A Los Angeles megachurch that has remained open despite state guidelines ordering indoor worship services closed is suing the state over what they believe are unfair Covid-19 restrictions.
The suit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court Wednesday on behalf of Pastor John MacArthur and Grace Community Church named California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Attorney General Xavier Becerra, and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, among others.
The suit accuses the state government officials of selectively restricting gatherings and interfering with their religious freedom.
Some context: Last month, Newsom ordered churches, gyms, shopping malls and other businesses to close indoor operations in counties on the state’s watch list as coronavirus infections surged in a state that has seen more than 10,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
The 38 counties on the state's watch list make up more than 90% of the state’s population.
The governor’s order came after outbreaks of the coronavirus were traced to multiple houses of worship that had previously remained open. Under the governor’s order, however, churches are allowed to continue holding services outdoors and many have since moved ceremonies online.
Becerra’s office referred CNN to the governor’s office for comment. Spokespersons for Newsom did not immediately respond.
MacArthur told CNN on Tuesday, roughly 6,000 people had attended services at Grace Community Church in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley over the past couple of weeks and alleged that church-goers don’t “buy the deadly narrative” surrounding Covid-19.
The church could face a fine of $1,000 per day for violating health orders.