By Michael Hernandez
SUN VALLEY—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell L. Beckloff ruled Sept. 10 against Grace Community Pastor John MacArthur; ordering the church to close after Los Angeles County had lost four tries for a temporary restraining order.
“I recognize the importance of the decision,” said Judge Beckloff in an interview with CBS. Meanwhile, Grace Community Pastor John MacArthur said to Fox News on Thursday: “We’re going to have church on Sunday. One one-hundredth of one percent of Californians have COVID. No one in the entire state is allowed to go inside the church. We are under authority of Jesus Christ. He says ‘have church’ and we are going to have church.”
“They are targeting religious gatherings of large groups,” said Jenna Ellis, Thomas More Society Special Counsel to Pastor John MacArthur. “This is discriminatory enforcement. There are constitutional arguments. When government has this type of broad unlimited indefinite power, our rights become privileges as the county allows. We have constitutional protections.”
Judge Beckloff refused to allow Gov. Gavin Newsom file a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the county’s stand. LA County sued Grace Community Church on Aug. 14 after it began holding indoor services on Sundays. Meanwhile, the church filed a suit against the county in response and the case is awaiting trial in Burbank Superior Court.
“Religion doesn’t trump health and safety,” argued attorney Amnon Siegel, representing LA County. Outdoor religious serves are permitted in the county.
Pastor John MacArthur spoke on Fox News of a sexual and homosexual revolution in which we are “rapidly going downhill in warp speed. This is the degeneration of a nation with no conscience.”
“That is why we need the church,” said attorney Jenna Ellis.
(Editor’s Note: To see three previous Citizens Journal stories on Grace Community Pastor John MacArthur published on Sept. 1, Aug. 23 and 15 go to:
Michael Hernandez, Co-Founder of the Citizens Journal—Ventura County’s online news service; editor of the History Makers Report and founder of History Makers International—a community nonprofit serving youth and families in Ventura County, is a former Southern California daily newspaper journalist and religion and news editor. He worked 25 years as a middle school teacher in Monrovia and Los Angeles Unified School Districts. Mr. Hernandez can be contacted by email at [email protected].