02:01 GMT01 November 2020
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    Earlier, Los Angeles County moved to hold John MacArthur, Grace Community Church pastor, in contempt of court after hosting three indoor services in August in defiance of a court order that his church must comply with California's coronavirus restrictions.

    Senior Pastor John MacArthur of Grace Community Church in Los Angeles, California, revealed in a Friday interview that he had told President Donald Trump "any real, true believer" of Christianity would only vote for him in the November elections, reports Fox News.

    Trump had reportedly called Pastor John MacArthur after the latter released a statement entitled “Christ, not Caesar, Is Head of the Church”, vowing to continue indoor services, despite LA County moving to hold him in contempt of court for persisting with the gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    MacArthur claimed Donald Trump had thanked him for “taking a stand” against local officials seeking to prevent him from holding such services.

    Donald Trump wears a prayer shawl during a church service
    © AP Photo / Evan Vucci
    Donald Trump wears a prayer shawl during a church service

    Underscoring the “conflicting ideologies” between the platform of the Democratic Party and their candidate, former vice-president Joe Biden, and a true belief in Jesus Christ, the pastor of the evangelical megachurch told the Falkirk Center at Liberty University that he had conversed with Trump about the upcoming November elections.

    "We love God, we desire to honour him, and upholding righteousness in a society is what a church is supposed to do… So I said, any real, true believer is going to be on your side in this election because it's not just an individual, it's an entire set of policies that Christians cannot, in any way, affirm."

    ‘In Conflict’ with Scripture

    MacArthur claimed he explained to Trump that it was unacceptable for Christians to vote for Joe Biden or any other Democratic candidate, as it would be “in conflict” with Biblical scripture.

    "We talked a little bit about why -- certainly from a Biblical standpoint -- Christians could not vote Democratic… Because there's no way that a Christian can affirm the slaughter of babies, homosexual marriage, or any gross immorality. No way we could stand behind a candidate who's affirming transgender behaviour... these things aren't even political for us... these things are Biblical,” said the pastor in the interview.

    On 25 August Judge Mitchell L. Beckloff of the California Superior Court issued a ruling denying the county a temporary restraining order against the church, while affirming the county’s right to enforce its own health restrictions.

    "The L.A. County Board of Supervisors has decided to continue their unconstitutional attack against Pastor John MacArthur and Grace Community Church. The government attorneys are essentially asking the court to hold the church in contempt for being open for worship last Sunday. Pastor MacArthur is standing firm that church is essential and has no plans to yield to this tyrannical Board," Jenna Ellis, attorney for MacArthur, was cited as saying by Fox News.

    The next scheduled hearing on the original lawsuit filed by the church against the county and the countersuit filed by the county against the church is slated for 4 September.

    Government officials had been forced to turn to court in an effort to ban public gatherings at the church.

    While the congregation had not been shown in recent livestreamed services, with the latter reportedly focusing on the pulpit areas and musicians, people attending the gatherings have posted footage and pictures of worshippers. They claim that thousands of people flocking to the gatherings have failed to wear face masks and have disregarded guidance on social distancing amid the pandemic.

    Poll Data

    As the November elections draw near, and in the wake of the Democratic and Republican National Conventions held recently, a new Reuters/Ipsos poll puts former Vice President Joe Biden at 47 per cent to President Donald Trump's 40 per cent among registered voters.


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