In a video released via Twitter, Pastor John MacArthur of Grace Community Church in Los Angeles, California, is calling pastors and church leaders across America to reopen their churches despite COVID-19 restrictions by "leftist and secular government officials" who seek to "shut us down."
"Today's current crop of politicians are trampling on the Constitution and on the resolve of citizens to demand their rights under the pressure of a manufactured fear," MacArthur said in the video. "The reality is that the COVID data just doesn't match the government's COVID narrative."
MacArthur, who is in the midst of an ongoing legal battle with California officials for holding church services amid coronavirus restrictions, claimed that people have a high rate of surviving the disease.
"You have a 99.99% chance to survive COVID," the California pastor claimed. "It's just not what they're saying it is."
"That absolutely does not warrant shutting down anything but especially, absurdly and arbitrarily, churches that have a special protection from the Constitution," he said. But "at the same time, leaving open abortion clinics, strip clubs and marijuana dispensaries."
MacArthur noted that a double standard has been evident among the Health Department, which has kept churches shut while allowing protests and riots to continue "without regard for the mandated health and safety ordinances."
"This is obviously targeted discrimination," he added. "Leftists and secular government officials have no tolerance for biblical Christianity, so they're using COVID as an excuse to shut us down."
MacArthur further explained that he had initially followed the restrictions when the virus first hit the state, but Grace Community Church members gradually returned on their own because "they didn't believe the narrative the local government and media were giving them."
Towards the end of the video, the octogenarian pastor stressed the Constitution's defense of religious freedom and the biblical mandate for the church to meet.
"This is a watershed moment in America," MacArthur asserted. "We have been granted by God the freedom to meet as a church, and that is protected by the Constitution. We need to be the church, not only because we're free to be the church, but because we're commanded to be the church by the Lord Jesus Christ, the head of the church."
"This is a time of all times to meet as the church. Open your church. The church is essential," he concluded.
The "Church is Essential" petition was released by the Falkirk Center in addition to MacArthur's video.
This article originally appeared on Assist News Service.
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