LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles County has filed a lawsuit against a Sun Valley neighborhood church that refuses to stop offering indoor worship services, defying state and local orders amid the pandemic. The church previously said they are continuing to worship indoors because there is a higher power than the California governor.
"Christ, not Cesar is Head of the Church” Grace Community Church Pastor John MacArthur said late last month, referring to Governor Newsom’s order banning religious services in churches or singing.
LA County officials said they are filing the lawsuit in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and to keep all county residents safe, including members of Grace Community Church.
The Sun Valley church is not the only one defying coronavirus orders in Southern California.
According to a press release, the county’s lawsuit was a last resort. Officials had been trying to get the church to operate under state and local guidelines for several weeks, but to no avail.
The LA County Department of Public Health released a statement that reads in part:
"We are working hard each week to respond to the many complaints related to non-compliance. The County always wants to amicably resolve these issues with all members of the community, including churches. We use education as the primary step in gaining compliance; however, when compliance is not achieved, we must use the other tools at our disposal.
For the health and safety of both worshippers and the wider community, indoor worship services have been prohibited within the County since mid-July. This was a result of a California Department of Public Health mandate and many faith organizations have demonstrated great leadership and compassion by following the health officer orders and keeping their congregations and the broader community safe."