Los Angeles County is evicting Pastor John MacArthur’s Grace Community Church (GCC) from a parking lot it’s leased since 1975—the latest in an ongoing battle between Grace and government authorities concerning GCC’s decision to defy coronavirus restrictions.
Meanwhile, MacArthur told his congregation on Sunday, “There is no pandemic,” but instead called news of the pandemic a “deception” by “the arch-deceiver Satan himself.”
MacArthur also revealed in a recent conversation with the Falkirk Center that President Trump had called him and thanked him for taking a stand against local officials.
MacArthur added that he told Trump that “any real, true believer” of Christianity will vote for Trump over Biden due to Democrat policies “that Christians cannot, in any way, affirm.”
MacArthur and GCC started holding indoor worship services in its 3,500 seat auditorium on July 26, defying California regulations banning large indoor gatherings.
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Since then, LA has sent GCC a cease and desist letter and petitioned courts to levy fines against the church. GCC has responded by suing state officials for allegedly violating the California Constitution.
Most recently, the county asked a judge to hold GCC and MacArthur in contempt, but that request was rejected by a Superior Court judge.
Ejected from a parking lot
On August 28, LA County sent a letter to GCC, telling the megachurch that if it fails to comply with the county’s ban on indoor services, the church will be evicted from a large portion of one of its several parking lots.
Jenna Ellis, an attorney with the Thomas More Society who’s representing Grace, responded to the request by stating: “Los Angeles County is retaliating against Grace Community Church for simply exercising their constitutionally protected right to hold church and challenging an unreasonable, unlawful health order.”
Ellis added, “The Democrats’ message to Americans is clear—if you don’t bow to every whim of tyranny, the government will come after you. . . . This is harassment, abusive, and unconscionable.”
“There is no pandemic.”
As reported first by blogger Warren Throckmorton, MacArthur was defiant on Sunday and told his congregation that the pandemic was a deception by Satan.
MacArthur stated that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) had reported last week “for the first time” that only “6 percent of the deaths that have occurred can be directly attributable to COVID; 94-percent cannot. Of the 160,000 people that have died, 9,210 actually died from COVID.”
He then declared, “There is no pandemic . . . We’ve all been suspicious of the fact that we’ve been meeting now for weeks and weeks and weeks. We don’t know anyone who’s ill. Nobody in our congregation’s ever been to the hospital with this.”
MacArthur attributed the current alleged health crisis to “the virus of deception” which is perpetrated by “the arch-deceiver, Satan himself.” He added that “it does not surprise me that (government officials) want to shut down those who preach the gospel because the architects of this level of deception are not a part of the kingdom of heaven. They’re a part of the kingdom of darkness.”
MacArthur’s claim about the CDC’s report is not completely accurate.
According to the CDC, an estimated 161,392 Americans have died from COVID-19. For 6% of these deaths, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned.
However, the CDC has been reporting this data since June. And, just because a person has another condition that contributed to his or her death, doesn’t mean the person didn’t die from COVID-19.
Pam Aaltonen, professor emerita at Purdue University School of Nursing, told Religion News Service: “In this country when we look at the cause of death on the death certificate, it’ll have a primary cause of death and a second or tertiary cause. Their co-morbidities contribute to their outcome, but it’s not their cause of death. COVID is the cause of death.”
I have not been able to confirm or deny MacArthur’s claim that no one at GCC has contracted COVID or gone to the hospital sick with the disease.
But in late March, a pastor from Washington who had attended GCC’s Shepherd’s Conference on March 4-6 died from COVID.
Shortly afterwards, another man who had attended the Shepherd’s Conference—79-year-old Oregon resident, Ray Kulper—died. According to Kulper’s daughter, Katarina Dooman, her father died from COVID, which he had “contracted while attending the shepherding conference.”
I reached out to GCC on April 4, asking the church if it was going to report the death, but the church did not respond. To my knowledge, GCC has never reported this information.
“Any real, true believer is going to be on your side . . .”
On Friday, MacArthur told Ryan Helfenbein of Liberty University’s Falkirk Center that President Trump had called and thanked MacArthur for “taking a stand” against local authorities.
MacArthur said Trump affirmed that church is essential. And MacArthur said he told the president why he believed Christians cannot vote for Joe Biden or any other Democratic candidate.
“We talked a little bit about why from certainly a biblical standpoint, Christians could not vote Democratic,” MacArthur said, “because there’s no way that a Christian can affirm the slaughter of babies, homosexual activity, homosexual marriage, or any kind of gross in immorality . . . So I said, any real true believer is going to be on your side in this election, because it’s not just an individual. It’s an entire set of policies that Christians cannot in any way, affirm.”
MacArthur also said that Joe Biden said he “going to make sure he fills his cabinet with Muslims.” MacArthur called Biden’s statement “as anti-Christian a statement as you could possibly make” and “blasphemy of the true and living God.”