The last two years have not been good for the constitutional right of religious freedom. But maybe the tide is turning. A California Court of Appeal recently reversed over $200,000 in fines levied against Calvary Chapel of San Jose.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the church continued to hold normal services. The County Health Department retaliated by persuading a local Superior Court to issue an injunction against the church and contempt orders against two of its pastors.
The fines mounted as the church was still willing to test the strength of the constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion. The case moved to the California Court of Appeal where the church was represented by the legal firm, Advocates for Faith and Freedom.
The Appeal Court found that the charges against the church were:
“…facially unconstitutional pursuant to (because of) the recent guidance of the United States Supreme Court regarding the First Amendment’s protection of the free exercise of religion in the context of public health orders that impact religious practice. As the underlying orders which Calvary Chapel violated are void and unenforceable, we will annul the orders of contempt in their entirety and reverse the orders to pay monetary sanctions."
Unfortunately, Santa Clara County – the county in which the church resides – is not giving up. They are still attempting to enforce nearly $3 million in fines issued by the health department. They have taken their case to the federal court system, but Calvary Chapel attorneys are optimistic that these fines will also be dropped because of the very clear statement of reasons by the Court of Appeal.
"We expect complete victory in the end," attorney Mariah Gondeiro said.
Several cases worked their way through the system during the pandemic. Another big one, that was also resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court, involved Grace Community Church in Los Angeles County, pastored by John MacArthur. The settlements awarded Grace Community some $800,000.
Some of these bigger cases require highly sophisticated legal expertise. Organizations such as Advocates for Faith and Freedom ( ) and Alliance Defending Freedom ( ) have been formed by Christian attorneys concerned about the eroding religious freedom today. Many of them work for free.
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In 1996, Jack Chick wrote a tract entitled, "The Trial" that was a warning to Christians about how their religious freedoms could be at risk.
Description: A young girl is sued because she witnessed to her young friend. A humorous story that drives home the vital Biblical truth that Jesus is the only way to heaven.
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Another cause for optimism is the millions of parents that have suddenly discovered what the homosexual and Marxist agendas in the public schools are doing to their children. At the grassroots level, parents are raising public awareness and exposing “woke” school board members and administrators.
Some parents are engaging the battle and others are voting with their feet. Some of the larger school districts have lost 20% to 30% of their student enrollment for this fall semester. Parents are exploring numerous options such as home schooling, charter schools, and school voucher systems.
Decades ago, parents ignored the first seedlings of godless humanism and the lie of evolution in their schools. Now we have a ripe harvest of suicides, mental illness, epidemic depression, and homelessness.
But people need to understand that the true solution is not in political policy or legal decisions. It is in the Book (Bible) that was removed from the schools and ignored in most homes. People need to be told loud and clear that the freedom they have enjoyed came from obedience to the principles in the Bible.
Young adults once graduated from our families with a working knowledge of those principles. Chick gospel tracts always present a powerful message of salvation. But they can also help with the deficiency of Bible knowledge.
Several years ago, Jack Chick wrote a series of tracts covering important stories found in the Bible to help young adults better understand and remember some of the important Bible characters and their moral stories that God preserved for us in his Word.
Today, only 10 of those 41 titles are available in print for ordering – Unfortunately, we can't keep every title in stock – but you can still read all 41 titles for free on our website and you can share links to them for free with your young adults and friends.
These engaging stories bring the reader to a decision point… Will they choose to follow Christ?
Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of these Bible story tracts is that thy provide you an opportunity to have a discussion with loved ones by helping promote talking points about obedience to our Creator and the benefits thereof.
When you saturate a community – and the minds of teenagers – with Chick tracts, no reader will have an excuse when they stand before their Creator on judgment day.