Los Angeles' Grace Community Church and Pastor John MacArthur have come under fire for deciding to hold in-person church services despite California Gov. Gavin Newsom's (D) Wuhan coronavirus declaration that bans church assemblies. The City of Los Angeles slapped the church with a cease and desist letter and threatened to charge both the church and Pastor MacArthur, as an individual, a $1,000 a day fine. The pastor also faced the possibility of being arrested should in-person services to continue.
The church held firm in its position and even challenged the City in court. A judge ruled in Grace Community Church's favor, saying they were deemed an essential service. The order allowed them to remain open and hold indoor services inside the church until a full hearing takes place on September 4.
The County of Los Angeles decided to circumvent the order. The County's Public Works Department Issued a 30-day termination notice to the church for a lease agreement for a large portion of the parking lot, which has been in place continuously since 1975.
According to the documents reviewed by Townhall, the church has to evacuate the property on October 1. Any items that are left in the parking lot at that time will be considered County property.
Jenna Ellis, the Special Counsel to the Thomas More Society and legal counsel for the church, said this is a way for the County to retaliate against her client.
"Los Angeles County is retaliating against Grace Community Church for simply exercising their constitutionally protected right to hold church and challenging an unreasonable, unlawful health order. In America, we have a judicial system to ensure that the executive branch does not abuse its power, and Grace Community Church has every right to be heard without fear of reprisal," she said in a statement. "The Democrats' message to Americans is clear--if you don't bow to every whim of tyranny, the government will come after you. The Church has peacefully held this lease for 45 years and the only reason the County is attempting eviction is because John MacArthur stood up to their unconstitutional power grab. This is harassment, abusive, and unconscionable."
Grace Community Church's legal team is currently considering all legal recourse.