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Los Angeles mayor threatens to shut off electricity to churches that meet

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced last Wednesday that he is authorising the department of water and power to shut off, within forty-eight hours, utilities at houses, businesses and “large gatherings” that are violating health orders related to COVID-19.

Garcetti’s order came the same week that pastor John MacArthur of Grace Community Church in Los Angeles conducted several interviews and said his congregation would not obey a statewide order to stop meeting.

MacArthur delivered a sermon in late July and told the church’s members: “We must obey God rather than men.” Churches in multiple counties, including Los Angeles County, are prohibited by an order from Governor Gavin Newsom from gathering indoors.

“Tonight I’m authorising the city to shut off Los Angeles Department of Water and Power service in the egregious cases in which houses, businesses and other venues are hosting unpermitted large gatherings,” Garcetti said at a Wednesday news conference.

The order, Garcetti said, focuses “on the people determined to break the rules, posing significant public dangers and a threat to all of us.”

Attorney and Liberty Counsel founder Mat Staver on Friday said Christians in California “now have a choice – serve the Lord or have their basic utilities cut off.”

“Did you ever dream that Americans would have their water and power cut off if they dared worship God? It’s happening right now in California,” Staver said. As it stands right now in California, Governor Newsom has banned all worship for eighty per cent of the population, including home Bible studies and fellowship.”

“Liberty Counsel is working to bring these cases to the Supreme Court of the United States so that we can set the precedent once and for all – that no governor will be able to ignore the fact that religious freedom is free in the United States of America,” Staver concluded.

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