Several churches in California filed a complaint in federal court against Governor Gavin Newsom for his executive order that hinders Christians from holding Bible studies and meetings in small groups at houses of worship.
Harvest Rock Church and the Harvest International Ministries filed a lawsuit against Gov. Gavin last Saturday. The Harvest Rock is a Pasadena-based church which has campuses throughout the state. While the Harvest International Ministries is a non-profit organization “with 162 member churches statewide and over 65,000 affiliates worldwide.”
Author and International Chancellor of Wagner University, Ché Ahn, lead both organizations. He has appeared on networks like GodTV and Trinity Broadcasting Network.
Earlier this month, the California Governor released an order to ban indoor worship services. This was done due to the present pandemic situation. As a result, even small gatherings like home Bible studies in 30 counties of the state are halted.
Lawsuit Against Gov. Gavin Newsom
The legal complaint stated:
“As part of the exercise of its sincerely held religious beliefs, Harvest Rock’s Church campuses also have numerous Life Groups, which meet in the homes of members of the Church to worship together, engage in Bible study, fellowship with one another, and minister to the needs of each other.”
“Harvest Rock has and exercises a sincere religious belief that Life Groups are an essential way for the church to fulfill its mission and to foster a healthy, vibrant, and growing Church community such that its members can gather together to grow in the Lord, mature in their faith, and understand the Scriptures better.”
The legal filing also requests to “end the governor’s prohibition on indoor worship services entirely.” Because according to Harvest International’s statement, “churches can’t fulfill this ministry without “gathering together in person. [It] cannot effectively engage in its constitutionally protected free exercise of religion on the internet.”
Prohibition Of In-Person Services
In an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the California government amended the restriction orders in the past few months. But today, it has tightened over 30 counties of the state. In the updated order earlier this month, “worship facilities in 30 counties on the monitoring list are prohibited from holding in-person services.”
“Gov. Newsom encourages thousands of protesters to gather in the streets but bans in-person worship and home Bible studies and fellowship. This discriminatory treatment is unconstitutional,” Mat Staver, the Liberty Counsel founder said in a statement.
“Governor Gavin Newsom cannot disregard the First Amendment and ban all in-person worship in private homes and churches. Nor can the state micromanage the form of worship by banning singing or chanting.”
Violation Of The U.S. Constitution
The churches reprimand that the state’s executive order violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It breaches the law to protect “the exercise of religious beliefs.” Moreover, it also violates the 14th Amendment of “denying citizens equal protection of the law.”
The new lawsuit is just one of the several lawsuits filed against Gov. Gavin’s executive order “to stop singing and chanting at houses of worship.”
Churches Filing Complaints Against Gov. Gavin Newsom
In the past week, three other churches filed a complaint as well. American Center for Law and Justice, Tyler & Bursch, The National Center for Law and Policy, and Advocates for Faith & Freedom represented the churches.
Those plaintiffs are Calvary Chapel in Ukiah, Calvary Chapel Fort Bragg, and the River of Life Church in Oroville, according to CP.
Also, worship leader Sean Feucht founded the “Let Us Worship movement” in response to ordinances that silence the church. The peaceful protests ended up becoming a revival movement across America.
Reference: The Christian Post