A major church in Los Angeles that has been defying coronavirus lockdown measures had a significant portion of its property seized by county officials, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
Grace Community Church, led by Pastor John MacArthur, was informed by county officials that the nearly 50-year-old lease on its parking lot would be cancelled, and that the county would seize any property left behind in the lot.
The threat was made clear in a letter to Grace by the county, which read in part: “If Grace fails to vacate the premises as required, the District may enter the premises and remove Grace’s personal property in accordance with the Agreement and applicable law, and Grace will be responsible for any resultant expenses incurred by the District.”
Grace Church and Pastor MacArthur had become some of the leading figures in the fight of California churches to hold in-person worship services, after Governor Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) banned such services, even going so far as to ban singing in public, claiming without evidence that singing is one method of spreading the coronavirus.
The church filed a lawsuit against Los Angeles County in July, claiming that the restrictions on in-person worship constituted a violation of the First Amendment right to freedom of religion. The lawsuit was filed after Los Angeles officials noticeably turned a blind eye to months of Antifa and Black Lives Matter protests and riots, often featuring thousands of people, in clear violation of the same rules that Grace was expected to follow.
Jenna Ellis, an attorney for President Donald Trump and a special counsel to the Thomas More Society, which is representing the church and Pastor MacArthur, released a statement denouncing the move by the local government, noting that the “County is clearly trying to evict Grace Church from use of their parking lot for no other reason than because Pastor John stood firm and is challenging their power,” describing this as “the essence of tyranny.”