Los Angeles County is suing church pastor John MacArthur and Grace Community Church, a Los Angeles megachurch, for defying county and state restrictions on indoor gatherings mandated to slow the spread of COVID-19, according to reports.
Thousands attended Sunday services on August 9 at Grace Community Church, video shows.
According to reports from August 13, LA County was suing to stop church gatherings. The church doors were shuttered in mid-March, but reopened in late July.
MacArthur issued a statement on July 24, titled: “Christ, not Caesar, Is Head of the Church.”
“… 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,” an excerpt from the statement said.
To battle legal fees and fines, the church reportedly retained lawyers, and an online petition was created to rally support for the large indoor services. MacArthur told patch.com the city had threatened to fine the church up to $1,000 per day for each day they hold indoor services.
This footage taken on August 9 shows a large crowd inside the megachurch. Credit: Barbara Sharp via Storyful