CA Church Seeks Full Court Review Amidst Criminal Threats...

Oct 19, 2020

Liberty Counsel just requested the full panel of judges on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to hear our case involving Harvest Rock Church and Harvest International Ministry, which includes 162 California churches. Meanwhile, the most recent order from CA Gov. Gavin Newsom is even more discriminatory against churches and places of worship. -Mat

CA Gov. Gavin Newsom has been abusing churches and Christians for over seven months. Instead of easing restrictions, his discrimination against churches has become more severe. Gov. Newsom still bans ALL WORSHIP in most of the state, including where Harvest Rock Church is located.

A couple of weeks ago, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in a 2-1 decision declined our request for an emergency injunction pending appeal. The Court will again hear our case in the next few months, but time is of the essence to stop the criminal threats against pastors and parishioners.

Late last week, Liberty Counsel asked the Court of Appeals to rehear this important case with a full panel of all the circuit’s judges. This case is critically important, and there are clear splits in opinions depending on which three judges you draw. In addition to our 2-1 decision, an earlier church case with a different panel of three judges also split 2-1. The dissents in both cases were powerfully written and correct.

On August 28, Gov. Newsom released yet another directive, called the “Blueprint.” The Blueprint creates four “Tiers” which dictate the terms of what Californians must obey – even in their own homes. And churches are discriminated against in every Tier of Newsom’s Blueprint.

Tier 1 - which includes Harvest Rock Church in Pasadena – NO worship is allowed, not even in your own home with someone who does not live there.  Sure, you can read the Bible in your living room, but if your mother, friend, neighbor or pastor pops in to study the Bible with you, you are in violation of the governor’s orders. This “crime” is punishable by up to one year in prison.

While the governor deems it illegal for you to set foot inside a church within the Tier 1 area, he is more than happy to let citizens congregate for hours in many nonreligious gatherings. You can even hold nonreligious meetings in the same church building with NO restrictions on the number of people present. But as soon as the gathering transitions to a religious gathering, the TOTAL BAN kicks in.

Select here or the button below to Fund the Fight for Religious Freedom.

Tier 2 - Churches may allow people inside with 25% capacity, but no more than 100 people – no matter the size of the sanctuary.  Yet, there is no maximum limit of people for laundromats, warehouses, grocery stores, big-box centers, malls, destination centers, swap meets, museums, gyms and fitness centers.

Tier 3 - Continues the same blatant discrimination. Churches are limited to no more than 200 people, no matter the size of the buildings. Added to the list above that have no numerical limit, Tier 3 throws in family entertainment centers, cardrooms, and wagering sites, among others.

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s discrimination against California’s Christians is obvious and blatant. The virus does not discriminate between nonreligious and religious gatherings – but Gov. Newsom does!

As I write this email, Pastor Ché Ahn, Harvest Rock Church, the staff, and parishioners face daily criminal threats and fines. Each criminal charge is punishable by up to one year in prison. I never thought I would see a letter from a City Prosecutor threating criminal charges for attending church. This impending threat of criminal prosecution is why we have asked the full Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to hear this case NOW.

We now have six cases in federal and state courts fighting for the religious freedom of EVERY American. And we have worked with over 2,000 pastors in 44 states since March.

Further, our case representing the immigrant Romanian churches against Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker was filed with the Supreme Court late last week. This is the first church case ready for a full review by the High Court. The lengthy legal argument is a blockbuster.

We need your help like never before. In fact, because these cases affect the future and rights of every citizen, AMERICA needs your help like never before. Thankfully, a generous challenge grant has been established which will DOUBLE THE IMPACT of your donation today.

With six federal and state cases on the line, and one at the Supreme Court, in addition to all our other pending religious freedom cases, this challenge grant could not come at a better time. Please, make your best possible gift today. Because tomorrow the church we are defending might be yours.

Select here or the button below to Fund the Fight for Religious Freedom.

Finally, please be in prayer for our attorneys who are working around the clock, seven days a week on these cases. Please also, and especially, pray for the brave pastors we represent. At any time, any one of them can be thrown in jail for the simple act of holding a church service.

Mat Staver
Founder and Chairman

P.S. As I mentioned above, a generous supporter has established a CHALLENGE GRANT which will effectively DOUBLE the impact of your donation today. Please don't let this opportunity to DOUBLE your effective support pass you by. America's pastors and churches are relying on YOU, a faithful Liberty Counsel supporter, to help ensure religious freedom remains FREE!

P.P.S. Considering the sheer number of abuses of Christians' religious rights taking place right now in America, we MUST ensure Judge Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed and seated on the U.S. Supreme Court. PLEASE – FAX THE SENATE NOW – DEMAND JUDGE BARRETT BE CONFIRMED AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!