After nearly a two year battle a church in California will have fines dropped after they continued to hold church services against the health orders of the county during the early days of the pandemic.
Robert Tyler, the President of Advocates for Faith & Freedom, said in a press release, “This is a significant victory for churches and pastors across this country. We are honored to represent pastors and churches who are willing to take the heat in defense of liberty because it benefits everyone.”
According to Fox News, the fines were initially placed on the California church, Calvary Chapel and two pastors, after the church refused to comply with Santa Clara County health officials. The health officials obtained a temporary restraining order and injunction in November of 2020 for failure of the church to follow pandemic health orders.
The restrictions included mask mandates, in-person services, and a submission to the country of the church’s social distancing protocols. It wasn’t until the county officials went to the Santa Clara County Superior Court where they were successfully able to impose fines. Regardless of the ruling, the Calvary Chapel Church continued to defy the orders of the Superior Court, using the First Amendment as their defense.
This led to the eventual $200,000 fine for the church which were recently dropped as the Calvary Chapel’s paid it off. As soon as they paid the fines, the California Court of Appeal reversed the injunction, contempt orders, and fines Monday.
The court said in the ruling: “For the reasons stated below, we conclude that the temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions are facially unconstitutional pursuant to the recent guidance of the Unite States Supreme Court regarding the First Amendment’s protection of the free exercise of religion in the context of public health orders that impact religious practice.”
“As the underlying orders which Calvary Chapel violated are void and unenforceable, we will annul the orders of contempt in their entirety and reverse the orders to pay monetary sanctions,” the statement continued.
ARTICLE: NICHOLAS LEONARDO SALGADO
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: LA TIMES
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