Check out these requirements in Los Angeles County for a church to worship, then give a one word summary. Perhaps repression?

Grace Community Church by Chris Yarzab is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Check out the lengthy list of specific requirements imposed by the County of Los Angeles before a church can worship on campus. Pastor John MacArthur describes the requirements placed on Grace Community Church.

After I go through the requirements ponder how you would summarize these restrictions.

Ponder whether the net effect is to strangle worship.

Then ponder whether the net effect is an intentional strategy.

9/14/20 –HillFaithFaithful Disobedience: Here’s The Absurdly Detailed California Covid Orders to Prevent Churches From Meeting to Worship Indoors – A video embedded at the link gives the first four minutes of Dr. MacArthur’s sermon on 9/13/20. He received a rousing round of applause at the beginning.

He mentioned a few of the requirements placed on the church in order to hold any worship services. The following comments aren’t exact quotes, but are close:

  • No inside meetings at all.
  • Preregistration of every person who comes on the property.
  • Every person entering the campus is to have their temperature checked upon entry.
  • Every person on campus must maintain six-foot separation. This includes the parking lot.
  • The 6 foot separation applies to the bathrooms. (light laughter)
  • Every other parking spot must be left unused.
  • Pathways must be marked to direct traffic on campus to keep people separated.
  • Church staff must monitor those marked paths to make sure people stay inside the marked lines.
  • Everyone on campus must wear a mask at all times.
  • Restroom monitors must make sure people maintain six-foot separation inside the restrooms. (No, that isn’t a misquote or something I made up. Really.)
  • Signs must be placed on campus outlining all the requirements with extensive disclosure on all social media of those requirements.
  • Restrooms should be used during the worship service to minimize the rush after services over. (laughter)
  • No hymn books.
  • No communion.
  • No offering containers.
  • No singing.
  • No hugging.
  • No shaking hands.
  • Disposable seat covers changed between worship services (more laughter).
  • Services need to be shortened (hearty laughter; if you are at all aware of Dr. MacArthur you know why this is amusing).
  • With those requirements the capacity for meeting under a tent would be limited to somewhere between 350 and 400 people. (Note: attendance is probably in the range over 3000 every week. This is a essentially a reduction in size of the congregation by about 90% and that is even when meeting outside.
  • Anyone who comes in contact with someone outside their family unit for more than 15 minutes is required to self quarantine for two weeks.

Dr. MacArthur correctly identifies compliance with those requirements would essentially shut the church down.

In addition to being obviously unconstitutional, he indicates “…this goes against the will of the Lord of the church. He calls us to gather.”

I don’t know how you would characterize those requirements. Sure does seem to me like it is intended to prohibit the church from ever meeting on campus. Given the size of the congregation and the lack of any outdoor facility that could hold that many people, the impact of full compliance would be to shut down Grace Community Church.

County officials will have to explain whether closing GCC is their deliberate intention or is merely the fully expected unintended consequence.

Oh, those county regulators will be coming after your church next.

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