Che Ahn, the pastor of Harvest Rock Church in Pasadena, California, may soon be preaching from jail.
The city prosecutor threatened to press criminal charges against the pastor and the congregation of Harvest Rock Church. That’s right, folks — criminal charges.
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Harvest Rock has been holding indoor worship services in violation of Governor Gavin Newsom’s China Virus orders. The congregation was also observed not wearing masks and not complying with social distancing rules.
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“All of these are violations of the law,” prosecutor Michael Dowd wrote in a threatening letter to the church.
The governor also says churches may not hold indoor services – and Christians may not sing songs or recite the Lord’s Prayer. Even home Bible studies are covered under the order.
“Your compliance with these orders is not discretionary, it is mandatory” Dowd wrote. “Each day in violation is a separate violation and carries with it a potential punishment of up to one year in jail and a fine for each violation.”
The city then threatened to arrest the entire congregation.
“Any violations in the future will subject your church, owners, administrators, operators, staff and parishioners to the above-mentioned criminal penalties as well as the potential closure of your church,” Dowd wrote.
The city’s prosecutor also threatened to permanently shut down the church building citing an “unprecedented and catastrophic health emergency.”
“Your future compliance is expected,” Dowd said.
Mat Staver, the founder of Liberty Counsel, is representing Harvest Rock Church. He said he was stunned by the threat of prison.
“Criminal activity,” Staver said on The Todd Starnes Radio Show. “Let that sink in. You can face up to one year in prison and if you do it again and don’t stop, another year in prison. That is stunning that this is happening in the United States of America.”
Staver pointed out that city leaders are perfectly fine with people protesting in the streets.
“The same prosecutor has turned a blind eye to the thousands of protests that have paraded the streets and caused damage in the city of Pasadena,” he said.
He said the crackdown on Christian worship in California is similar to what has happened in Marxist countries where government leaders shut down and padlocked the churches and then jailed Christians.
“The church is the template,” he told Todd Starnes. “The church is the bastion of liberty and that’s what oppressive regimes don’t like.”
Staver said that the city of Pasadena “has crossed the line from discrimination to persecution.”
Regardless, Ahn plans to be standing behind the pulpit on Sunday and the church members will be seated in the pews.
“He counted the cost way before this happened,” Staver said. “They will continue to worship.”
“You might be able to padlock the doors, but you can’t padlock the Gospel,” Staver said.