A Los Angeles County church is being repeatedly harassed by the county public health department. Thomas More Society attorneys are preparing to challenge the actions of two county “environmental health specialists” who surveilled Our Lady of Angels Catholic Church in Arcadia, and slapped the parish with citations on October 15, after observing women in prayer veils leaving the building. Five days later, on October 20, the same two workers returned to threaten church personnel with more citations – compelling staff to eject the two masked worshipers who prayed inside the 500-capacity sanctuary. The harassment comes on the heels of a lawsuit filed by Father Trevor Burfitt, prior at Our Lady of Angels, charging California Governor Gavin Newsom and 19 other state, county, and municipal officials for violating his religious ri
“It’s ironic,” Thomas More Society special counsel Paul Jonna observed, “There are dozens of churches in Arcadia – and hundreds in Los Angeles County – yet the parish of Father Burfitt, who is suing Los Angeles County, happens to be a church that these county workers choose to spy on and harass.”
The county “specialists,” who make annual salaries of between $47,000 and $87,000 have job descriptions detailing health inspection, investigation, and enforcement duties that revolve primarily around food sanitation and proper rubbish disposal.
“The county has apparently decided that food and garbage inspectors are qualified to police worship activities,” stated Jonna. “Heaping this harassment on Father Burfitt at the same time that he is asking the California Superior Court to uphold his religious rights and prevent the county from continuing to violate them is unacceptable. The constitutional right to petition for grievances includes the right to file a lawsuit, without retaliation or targeting.”
Fr. Burfitt’s lawsuit challenges Newsom’s “State of Emergency” and the constitutional violations incurred with the resultant lockdown. Thomas More Society attorneys filed the complaint in California Superior Court against Newsom and the others in September.
In addition to serving as prior at Our Lady of Angels, Fr. Burfitt, a Society of Pius X priest, oversees mission churches in Kern, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Los Angeles Counties, and hosts popular podcasts.
See the citation issued on October 15, 2020, Our Lady of Angels Catholic Church in Arcadia, by Los Angeles County Environmental Health Specialist I Alennie Del Rosario Romero and Los Angeles County Environmental Health Specialist II Brenna Santiago, with $1,000 in levied fines – which the church paid, and the inspection report submitted by specialist Santiago, here.
The above comes from an Oct. 22 release from the Thomas More Society.