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MacArthur Prevails – Judge Denies LA County’s Fourth Attempt to Shut Down Grace Community Church

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(August 25, 2020 – Sun Valley, California — Tom Ciesielka) Today, August 25, 2020, in California Superior Court, Judge Mitchell Beckloff issued a 5-page opinion County of Los Angeles et al. v. Grace Community Church et al., denying the County of Los Angeles’s renewed application for a temporary restraining order against the church and Pastor John MacArthur. Thomas More Society attorneys are defending the renowned pastor and his congregation against an aggressive assault by the county over the right to hold indoor worship services.

In a very well-reasoned analysis of the prior proceedings, the court held that the county’s attempt to obtain a restraining order did not meet statutory requirements and that the Court of Appeal’s order did not justify a new temporary restraining order; rather, it simply stayed Judge Chalfant’s August 14 order and gave the county permission to enforce its own health order.

Thomas More Society Special Counsel Paul Jonna explained, “The court correctly concluded that Los Angeles County’s renewed application for a temporary restraining order was both procedurally and substantively defective. This was their fourth unsuccessful attempt to obtain a court order prohibiting indoor worship services at Grace Community Church. We look forward to fully vindicating our clients’ constitutionally protected rights in subsequent proceedings for this important case.”

Pastor John MacArthur said of the decision, “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.”

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Thomas More Society Special Counsel Jenna Ellis added, “This should signal to LA County that California courts will not quickly or easily trample the constitutionally protected rights of churches. We maintain that their health order is unconstitutionally burdening the right of churches to worship, and there exists no rational basis, much less a compelling interest, to try to shut down indoor services at this point, particularly when the county is allowing strip clubs to operate and massive riots to take place – and not seeking restraining orders against them. We look forward to making those arguments at a subsequent proceeding, where we will ask the court to properly check this power grab by Los Angeles County and the State of California’s executive branch.”

The next hearing in the case is scheduled to take place on September 4, 2020 in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Read the order issued August 25, 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

About the Thomas More Society

The Thomas More Society is a national not-for-profit law firm dedicated to restoring respect in law for life, family, and religious liberty. Headquartered in Chicago, Omaha, and Fairfield, NJ, the Thomas More Society fosters support for these causes by providing high quality pro bono legal services from local trial courts all the way up to the United States Supreme Court. For more information, visit thomasmoresociety.org

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