The case against California Governor Gavin Newsom brought by a church in the Golden State over stringent restrictions on in-person worship has hit another milestone on its way to favorable intercession by the United States Supreme Court.
In a Tuesday press release, Liberty Counsel states that it has filed the final reply brief to the high court regarding Harvest Rock Church and Harvest International Ministry’s “emergency petition for an injunction pending appeal in their federal lawsuit against California Governor Gavin Newsom’s unconstitutional worship ban and discriminatory treatment.”
Justice Elana Kagan issued the order to Gov. Newsom to respond to the case the day before, LC reports.
As we reported last week, the Justices of the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of churches and synagogues in New York against Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s restrictions. The restrictions on houses of worship in the Golden State, however, “are much worse than those in New York,” notes Liberty Counsel.
The religious liberty legal aid group contends that Harvest Rock Church and Harvest International Ministries suffer “irreparable harm” every day as they “remain subject to the unconstitutional restrictions, coupled with daily criminal threats, fines, and closure.”
Liberty Counsel continues:
The Code Enforcement Division for the City of Pasadena and the Criminal Prosecutor have threatened criminal charges, fines, and closure for being open for worship against the governor’s orders and local health orders. The letters threaten up to one year in prison, daily criminal charges and $1,000 fines against the pastors, staff, and parishioners.
The discrimination has become more obvious and severe in Gov. Newsom’s new “Blueprint” issued on August 28, 2020, which established a system of four Tiers. The “Blueprint” discriminates against religious meetings in churches and places of worship in every Tier. The chart attached to the petition makes this discrimination very clear. For example, the consequence of the sea of purple in the “color-coded executive edict” is that indoor worship services are completely prohibited for 99.1 percent of Californians, including most of Harvest Rock and HIM churches. However, warehouses, big box centers, shopping malls, liquors stores, family entertainment and destination centers, gyms, fitness centers, museums receive preferential treatment with either no capacity limits or no numerical limits.
“Governor Gavin Newsom’s ‘color-coded executive edicts’ violate the freedom to worship which is protected in the First Amendment,” declared Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver in the press release. “No pastor, church, or parishioner in America should have to choose between worship and prison. This discrimination must stop.”
Saints, keep up your prayers that God’s will prevails in His Church!
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