This week, a California District Court approved the settlement of Harvest Rock Church and Harvest International Ministry’s lawsuit against Gov. Gavin Newsom, establishing the first state-wide permanent injunction in the country against COVID restrictions on churches and places of worship.
…Under the settlement agreement, discriminatory restrictions on worship and religious gatherings may no longer be applied to churches and places of worship.
FIRST GOVERNOR TO HAVE COURT ORDERED PERMANENT INJUNCTION The governor must also pay Liberty Counsel $1,350,000 to reimburse attorney’s fees and costs. Newsom is the first governor in the U.S. to be reprimanded so severely on this issue, being ordered to obey a permanent injunction on behalf of houses of worship. —FaithWire
This is more than just a local win for an individual congregation. This win extends to the benefit of everyone else in the state, and — with the references to relevant SCOTUS rulings — stands as an example and warning for any other Governors who might be thinking of suppressing First Amendment Rights.
The settlement references several Supreme Court opinions, including Harvest Rock Church v. Newsom, that cite a long list of similar nonreligious activities the High Court set forth as comparable gatherings. While the state allowed activity at grocery stores, warehouses, big box stores, transportation, and more, Newsom had unconstitutionally shut down religious activities like church gatherings.
According to the permanent injunction, churches and places of worship may never again have discriminatory restrictions placed on them that are not equally applied to a long list of “critical infrastructure” or “essential services” as outlined in several Supreme Court precedents cited in the settlement. —FaithWire