Pastor MacArthur hired several lawyers to fight Gavin Newsom’s order to shut down his church during the COVID pandemic. MacArthur is represented by Jenna Ellis who serves as private counsel to President Donald Trump and Charles LiMandri. LiMandri is a constitutional law attorney, religious freedom expert, and Special Counsel for the Thomas Moore Society.
Ellis states on an interview with Sara Carter, “Imagine if in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the hospitals were closed and they said, ‘Well, you know what, we can’t treat people with their physical ailments.’ That’s essentially what the state of California is doing to our spiritual condition,” she told Carter. “And they’re saying we are closing houses of worship indefinitely so that they can’t provide the essential care and service to people who are out of jobs who are displaced, who are going through a lot of, you know, just regular everyday things as well, that the church provides the essential service for and so this is absolutely an infringement on our constitutionally protected right to freely associate and assemble, and also our free exercise of religion.”
Los Angeles sent a cease and desist letter threatening the pastor and the Grace Community Church of a daily fine of $1000 or arrest if it remains open. Several church leaders are fighting back, pointing out that people are congregating in many social settings, like grocery stores and walmart, and that religious needs are a constitutional right.