California Ordered to Pay $2 Million in Legal Fees to Church that Violated Coronavirus Restrictions

Inside of a church with stained glass and low lighting

After a lengthy court battle, the government of the state of California backed down in its efforts to enforce coronavirus restrictions on a church that continued hosting in-person worship services, and has now agreed in a settlement to pay the church’s $2 million worth of legal fees, Breitbart reports.

When the state repeatedly attempted to enforce strict capacity limits, mask mandates, and other “social distancing” requirements on the San Diego-based Pentecostal church, the church’s lawyers filed suit with the United States Supreme Court, winning all three suits. This ultimately led to lawyers on behalf of the state of California agreeing to the settlement, which was approved by a federal judge.

Responding to the settlement, an attorney with the Thomas More Society, a legal group that represents churches facing suppression of their First Amendment rights, pointed out that while businesses such as Costco were limited to 50 percent capacity, while churches were forced to stay as low as 25 percent, and sometimes even lower.

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Commentary: COVID-19 Has Plagued Religious Freedom

As the coronavirus crisis unfolds and the 2016 election and post-electoral scandals ooze into the open, God is affronted and false gods disintegrate. The discussion over the opening of churches is generally presented as a public health issue, coupled with a First Amendment freedom of religion argument. But, in many cases, it is an outright assault on the practice of religion generally.

Compared to other advanced Western democracies, the United States is a country that practices religion. But the media, academia, and conventional wisdom embedded in the contemporary ethos of America’s governing elites is, estimating very roughly, one-quarter religious communicants or sympathizers, one-quarter agnostic, one-quarter atheist, and one-quarter anti-theist. All of these groups, of course, are entitled to have and to express their opinions—but they are not entitled to impose their opinions on others. 

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