LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – A judge has denied a fourth attempt by Los Angeles County for a temporary restraining order against a Sun Valley church for holding indoor worship services under the county’s coronavirus orders.
California Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff found the latest filing against Grace Community Church and pastor John MacArthur both procedurally and substantively defective.
The court held that the county’s attempt to obtain a restraining order did not meet statutory requirements and that a previous order did not justify a new temporary restraining order, but simply stayed an Aug. 14 order and gave the county permission to enforce its own health order.
MacArthur released a statement which read in part: “We are very grateful to Judge Beckloff for his reasoned opinion and for taking great care to review this very important matter. As I said in my declaration to the court, we see this action against us as an illegitimate misuse of power. It should shock the conscience of every Christian that churches are coming under assault from our own government simply for holding church. Church is essential.”
County officials had previously signaled they would consider fines of up to $20,000 against the church for holding indoor services in violation of county COVID-19 mandates.
MacArthur previously filed complaints against Gov. Gavin Newsom, Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Mayor Eric Garcetti and county health officials, alleging they have unconstitutionally displayed favoritism in enforcing coronavirus regulations, leaving churches at a disadvantage.
The next hearing in the case is set for Sept. 4.