Ventura County Issues Restraining Order Against Church for Rebuffing Health Orders

Ventura County Issues Restraining Order Against Church for Rebuffing Health Orders title=
(Photo: Godspeak Calvary Chapel Thousand Oaks / Facebook)
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Source: County of Ventura

On Friday, August 7, 2020, the Ventura County Superior Court granted a temporary restraining order requiring Godspeak Calvary Chapel and Pastor Rob McCoy to adhere to statewide and local public health orders requiring church services to be conducted outdoors with masks and social distancing and/or online. 

A further hearing on the matter is scheduled for August 31, 2020 and the temporary restraining order will remain in effect until that time.

Godspeak Calvary Chapel and McCoy, its pastor, have repeatedly held large, indoor worship services which violate current Health Orders issued by the State Public Health Officer and the Health Officer of Ventura County.  These orders are aimed to mitigate the further spread of COVID-19 during the current global pandemic. 

“Indoor gatherings, including indoor church services, are prohibited by the state at this time due to the increased person to person and community transmission leading to increased COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Churches can have their services outdoors and/or host virtual services,” said Public Health Director Rigo Vargas. “COVID-19 continues to spread from person to person and at gatherings. It is very important to follow the State’s guidance, so that the most vulnerable in our community can be spared from the disease. Churches and other community groups play a valuable role in the wellness of our County. We encourage people to stay connected, but to do so safely.”

In counties like Ventura, which are on the State Monitoring List due to concerning rates of disease spread, the health orders prohibit indoor gatherings for a number of businesses, activities, and events to protect the health and safety of residents from contracting COVID-19. 

The orders prohibit indoor gatherings for places and events such as gyms and fitness centers, non-essential office buildings, malls, personal care services, hair salons and barbershops, protests, and worship services. 

Despite these orders and notifications from Public Health to cease indoor services and to move services outdoors or to host services virtually, Godspeak Calvary Chapel and Pastor McCoy insisted upon holding services indoors, without requiring masks or social distancing. 

Pastor McCoy has publicly stated that the church would not cease indoor services absent court intervention.  The County and its Health Officer were therefore compelled to seek relief from the court, to protect the life, health and safety of Ventura County residents.

“The best way to gather at this time is virtually or outdoors in accordance with state orders and guidance. The more we can work together to follow these guidelines the quicker we can get back to enjoying activities indoors,” added Vargas.

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a-1597095002 Aug 10, 2020 02:30 PM
Ventura County Issues Restraining Order Against Church for Rebuffing Health Orders

Just curious Rob, what makes your church so special? All these other houses of worship (who worship the same God) are keeping their followers safe and practicing social distancing. You can worship in your car, your house, outside, 6ft away from others. So why are you so special that people must gather inside your building? Me thinks you have your own type of God-complex and were missing those offering baskets and are using the media to your advantage to buy a new suit or car or whatever the "church" needs.

Mas Gaviota Aug 10, 2020 03:10 PM
Ventura County Issues Restraining Order Against Church for Rebuffing Health Orders

"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. ... But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen." Joshua Ben Joseph AKA Jesus, Messiah, King of Kings, Son of Man, Lord and Savior, the Good Shepherd ect

RHS Aug 10, 2020 04:22 PM
Ventura County Issues Restraining Order Against Church for Rebuffing Health Orders

Pitmix I assume this comment is meant as dry irony. But, unlike Las Vegas, what happens in Thousand Oaks doesn't stay in Thousand Oaks. These people will not stay in the church and suffer alone when their convictions become disease. I will not go there but their stuff will come here. They are selfish, ignorant and self-righteous nuts.

a-1597102335 Aug 10, 2020 04:32 PM
Ventura County Issues Restraining Order Against Church for Rebuffing Health Orders

Religion is such a trigger in this part of the Left Coast. You can predict the types of comments that will follow any article about persons enjoying or celebrating their own personal relationship with their faith. Stomach churning to have to read these predictible follow-up posts. I am sorry some became wounded by someone else's religion. I wish they would back off- and follow their own advice they fling at religious followers: make their attacks on religious practice in private and not use them as badges of their own public wokeness. To be snide and dismissive about those who do exercise their religion, is doing what they think the religious followers are doing to them -judging lives from afar with one group allegedly holding themselves out to be more superior than the other. Nonsense. But this does remind one ofa few other apt biblical proscriptions: taking the mote out of your own eye before attempting to take it out of another, judge not lest you be judged, let he who is without sin cast the first stone, and of course do unto other as you would have them do unto you. There is wisdom in religious tradition.

SantaBarbaraObserver Aug 11, 2020 07:38 AM
Ventura County Issues Restraining Order Against Church for Rebuffing Health Orders

Someone is a little confused by the ideals of religious freedom. Freedom of religion also means freedom from religion. But the "saved" and the "righteous" cant help themselves. They must force their chosen dogma down the throats of everyone else... I'm sorry but if you dont see that as the problem, then you are a part of the problem. Live and let live, right?

Byzantium Aug 11, 2020 08:52 AM
Ventura County Issues Restraining Order Against Church for Rebuffing Health Orders

Sounds like you equate " the religious" with Mask Karens. Sounds like a boundary issue as well. No reason you need to feel victimized by those you claim are prostylizing against your wishes. Just walk away and don't be your own victim. In fact make that your new religious mantra - you can't be a victim without your own consent.

Justavoice Aug 10, 2020 08:40 PM
Ventura County Issues Restraining Order Against Church for Rebuffing Health Orders

Time for the godless left to chime in how the Christians are crazy.
I bet if they did contact tracing (which the dictator of California promised by now, gruesome newsome.) no one would have contracted it at that church.
Remember you can eat at in n out and use there restroom which is filthy but can’t worship with a mask on. 8 our of 10 people don’t even know they have the virus. Meaning it’s pretty harmless...unless you been eating too many cheeseburgers and have a heart problem which happens to be the number one killer. But nooo keep eating your heart out but don’t worship.

Ahchooo Aug 11, 2020 09:08 AM
Ventura County Issues Restraining Order Against Church for Rebuffing Health Orders

I don’t hate on people for gathering to worship. I resent them for gathering indoors, in close proximity to one another during a pandemic that is spread by exactly that behavior. If they feel protected by their deity, fine, but it is unchristian of them to risk exposing others, which they will do as they move through other aspects of their lives.

a-1597166265 Aug 11, 2020 10:17 AM
Ventura County Issues Restraining Order Against Church for Rebuffing Health Orders

420722 - Once again, you've missed the point. Seems like you did intentionally for some reason. Any way, no one is upset about people going to church. We're all upset about them doing so INDOORS with no mask, no distancing, thereby violating the health orders and putting their families and friends and neighbors and fellow residents at risk of contracting the virus. Try to focus please.

3P14159 Aug 11, 2020 06:39 AM
Ventura County Issues Restraining Order Against Church for Rebuffing Health Orders

There are those who actually LIVE their beliefs. They are the folks who pass smoothly and quietly through life. We sense who they are. Their light is from within and is not amenable to such sophomoric stunts.

This type of GRANDSTANDING is an attempt to make up for what is lacking inside. These people are an empty drum pretending not to be empty.

SantaBarbaraObserver Aug 11, 2020 07:32 AM
Ventura County Issues Restraining Order Against Church for Rebuffing Health Orders

Its long past time to tax churches. We can call it a "Fee" if you prefer but its time to bring these institutions up to modern standards. The least they can do is to pay their fair share so that we as a society dont have to pay for the continued miss-deeds of the charlatan preachers and the poor unsuspecting victims, I mean followers...

Byzantium Aug 11, 2020 09:20 AM
Ventura County Issues Restraining Order Against Church for Rebuffing Health Orders

It is long past giving away even more land to tax-free public housing projects and demanding others make up the difference since the public budgets keep exploding. Religious institutions provide supportive, small community social services for those who choose become members that more than compensate for any claim of lost property taxes. Religious institutions are constitutionally protected. Unending demands for tax-free subsidized housing is not. Not clear what more and more tax free subsidized housing for the windfall few are offering the community in return.

RHS Aug 11, 2020 10:07 AM
Ventura County Issues Restraining Order Against Church for Rebuffing Health Orders

Byz--so you are in favor of Shariah Law being enforced by that community? You want coerced coercion of "non-beliviers"? You would like to see a mandatory tithe for all people (which is what the tax break is in fact)? We need true separation of religion from rational government and we need them to give up their breaks and compete on an even keel with the ideas of political systems and democratic norms.

a-1597167224 Aug 11, 2020 10:33 AM
Ventura County Issues Restraining Order Against Church for Rebuffing Health Orders

RHS - everything starts out tax free - we only tax by consent. Therefore, I cannot follow your argument about imposing Sharia law on the US population. US Constitution protects bona fide religious institutions. Quibble the term bona fide and also quibble if sharia law is fundamental to the practice of Islam, or an auxilliary and voluntary incident of faith. Similar to keeping kosher is to Judaism. No need to resort to unfounded exaggerations to make a point. Just like with covid arguments. Or using Jimmy and Tammy Faye Baker to diss all Christians.

RHS Aug 11, 2020 01:08 PM
Ventura County Issues Restraining Order Against Church for Rebuffing Health Orders

10:33: I hope you have some ability to see your position objectively. You are simply saying that some religious practices are "correct" and others are not. This is the nub. You can say Shariah law is not part of Islam. I can say that agreeing to be taxed is part of Christ's teaching. Others can say that Jews should not segregate women from men. Etc. Your conceit in believing that you know the "true teaching" is the problem. Others don't think you do. So just keep this stuff out of governance.

a-1597162324 Aug 11, 2020 09:12 AM
Ventura County Issues Restraining Order Against Church for Rebuffing Health Orders

I'm tired of the 2 commenters who continue to make this story political. People on the right, left, and everywhere in-between have people of faith. I belong to a local church and our pastor has held outdoor worship and frequently asked people to keep their distance and stay safe. They also held virtual worship and parking lot worship in cars for those most vulnerable. This isn't about the "left hating christians." It's about faith leaders taking responsibility for their followers and urging them to stay safe. This pastor is reckless, ignorant, and self-aggrandizing. If he disregards people's health, what else will he disregard? I hope parishioners wise up and go elsewhere.

a-1597165395 Aug 11, 2020 10:03 AM
Ventura County Issues Restraining Order Against Church for Rebuffing Health Orders

They can if the people holding the parties continue. It is pretty hard to do if the parties are sporadic and movable. But any member of the community can seek an injunction against those who behavior constitutes a threat to their safety. You can try. Want to do it or is your 'question' more meant to be a sly comment?

a-1597207502 Aug 11, 2020 09:45 PM
Ventura County Issues Restraining Order Against Church for Rebuffing Health Orders

Jung would say the spiritual is an essential building block of a the healthy personality; along with intellect, sensation and emotion. Churches help explore this essential spiritual dimension of the human personality. They are not the only way, but they long have been a traditional way. Keeping all four parts of the personality in good balance doesn't mind reaching outside one's self for additional insights and help..

elderswimmer Aug 11, 2020 05:35 PM
Ventura County Issues Restraining Order Against Church for Rebuffing Health Orders

I am reminded of an old joke--which is very apt here---In the middle of a flood a man was trapped on a roof by the flood waters... A man cam by in a rowboat and said "Get in I'll save you." The man said no he waoud wait for God to save him. Much later a helicopter came over and said "We will put you in the chopper and save you." No he said--God will save me. The man drowned and went to the pearly gates. What is the matter with you? God sent you a boat and a helicopter why didn't you take his help?
Use your intelligence people. Mind the helping rules!!!!

a-1597207211 Aug 11, 2020 09:40 PM
Ventura County Issues Restraining Order Against Church for Rebuffing Health Orders

Buckwheat, Churches create a community, which is very valuable quality today. Church members do a lot more than simply "pray". They share, they care, they reach out and they are also places to be alone. Visit a church and learn what they are all about - try several because each creates a different sense of community. Not that you would want to join one, but at least make yourself knowledgeable about these very welcome institutions do offer many people's lives - and have provided an important role ever since people starting living together in larger groups. . They are meant to be a spiritual home for those who choose to participate. They 'should" be nothing; they simply are, and are the collective sensibilities of their members. Heard a saying recently - science explains how; religion helps to explain why.

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