Thomas More Society attorney Jenna Ellis appeared on the Wednesday afternoon edition of CBN's Newswatch to talk about the church's legal battle over the state of California's order to cease in-person worship services indefinitely. Newswatch is seen weekdays on the CBN News Channel.
John MacArthur, the Los Angeles pastor who reopened his church in defiance of lockdown orders from California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), is defending his much-talked-about decision.
On Sunday, the Grace Community Church leader told his congregation, “The world does not understand the importance of the church,” explaining why he is bucking Newsom’s renewed closures, which came in mid-July across dozens of counties in California.
The restrictions on religious gatherings also include a ban on singing, because doing so would “negate the risk-reduction achieved through six feet of physical distancing.”
Attorney Jenna Ellis, one of the lawyers representing the church, said on Wednesday's CBN Newswatch PM, "For the state of California and for any of their officials to tell a church that you cannot perform what is integral to exercising your faith in terms of gathering together, singing and holding your services indefinitely is not only unreasonable and inappropriate. But it is not a compelling interest and it’s certainly unconstitutional. There is no law in California that would allow this."
The attorney continued, “So the church here is simply standing firm, saying we will be open, we are free to exercise our sincerely held religious beliefs that are fundamental rights, that are protected and preserved by the Constitution -- and, by the way, the state of California is obligated to protect and preserve for the church. And instead of that, they’re targeting and persecuting and harassing and discriminating against the church.”