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Church that defied COVID restrictions wins court battle

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A California appeals court dropped nearly $200,000 in fines for a San Jose church that came under fire for violating COVID-19 restrictions on indoor gatherings during the height of the pandemic.

Mike McClure, pastor of Calvary Chapel, and constitutional attorney Mariah Gondeiro detailed the experience on “Fox & Friends” Thursday, relaying what they consider a victory for religious freedom.

“It’s a blessing for the First Amendment,” McClure told host Ainsley Earhardt.

“Pastors across the country, I think we need to realize that we have this freedom that God’s given us, and we’re needed more today than ever with hope, truth, love…”

Gondeiro said the appellate court elected to drop the charges because the U.S. Supreme Court had already established a legal precedent on the issue.

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“The Supreme Court has been very clear over the last year that these orders violated the First Amendment. This is a religious freedom case, and they violated the First Amendment because they discriminate against religion,” she said.

“The county as well as the state of California allowed a lot of essential businesses – or businesses that they deemed essential – to stay open, but not this church.”

Gondeiro went on to restate that the court acted in accordance with judicial precedent by dropping the fine.

The legal struggles for McClure are not over yet, however. The county is still attempting to slap him with a $2.8 million fine for the pandemic-era violations.

“If it’s jail time, I’m ready for whatever. Honestly, I’m not wanting to fight the county. I think that they just don’t understand the Constitution,” he said.

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“The fees are something I have honestly not thought about.”

In a press release, Gondeiro said she expects the church to have a “complete victory” in that case as well.

 

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