California Judge Issues Order Allowing LA County to Ban Worship for MacArthur & Church

John MacArthur, Grace Community Church, Los Angelas County
(Photo: Harbingers Daily)

The Los Angelas Superior Court, defying constitutionally protected rights, has issued a preliminary injunction against John MacArthur and Grace Community Church banning them from “conducting, participating in, or attending any indoor worship services.”

According to a press release from the Thomas More Society, the Court order also prohibits outdoor worship “unless onerous restrictions are followed.”

This development comes after John MacArthur and Grace Community Church filed a lawsuit against the state of California due to Governor Gavin Newsom’s order requiring Churches in 30 counties to shut their doors to in-person worship.

What followed could be called nothing less than blatant harassment by LA County as they pursued court-order after court-order to stop the Church from assembling together to worship. The County even went as far as to terminate a longstanding lease agreement for a large portion of the Church’s parking, which has been leased continually by them since 1975.

Up until today’s ruling, LA County faced a series of court losses as multiple Judges upheld MacArthur and Grace Community Churches constitutionally protected rights. Judge Chalfant ruled August 14th “that it is the county’s burden to show why they should be permitted to infringe on the constitutionally protected rights of churches to freely exercise religion.”

Regarding today’s ruling, the Thomas More Society representing the Church and MacArthur, explained in a press release that the court is “refusing to follow the U.S. and California State constitutional protections for churches,” and that “the ruling fails to apply the appropriate constitutional standard of review.”

“We are disappointed in the ruling on the preliminary injunction as the court did not apply the strict scrutiny analysis to the government order that we believe is required by the California Constitution and legal precedent.” Special Counsel Charles LiMandri said, “The court also did not properly consider the medical and scientific evidence that the current number of people with serious COVID-19 symptoms no longer justifies a shuttering of the churches. Nor do we believe that the court gave adequate consideration to the fact that churches have been treated as second-class citizens compared to the tens of thousands of protestors. More than ever, California’s churches are essential. Therefore, we plan to appeal this ruling to ultimately vindicate our clients’ constitutionally protected right to free exercise of religion.”

“Although this is a temporary setback, we will continue to fight for Pastor MacArthur and Grace Community Church’s constitutionally protected right to hold church,” Jenna Ellis stated. “While the judge did go out of his way to repeatedly state that he is not ruling on the merits, only a ruling at this very preliminary stage, Pastor MacArthur is still harmed because he has every right to hold Church. Church is essential, and no government agent has the runaway, unlimited power to force churches to close indefinitely.”

“The County’s argument was basically ‘because we can,’ which is the very definition of tyranny,” Ellis continued. “Without limiting government’s power in favor of freedom and protected rights, we have no liberty. We will fight for religious freedom, as our founders did when they wrote the First Amendment.”

“In an inexplicable ruling, the judge said the ‘scale tipped in favor of the county.’ 1/100th of 1% of Californians with a virus apparently wins over the U.S. Constitution and religious freedom for all?” Pastor John MacArthur questioned. “That is not what our founders said. Nor is that what God says, who gave us our rights that our government—including the judicial branch—is supposed to protect. The scale should always tip in favor of liberty, especially for churches.”


Read the Full Press Release Below:


The Los Angeles Superior Court issued a preliminary injunction September 10 against Grace Community Church and Pastor John MacArthur, refusing to follow the U.S. and California State constitutional protections for churches. The ruling fails to apply the appropriate constitutional standard of review. The order prohibits the church from “conducting, participating in, or attending any indoor worship services” and also bans outdoor worship unless onerous restrictions are followed in a heavy-handed move against the internationally known preacher and his congregation. MacArthur and Grace Community Church’s attorneys from the Thomas More Society said the judge refused to consider their important separation of powers arguments “in any meaningful fashion” and essentially “ducked the issue.”

Special Counsel Charles LiMandri said, “We are disappointed in the ruling on the preliminary injunction as the court did not apply the strict scrutiny analysis to the government order that we believe is required by the California Constitution and legal precedent. The court also did not properly consider the medical and scientific evidence that the current number of people with serious COVID-19 symptoms no longer justifies a shuttering of the churches. Nor do we believe that the court gave adequate consideration to the fact that churches have been treated as second-class citizens compared to the tens of thousands of protestors. More than ever, California’s churches are essential. Therefore, we plan to appeal this ruling to ultimately vindicate our clients’ constitutionally protected right to free exercise of religion.”

Special Counsel Jenna Ellis said, “Although this is a temporary setback, we will continue to fight for Pastor MacArthur and Grace Community Church’s constitutionally protected right to hold church. While the judge did go out of his way to repeatedly state that he is not ruling on the merits, only a ruling at this very preliminary stage, Pastor MacArthur is still harmed because he has every right to hold church. Church is essential, and no government agent has the runaway, unlimited power to force churches to close indefinitely. The County’s argument was basically ‘because we can,’ which is the very definition of tyranny. Without limiting government’s power in favor of freedom and protected rights, we have no liberty. We will fight for religious freedom, as our founders did when they wrote the First Amendment.”

Pastor John MacArthur said, “In an inexplicable ruling, the judge said the ‘scale tipped in favor of the county.’ 1/100th of 1% of Californians with a virus apparently wins over the U.S. Constitution and religious freedom for all? That is not what our founders said. Nor is that what God says, who gave us our rights that our government—including the judicial branch—is supposed to protect. The scale should always tip in favor of liberty, especially for churches.”

Read the Ruling explaining the Order Granting Preliminary Injunction, issued September 10, 2020, by Judge Mitchell L. Beckloff in the Superior Court of California – County of Los Angeles – Central District in County of Los Angeles et al. v. Grace Community Church et al. here