Protesters and members of parliament clashed Sunday after a church in California held closed services in violation of a judge’s temporary restraining order, according to a report.
Rob McCoy, pastor of the Ventura County Gold Cup chapel, held a Sunday service on Sunday, following a judge’s order upholding state and local health mandates aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19.
McCoy’s decision joins other pastors in the state to challenge coronavirus mandates that they say are unfairly targeted at places of worship. His decision to run the service attracted supporters and violators.
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“There is enough space for beautiful outdoor services and he chooses to break the rules. And I don̵
Others said attending church was their right to freedom of expression and worship, and nothing replaced the feeling of going to a personal service, according to the station.
“We see a loss of all rights, but of the law of the church. This is the foundation of this country and we are very serious about it. So yes, we will go to jail for that,” Ginny Murray said.
“Being in communion with your church actually means being able to come together and feel that power, and I believe there is a program in which people are trying to separate us,” Sandra Ephraimson added.
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Live streams of morning services showed a masked McCoy standing in front of what he called a “room full of people” – with most masked videos.
“I see a room full of people who realize that freedom is not an idea of man, but an idea of God,” McCoy said during the service. “And you will be mocked and malicious, but you do it for those who mock and abuse you.”
McCoy told FOX 11 the reason he did not provide services outside was that one employee had sun allergies and there was not a large enough park nearby to accommodate all their members.
The pastor vowed to continue serving on Friday, despite Ventura County Supreme Court Judge Matthew Guasco issuing a temporary restraining order, citing “an imminent threat to public health and safety due to the new coronavirus in 2019.”
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“On a scale of one to 10 of the most immediate possible irreparable damage, that’s 10,” Guasco said during a hearing. “It doesn’t get much more immediate or irreparable than the threat that many people will spread a contagious and deadly disease.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report