Liberty Counsel filed a lawsuit in federal court in support of Harvest Rock Church and Harvest International Ministry, which have been prevented from operating due to California Gov. Gavin Newsom‘s July 13 executive order.
The lawsuit, which requests a preliminary injunction, alleges that his executive order has arbitrarily violated the Constitutional rights of Christians, Liberty Counsel reported.
A federal District Court said the case requires an expedited hearing, so Newsom must respond to the lawsuit by Aug. 3, Liberty Counsel reported.
The order outlaws all indoor religious gatherings in counties on the “County Monitoring List” and heavily restricts the size of indoor religious gatherings in other counties.
Small-group, at-home Bible studies are now illegal, as well.
In counties where Newsom says he will not punish Christians for gathering, he will persecute them for praising God with songs, hymns or chants.
“We have seen millions of people lift up their voices in anger, rightfully outraged . . . Every person who has raised their voice should be heard,” Newsom said on May 31 about anti-police protests.
“I want to thank all those . . . who exercised their right to protest peacefully,” he added.
The order states that political protests can be held as long as families stay physically isolated at least 6 feet away from other families.
But in Los Angeles on July 7, the 100,000 people who gathered were not all peaceful.
The rioters and looters did not keep 6 feet apart from each other as they terrorized the city.
Mat Staver, the founder and chairman at Liberty Counsel, noted the hypocritical double-standard in a recent statement.
“There is not two First Amendments—one for protests and one for houses of worship,” Staver said. “This discriminatory treatment is unconstitutional.”
Three churches in Northern California filed a similar lawsuit last week against Newsom.
They challenged the July 6 executive decree’s provision that “[p]laces of worship must therefore discontinue singing and chanting activities.”
Both lawsuits argue that there is no scientific evidence to support the conclusion that a ban on singing or in-person gatherings will protect congregants from the virus.
“The governor is not the High Priest over all religions,” Staver said.