Liberty Counsel plans to use a settlement in California this week to end coronavirus restrictions for churches around the country.
“Maine right now is the most restrictive in the country,” said Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel on the “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins” program. “We represent Pastor Ken Graves of Calvary Chapel of Bangor, and our goal is to make sure Caesar never can go and touch these churches anymore.”
On Monday, a federal judge in the central district of California entered an order approving Liberty Counsel’s settlement of a lawsuit on behalf of Harvest Rock Church and Harvest International Ministry against Governor Gavin Newsom (D-California). The legal group says it is the first statewide permanent injunction in the country against COVID restrictions on churches and places of worship – and the first such injunction against the governor of a state.
“The district court retains jurisdiction into the foreseeable future, whether it’s next year or ten years down the road. If there is any violation of this order, California will be hauled back into court for contempt of court and face significant sanctions,” Staver explained.
The California governor had imposed the most severe restrictions on churches and even home Bible studies and worship in the nation, according to Liberty Counsel.
“So, this is a great victory and it covers every church and place of worship in California [where some] churches were fined over $3 million,” Staver added.
Those fines, according to the Liberty Counsel founder, will go away because of the injunction.
“We went to the United States Supreme Court twice and we got two victories, but those were temporary victories,” said Staver. “We field our third emergency injunction at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals – and after that they came back and said ‘We need to settle this case.'”
In addition to easing restrictions, California will pay $1.35 million to compensate a portion of Liberty Counsel’s time and expenses.