
This is more appropriate:
Colossians 2:8
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
For we’re to not be conformed to this world. And mask mandates and saying a church can’t do as they are supposed to and complying is conforming to this world.
Also wrong way to use sheep. Sheep do as told this about not being sheep.

Mona Hansen

hey John with no last name up there ….get to know Christ and you’ll understand what we are fighting for. Blessing in your search.

Mike Smith

Remember, neither the State of California nor the City of Thousand Oaks considered churches essential services BEFORE the shutdown.

Even when Pastor McCoy was mayor.

“He [McCoy] said he told [County Health Director] Vargas that he might succeed in shutting the church down, but it wouldn’t go quietly and that he might even take it to the President.”

He will have to take it to the President.

Local and mainstream establishment media, the people of Thousand Oaks, and every politician between him and Gavin Newsom will leave him no other choice.

Just watch.


McCoy has little regard for the lives of the people in his church. Just disgusting. Churches are allowed to hold services outside resulting in a far safer environment and much lower risk of death. I saw a wonderful outdoor service just last week. There are numerous cases of church services indoors spreading Covid to dozens and dozens of attendees and people dying.

I just cannot help but believe that this guy is scientifically illiterate and technically incompetent. Big time.


COVID-19 has a survival rate of 99.7% (with most people having moderate to no issues). In a world of 7.6 billion people, only about 160,000 people have died from COVID-19. You are calling this man “scientifically illiterate?” This is a severe virus outbreak…it is not the Spanish Virus of 1918-21 or even the Hong Kong virus outbreak of 1968. In the March 26, 2020 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Fauci (the great “know it all”) said COVID-19 is a severe virus outbreak with a 0.1% morbidity rate. Please stop drinking the mainstream media hysteria, and give the pastor credit for being very brave.

king david

“In a world of 7.6 billion people, only about 160,000 people have died from COVID-19.”

Actually closer to 655,000 deaths


Atheist much? You must for if you weren’t you’d know better than to make faithless statements.
Death isn’t the end of things. Plus even the wicked get resurrected to be judged so… yeah.
Be ye not conformed to this world.

Ginny Bryce

God Bless, Pastor McCoy!