Don Crawford

Don Crawford

President of Crawford Broadcasting and the voice of the STAND Podcast

The First Amendment: Religious Freedoms – John MacArthur: Grace Community Church

One tough Christian, this Reverend John MacArthur. Strong and alert, uncompromising, unwilling to bow the knee to Baal, in his case Governor Gavin Newsom, California, who with his radical, progressive (anti-American?) cohorts shut down in-person worship in churches in all of the state of California, with the excuse of COVID.


No way, said MacArthur and on to court he went. He sued Newsom and his cronies and won. The Supreme Court of the US ruled in his favor and in-person worship began again.


The Supreme Court sent a reminder in their decision that the Constitution and the First Amendment still mean something, still are the law of the land. And, that is especially so with regard to the First Amendment which in addition to is absolute and unconditional guarantee of freedom of speech, press, assembly and petition, guarantees the free exercise of religion without any prohibition on the part of any governmental authority. Newsom and his cronies obviously forgot that. They allowed secular interest in-person privileges, but not religious, not churches. Freedom of religion still means something even at the Supreme Court level.


MacArthur and Grace Community Church refused to comply with Governor Gavin Newsom’s order for churches to refrain from indoor services, allegedly because of COVID. Resulting, in a suit by Grace Community Church against Newsom and the state of California, which the church won. MacArthur was so ably represented by THE THOMAS MORE SOCIETY, one great legal authority deeply concerned with the protection of freedom of religion. As a result, the LOS ANGELES COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS voted to authorize a $400,000 payment to the church and the state of California also agreed to pay $400,000, total $800,000. None of that settlement will go to the church or MacArthur. All of it will go to the Thomas More Society for its expenses in its litigation and for the continuation of its great legal work on behalf of non-profit entities. Good for you, John MacArthur, good for you.


California and Newsom finally paid attention to the meaning of US Supreme Court decisions. In February, SCOTUS reprimanded California, telling it quite frankly that it could not enforce a ban on indoor worship because of the COVID pandemic. Newsom obviously never got the message but the LA county, where Grace Community Church is located, did. As a result, it modified its health order banning such indoor worship and lifted the restriction after the ruling. To be sure, it was anything but voluntary, but at least, the county complied even if the state did not.


One of the ironies of this COVID matter for Grace Community Church was that both John MacArthur and his wife contracted COVID-19. But that was last winter. He also stated that there were individuals in his church, congregation members, who also contracted the disease. Nonetheless, the issue for him and his parishioners was the freedom of worship guaranteed by the Constitution, COVID notwithstanding. They, as mature adults and American citizens, were free to exercise their constitutional rights, which of course unconditionally guarantees the right to worship in-person, in church, or to congregate anywhere with others as the worshipper would see fit. Strong, freedom-loving Christian people, don’t you think? Cesar, in this case, Newsom, would not have any right to exercise any authority to shut down Christian worship (religious freedom at work) no matter the circumstances. Great legal work, Thomas More, and Reverend MacArthur, you have the thanks and the total respect of the Crawford Broadcasting Company and me. You did a great legal service not only for your good church, but for all sincere and uncompromising Christians everywhere in this once great Country.


MacArthur won, but not money, but rather the protection of the integrity of his church. Said the Pastor regarding the settlement and its amount ($800,000):


“Nothing will come to us (Grace Community Church) except the affirmation that the Lord preserved and protected us through this.”


And for sure He did, John. HE saw your stance, your faith, your strength, your willingness to put all on the altar and HE was with you every step of the way.


Franklin Graham and so many others congratulated MacArthur and his church on their stand and their legal victory. They with him agreed that this decision and settlement was an “answer from the Lord and to the prayers of his people.” Would other Christian leaders have such courage, and take such stands especially in the radically progressive, seemingly anti-Constitutional state of California and the Governorship of Gavin Newsom. We believe it is the duty of every Pastor and Priest to stand up for religious truth and freedom and to never let Caser, the secular often atheistic authorities prevail when it is clearly the duty of such leaders to:




We Christians should be reminded of the admonition in proverbs 19:21 which states clearly:




My people, says the Lord should worship together. In fact, where two or three of you gather to do that:




Says the Lord. Hands off Newsom, stay out of God’s business. You make enough of a mess on your own.


How needy California is, and especially Christian California. It seems that far too many churches compromise, kneel, and will not fight the fight of faith. Too many Pastors do not stand strong in the things of the Lord, provide robust, positive and never-yielding leadership and the church of our Lord Jesus Christ suffers. Thank God, however, there are still great Pastors, great churches, great congregations that are on fire, deeply committed and determined that the religious freedoms of the Constitution and its First Amendment, including worship, speech, press, assembly and petition will never be taken away. John MacArthur and Grace Community Church are the epidemy of that!


Thank you again, good sir, for your example, your leadership and the aggressive and challenging way in which you and your church have fought the fight of faith. May all who love the Lord as you do follow your example and in the face of an angry, anti-Christian secularism which seems to prevail so often in California and spreading more so:



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