Grace Community Church Pastor John MacArthur fired back a response to California officials threatening him with jail time for holding in-person services in his church: “Bring it on.”
MacArthur appeared on Fox News on Tuesday night with host Laura Ingraham to discuss his ongoing battle with Los Angeles County officials. The pastor has rebelled against coronavirus-related health directives and wrangled in court with the county since July.
“We received a letter with a threat that we could be fined or I could go to jail for a maximum of six months,” MacArthur told Ingraham. “Of course, my biblical hero apart from the Lord Jesus Christ is the apostle Paul, and when he went into a town, he didn’t ask what the hotel was like, he asked what the jail was like because he knew that’s where he was gonna spend his time. So I don’t mind being a little apostolic if they want to tuck me in a jail.”
“I’m open for a jail ministry. I’ve done a lot of other ministries and haven’t had the opportunity to do that one, so bring it on,” he added.
John MacArthur not worried about threats of jail for holding church services: "I'm open for a jail ministry … bring it on" https://t.co/DYr6pzGkue pic.twitter.com/vnZm9qyoSW
— Disrn (@DisrnNews) September 16, 2020
Grace Community Church received a cease and desist letter in August for holding in-person services banned under Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s pandemic lockdown order. The letter threatened the church with $1,000 daily fines and MacArthur with imprisonment if the church did not comply.
The church has retained legal counsel from the Thomas More Society. Church attorneys argued in response to the letter that Newsom’s lockdown order violated half a dozen parts of the California State Constitution.
“We believe that the governor, the county, the city, and the health department are going against the Constitution,” MacArthur said in the Tuesday night appearance on Fox News. “And just to remove one obvious question, the rate of Covid in California is 1/100 of 1%. So 1/100 of 1% of 40 million people have Covid and that eliminates freedom to worship from the entire state.”
“That is the onerous reality. The Constitution supports us and, by the way, I am so thankful that President Trump has told me personally that he supports the church as essential and the churches need to stay open. So, with the Constitution on our side and the president’s backing, we’re open,” MacArthur added.
Last week, the Los Angeles Superior Court issued a preliminary injunction against MacArthur’s church, barring it from holding indoor services.
As The Daily Wire reported:
MacArthur and Grace Community Church’s attorneys from the Thomas More Society said Superior Court Judge Mitchell L. Beckloff “refused to consider their important separation of powers arguments ‘in any meaningful fashion’ and essentially ‘ducked the issue,’” according to statements provided to The Daily Wire.
The judge’s order prohibits the church from “conducting, participating in, or attending any indoor worship services” and also demands any outdoor worship is to be conducted in full compliance with the county’s rules regarding masks and social distancing.