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A California pastor is not worried about threats from the government over holding indoor services and declared he is ready and “open for a jail ministry”
Pastor John MacArthur of California’s Grace Community Church is continuing his fight to hold indoor worship services and fired back at threats that he could face up to six months in jail after a preliminary injunction issued last week by the Los Angeles Superior Court.
MacArthur spoke on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle” about the latest communication he has received as he has pushed back on the state’s attempts to close services being held at the Sun Valley property due to COVID-19.
“I have to say, I’m a Roman Catholic but very disappointed with a lot of ways that the Catholic Church has rolled over for these prohibitions,” Fox News host Laura Ingraham said on Tuesday’s program.
“You turned around and you said, ‘put us in jail. We’re going to go preach the gospel. People are coming. We’re going to try to be responsible. Put us in jail,'” she said, asking if Gov. Gavin Newsom threatened “to do anything to you personally for defying his order.”
The 81-year-old minister noted that he did not get any personal threats from the Democrat governor, he did get a letter, likely referring to the cease and desist letter sent to the church in August warning of $1,000 daily fines or imprisonment for MacArthur for not complying.
The order banned the church from “conducting, participating in, or attending any indoor worship services” and mandated that any outdoor services have to comply with the county’s rules on face masks and social distancing.
“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 going to spend his time,” he said.
“So I don’t mind being a little apostolic if they want to tuck me in a jail,” he added. “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.”
Back in July, after months of being shut down amid the state’s oppressive coronavirus mandates, MacArthur declared that “we cannot and will not acquiesce to a government-imposed moratorium on our weekly congregational worship or other regular corporate gatherings. Compliance would be disobedience to our Lord’s clear commands.”
The pastor slapped the state with a lawsuit for allegedly violating six different sections of its constitution with the threat and capped it off with a stinging declaration that the church was holding a “peaceful protest,” in an obvious jab at California’s double standard.
John MacArthur: “Welcome to our ‘peaceful protest’”: pic.twitter.com/knjNkwZ5x6
— Phil Johnson (@Phil_Johnson_) August 9, 2020
“We believe that the governor, the county, the city, and the health department are going against the Constitution,” MacArthur told Ingraham on Tuesday. “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.”
He also expressed his gratitude for support from President Donald Trump.
“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,” he said.
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