California Church Fined Over $200K During COVID Has Fees Dropped

A church in California that continued to hold services against county health orders has had its fine dropped after two years.

QUICK FACTS:
  • Calvary Chapel San Jose in San Jose, Calif. has had its fines dropped after holding church services in defiance of county guidelines during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • “This is a significant victory for churches and pastors across this country,” Robert Tyler, president of Advocates for Faith and Freedom said in a press release. “We are honored to represent pastors and churches who are willing to take the heat in defense of liberty because it benefits everyone.”
  • Despite health officials arguing that Calvary Chapel pastors be held in contempt of court, the church remained open on grounds that the orders violated the First Amendment.
  • “As the underlying orders which Calvary Chapel violated are void and unenforceable, we will annul the orders of contempt in their entirety and reverse the orders to pay monetary sanctions,” the court said in the ruling.
CALIFORNIA PASTOR MIKE MCCLURE ON HAVING FINES DROPPED FOR DEFYING COVID ORDERS:

“I thank God that our actions have been justified by the Court of Appeal. We are here to help the hurting, save the lost, and worship God without governmental intrusion,” said McClure.

BACKGROUND:
  • Santa Clara County became one of the strictest in the state when it came to enforcing COVID rules, handing out hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines during the pandemic to businesses who did not comply with public health guidelines.
  • The county is still attempting to enforce $2.8 million in additional fines against Calvary Chapel through the federal court system.
  • In April 2022, the state of Arizona introduced House Bill 2507 which would prohibit lawsuits against religious organizations operating during a state of emergency or engaging in the exercise of religion.