A California judge has ordered San Jose’s Calvary Chapel church to pay $1.2 million in fines for defying COVID-19 pandemic restrictions by meeting for worship and not requiring masks.
In a ruling handed down last week, Superior Court Judge Evette Pennypacker said the church should pay fines for flagrantly violating Santa Clara County’s mask mandate between November 2020 and June 2021. The court found that the county’s face covering requirement was “neutral and generally applicable” to all similarly situated entities in the county, rejecting the church’s argument that the health orders violated their religious freedoms.
“It should appear clear to all – regardless of religious affiliation – that wearing a mask while worshiping one’s god and communing with other congregants is a simple, unobtrusive, giving way to protect others while still exercising your right to religious freedom,” Pennypacker wrote in a 32-page order.
“Unfortunately, Defendants repeatedly refused to model, much less, enforce this gesture. Instead, they repeatedly flouted their refusal to comply with the Public Health Orders and urged others to do so ‘who cares what the cost,’ including death,” the judge said.
Calvary was one of several large California evangelical churches that flouted state and local mask-wearing and social distancing rules designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 during its deadliest period.
The church has been entangled in a years-long legal fight with the county. Mariah Gondeiro, an attorney with Advocates for Faith & Freedom, which is representing Calvary Chapel, has argued the masking orders were unconstitutional because they were not applied equally.
“They exempted essential government entities, as well as personal care [businesses] like hair and nail salons, and entertainment studios. There was no singing ban on entertainment studios, so they could continue their productions,” she told The Free Press last month.
The church and its pastors were previously held in contempt of court and fined for violating limits on indoor public gatherings. But a state appellate court reversed those decisions last year, saying that the restrictions on indoor worship services were stricter than for secular activities such as going to grocery stores….
Full story at Fox News.
Democrat leftists still waging war on religion and science. Mask mandates failed in two ways: they were a violation of freedom of religion and had no basis in science for preventing the transmission of COVID. Some studies now suggest wearing masks is associated with contracting long-COVID. Serves those stupid face diaper wearers right.
Democrat leftists ruin everything they touch because their policies and ideologies are based on falsehoods. They are principally responsible for the decline of America since the 1990s. America was at its greatest in the late 1980s. Bill Clinton and other Boomer Democrat leftists initiated the decline. Nearly all elected politicians of the Democrat Party in the 1970s and 1980s would not recognize today’s Democrat Party because it has lurched so far leftward.
Open borders, destroying the family, the surveillance state, gays, trannies, soft on crime, an aversion to prison sentences for violent offenders, racial antagonism, using environmentalism to restrict and control consumer freedom and opportunity, reducing the military to a diversity organization, feeding mush into students’ intellects from K through graduate school… the left has succeeded in controlling all major social institutions except religion, and they desperately want to control or quash religion in order to advance their goal of destroying America and replacing it with a totalitarian state.
“Open borders, destroying the family, the surveillance state, gays, trannies, soft on crime, an aversion to prison sentences for violent offenders, racial antagonism, using environmentalism to restrict and control consumer freedom and opportunity, reducing the military to a diversity organization, feeding mush into students’ intellects from K through graduate school… the left has succeeded in controlling all major social institutions except religion, and they desperately want to control or quash religion in order to advance their goal of destroying America and replacing it with a totalitarian state.”
Well said. The left hates America and would see it plundered.
Gavin Newsom didn’t believe in wearing masks. He was photographed at a posh winery with his friends without masks and not social distancing. Was there a fine? A consequence?
Liberal rules and laws are for the little people, not for the elites. They don’t believe nor follow the silly laws and regulations they try to impose.
The judge will be overturned! He,s just wrong and our Governor set the example???? Mask are a joke, even the top Dr. agrees.
I wish the Catholics in California had the guts to speak out during the pandemic. McElroy and his ilk here in San Diego were radio silent as our rights were being taken away. At least these Protestants showed their courage.