Los Angeles County has sent notice to Grace Community Church that the county is terminating the church’s parking lot lease, the latest development in a continued legal conflict between the church and the county over the church’s refusal to comply with COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.
Grace Community Church, pastored by prominent evangelical John MacArthur, has been open for in-person services since late July in defiance of the state’s COVID-19 restrictions. MacArthur has stated publicly that state and local government officials have overstepped their authority by restricting churches, and that the severity of the pandemic doesn’t justify the restrictions.
Grace Community Church n Sun Valley now has 30 days to vacate the lot or risk having any private property left there be confiscated. The church has leased the parking lot from the county for decades.
Los Angeles County has been seeking to shut the church down with a restraining order since it reopened, but the Los Angeles County Superior Court struck down that request.
Jenna Ellis, an attorney for the Thomas More Society which is helping represent Grace Community Church, called the move “harassment.”
“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,” Ellis said in a statement emailed to TheBlaze. “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. 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.”
With the release of CDC data showing that only 6% of people who have died from COVID-19 had no co-morbidities, MacArthur said in a sermon Sunday that “there is no pandemic” and that he isn’t surprised that such high levels of deception have been used to shut down churches that preach the gospel.
“We’ve all been suspicious of the fact that we’ve been meeting together now for weeks and weeks and weeks, and we don’t know anyone who’s ill. Nobody in our congregation has ever been to the hospital with this,” MacArthur said. “We know there are reasons for this that have nothing to do with the virus. There’s another virus loose in the world and it’s the virus of deception, and the one who is behind the virus of deception is the arch-deceiver, Satan himself. And it’s not a surprise to me that, in the midst of all this deception, the great effort that is going on is to shut down churches that preach the gospel.”