News and Commentary

CA Judge Orders San Diego Strip Clubs To Reopen As Churches Fight For Same Right
Strip Club Gavin Newsom
Left: Nina Marsiglio / EyeEm Right: Justin Sullivan via Getty Images

A judge ordered strip clubs reopened in San Diego earlier this month, leading a lawyer from a law firm representing multiple churches in California to protest what he described as “a constitutional travesty.”

San Diego Superior Court judge Joel R. Wohlfeil issued a temporary restraining order against Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom and San Diego County that orders them to cease any action that prevents such establishments from “being allowed to provide live adult entertainment,” according to The Washington Free Beacon.

The court found that the entertainment at the two strip clubs involved in the case is “constitutionally protected speech” and concluded that “the harm to [the strip clubs] if the Application is denied is greater than the harm to [the government] if the Application is granted.”

Paul Jonna, an attorney with the Thomas More Society, which is representing several churches in California that are fighting to maintain their right to peaceably assemble, told the Free Beacon: “If you’re going to accept that argument that dancing nude is protected speech that’s so significant that it overcomes the government’s interest in regulating its citizens with COVID-19 orders, then obviously the divine worship of God, which is expressly mentioned in the First Amendment, should be held to a higher standard.”

In a statement provided to The Daily Wire, Jonna went on:

This is a constitutional travesty that must be immediately rectified. As one California judge aptly noted – you can’t treat a church like a hair salon because churches are entitled to greater protection under the Constitution. And you certainly can’t treat a church like a strip club. In California, churches are being treated worse than strip clubs. The constitutional right to worship God is infinitely more important than any right to entertainment.

“We will not rest until we fully vindicate the fundamental constitutional right to worship God without government interference,” Jonna added.

Pastor John MacArthur, who pastors Grace Community Church in Los Angeles, 120 miles north of San Diego, has been battling state and local authorities in court after he reopened his church in July. In response, the county has seemingly targeted him for retribution.

In October, MacArthur cut a video that laid out the double standards for churches compared to abortion clinics, strip clubs, and marijuana dispensaries.

As The Daily Wire reported:

“Today’s current crop of politicians are trampling on the Constitution and on the resolve of citizens to demand their rights under the pressure of a manufactured fear,” MacArthur asserted. “The reality is that the COVID data just doesn’t match the government’s COVID narrative.” Even if an individual catches COVID-19, MacArthur claimed, “You have a 99.99% chance to survive COVID. It’s just not what they’re saying it is.”

“That absolutely does not warrant shutting down anything,” MacArthur continued. “But especially, absurdly and arbitrarily, churches that have a special protection from the Constitution. Oh, and at the same time, leaving open abortion clinics, strip clubs, and marijuana dispensaries.”

“And by the way, the Health Department is on record as saying they are going to allow riots and protests without regard for the mandated health and safety ordinances. This is obviously targeted discrimination. Leftists and secular government officials have no tolerance for biblical Christianity, so they’re using COVID as an excuse to shut us down.”

Related: ‘Clear Case Of Retaliation’: L.A. County Sends Health Department Workers To Fine Church That Sued Newsom

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