Grace Community Church, a Los Angeles megachurch, held in-person services Sunday for up to 7,000 people, going against a California coronavirus order prohibiting houses of worship from holding such events, Pastor John MacArthur told CNN.
The state order limits indoor attendance at churches and other places of worship to 25% capacity or a maximum of 100 people.
“When we look inside of your church, it is indoors, as you said, there’s thousand of people, there is absolutely no social distancing, there [are] no masks. Why not get creative, so you can obey, as you put it ‘god’s law,’ but also obey public health regulations?” CNN’s Brianna Keilar asked the pastor.
MacArthur thought the church would be able to obey the order by hitching a tent and a screen in the middle of a large patio to house the overflow of people. However, both areas got full and worshippers flooded the church.
“We don’t orchestrate this. This is a church. We don’t ask people to make a reservation to come to church,” MacArthur said.
While he did not plan on opening the doors to the extra people, he said he wouldn’t have people “standing outside in a mob.”
“We opened the doors because that’s what we are, we’re a church, and we’re going to trust those people to make adult decisions about the reality of their physical and spiritual health and how that balance works for each one of them,” MacArthur said. “Nobody’s forcing anything, they’re here because they want to be here.”
MacArthur said the coronavirus order against places of worship were “burdensome” and “not constitutional.” He added the order makes “no sense in light of the actual numbers of death” his church members have encountered.
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