In the latest attack on the Church, democratic California Governor Newsom prosecutes Harvest Rock Church of Pasadena and its leaders for exercising their constitutional right to worship. Founding Pastor Ché Ahn, among every other member of his congregation, is now facing criminal charges.
Harvest Rock Church and Harvest International Ministries, represented by Liberty Counsel, is now initiating a federal civil complaint against the governor. “We are trying to take a prophetic stand for what we believe is right,” says Pastor Ché in a recent service. “We are in a battle for the soul of America,” he declared.
On August 13, the church received a letter issued by the Criminal Division of the Pasadena City Prosecutor’s Office stating “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 letter infringes upon the first amendment by interfering with the exercise of religion. Liberty Counsel issued a statement arguing that “Americans have a right to religious freedom, unencumbered by the demands and edicts of government officials.” Liberty Counsel is also representing pastors and churches in five states who are now suing their governors in separate federal lawsuits.
“After preaching in some of the most dangerous countries in the world, Pastor Ché Ahn is being persecuted right here in America for sharing the Gospel,” says Mat Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel.
Governor Newsom has clearly shown a lack of consistency when it comes to enforcing the rules. With the BLM protests widespread, where thousands of people gathered in close contact on the streets of Pasadena, the city has not enforced any form of social distancing measures nor issued any warning or criminal sanctions against the protestors. This week, members of BLM blocked entrances of St. Francis hospital where two California deputies were rushed to undergo emergency services after being ambushed in their patrol car. BLM members chanted, “Y’all gonna die,” in yet another incident of unaddressed BLM violence and disregard for Covid 19 by Governor Newsom. Staver, therefore, argued that “government entities may not discriminate against one constitutionally protected right while promoting another.”
Governor Newsom has deemed churches as “non-essential,” while allowing liquor stores, marijuana dispensaries, and abortion clinics to operate with minimal restrictions.
To many, the church serves as the foundational aspect of daily life. People go to church to seek God’s guidance and to seek fellowship and spiritual growth. The church also provides a setting for members of the community to connect. It is where children are taught morality and ethics and how to become contributing members of society. Through charity organizations, the church provides financial support for the unfortunate and helps individuals in dire situations get back on their feet without seeking any publicity or attention. Thus, it is the backbone of every society. In a nation birthed with religious freedom, the threat of criminal sanctions against religion evokes memories of tyrannical regimes.
“Please be in prayer for Pastor Ché Ahn and each of the brave pastors facing fines, arrest and imprisonment for worshipping God. These Christian servants go to bed each night not knowing if they will be taken from their families, their children and their flocks,” Mat Staver wrote in a newsletter.
The case, Harvest Rock Church and Harvest International Ministry v. CA Gov. Gavin Newsom, is currently on appeal.