A California District judge has given the win to Harvest Rock Church (HRC) and ordered the State to pay them $1.35 million in legal fees and attorney costs, the result of landing a monstrous victory over California Governor Gavin Newsom. HRC and other churches sued the governor for imposing pandemic rules limiting the size of church services and attendance, as well as the ban on singing and chanting, which they say violated their First Amendment rights.
Mat Staver, the Liberty Counsel Chairman whose firm has been representing Harvest Rock, was ebullient over the news, saying in a statement:
Newsom has now been permanently quarantined and may not violate the First Amendment rights of churches and places of worship again. We are grateful for Pastor Ché Ahn, Harvest Rock Church, and Harvest International Ministry. Pastor Ahn’s leadership and courage has toppled the tyranny and freed every pastor and church in California…
For over a year, California prosecutors were levying threats of criminal charges for each individual congregation member at HRC, amounting to thousands of individual $1000 fines and jail time for up to a year for violators.
In fact, the prosecutor’s office in Pasadena informed HRC, led by the defacto head of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), Pastor Ché Ahn, that they were revved up and ready to criminally charge every congregant member who chose to show up at the church, including the pastor, the staff, and the parishioners, if they did not immediately desist worshipping together on the Lord’s day, sending letters like these.
Though Pastor John MacArthur’s Grace Community Church has garnered most of the attention and publicity for restarting their services after a lengthy shutdown, hundreds of Churches in California have been defying Newsom for weeks and months before GCC ever did, if many even closed at all.
Harvest Rock Church opened its in-person services back in late May of 2020, joining 1200 other pastors in a day of defiance that set the date for reopening their services despite shutdown orders. They launched a lawsuit against the state in June, and have been a thorn in the side of government officiants wanting to shut them down ever since, battling it out in court over and over with the help of the Liberty Counsel.
It was Harvest Rock Church’s win that resulted in the statewide permanent injunction against COVID-19 restrictions on churches and places of worship being put in place, meaning every church in California owes them a word of thanks and gratitude. In a statement, Pastor Ché Ahn said:
This is a momentous day for churches in America. After nearly a year-long battle defending our religious freedoms, our lawsuit has reached a permanent settlement in our favor.
I am thrilled to see the complete reversal of the last discriminatory restrictions against churches in California, knowing this case will act as a precedent, not only in our state, but also in our nation. We are incredibly grateful to our attorney Mat Staver and to Liberty Counsel for their relentless support and fierce determination. Most of all, we give all the glory to God for moving mightily in this historic season.