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Calvary Chapel San Jose: Victory by Technicality

On Monday August 15, 2022, California’s Sixth District Court of Appeal ruled unanimously in favor of Calvary Chapel in San Jose, California, whom were defiant of the Covid tyranny imposed by both the state of California and Santa Clara County.

The ruling vindicates Calvary Chapel from having to pay $148K in penalties for the church and $48K in penalties for Pastors Mike McClure and Carson Atherley. The penalties come from the church’s defiance of California’s 25% capacity limitations with distancing requirements. The 3-0 decision cites the Supreme Court’s ruling in siding with Calvary in stating that the policies imposed were not neutral, thus unfairly targeting the free exercise of religion.

The Opinion of the Court stated the following conclusion:

We need not determine whether the November 2, 2020 temporary restraining order is unconstitutional with respect to the health order’s requirements for face coverings, social distancing, and submission of a social distancing protocol. Even assuming, without deciding, that the health order’s requirements for face coverings, social distancing, and submission of a social distancing protocol might pass constitutional muster, we cannot on this record uphold the sanctions imposed by the trial court. The trial court did not impose discrete fines for violations of the capacity limitations and the violations of the requirements for social distancing, face coverings, and submission of a social distancing protocol but instead imposed a single, aggregate punishment. We will therefore reverse the order of December 17, 2020 requiring Calvary Chapel to pay fines totaling $33,000 in its entirety.

As with most court victory, it comes with strings and technicality. Calvary Chapel was absolved of fines relating to the subsequent violations of capacity limitations and the courts holding the church in contempt for their refused compliance.

The Sixth District Court of Appeal did not rule on the constitutionality of the measures imposed by the state, but instead decided that the court acted with animus in contradiction to the SCOTUS ruling. Basically, the court said that the math behind the contempt fines was not calculated to where they could pinpoint which dollars were in violation for masking and which were for refusal for distancing requirements etc. Because the offenses were committed at the same time and a blanket fine for contempt was assessed, the court threw out the fines for lack of clarity.

Santa Clara County still intends to persecute Calvary Chapel for $2.3 million in fines relating to masking and other ineffective and tyrannous Covid restrictions. This remains an ongoing case in federal court. Realistically, the actions they have taken could span three years of litigation as this is just one battle. Calvary Chapel San Jose is represented by Robert Tyler, of Tyler and Bursch. Robert Tyler is also President and General Counsel of Advocates for Faith and Freedom, which has several other cases ongoing in California pertaining to various vaccine mandates. 

Why This Matters

Mike McClure could end up winning this battle yet losing the war as the municipality attempts to gut his congregation for millions. Even if he is triumphant over Santa Clara County, their fight could still be costly.

Calvary has two Sunday morning services in a sanctuary that seats 600, with balcony seating. They have six pastors, which includes their youth and Spanish-speaking pastor. They also have an affiliated Calvary Christian Academy, which was a private school that they established in 2011. Their church YouTube Channel is under 1000 views on most videos, which indicates a greater emphasis in person than online. They are not uniquely big, especially in comparison to states with greater megachurch mentalities like Texas. Mike McClure is most known for his defiance of Covid lockdowns, and he is not even the first Mike McClure that appears on a search. Simply put, there are probably tens of thousands of churches similar to Calvary Chapel San Jose all across America. They should not have been alone or even a minority in their defiance.

The churches who fought lockdowns have proven successful, with John MacArthur’s Grace Community Church reaching a settlement with California. It might not be profitable in the financial sense, but it certainly pays in the end for churches to have taken up the fight against lockdowns. In an era where church attendance is 74% of what it was pre-Covid, this church probably bucked the larger secular trend and took faithful believers from their cowardly counterparts.

Both churches would go on to assist those in obtaining exemptions from the jabs rather than shill it from the pulpit. Interestingly enough, the religious exemption letter on Calvary’s website contends that the jabs are gene therapy, inherently harmful, and were researched with fetal tissues—which is much bolder than others which maintain that the jabs were efficacious. This church was faithful in the little things and continued taking a stand as the issue escalated beyond lockdowns and masks to bodily autonomy.

They stood for truth when they were in the minority. As the tyrannous lockdowns and mandates have been revealed to be both costly, ineffective, and disastrous for our society, their defiance has been vindicated. This legal victory might be one of technicality, but it marks where the momentum against Covidstan is going now that the tides have seriously turned.

Ask yourself, has your pastor recanted any positive statements pertaining to the Covid jabs? The evidence is overwhelming that they are neither safe nor effective and have murdered hundreds of thousands. Have they repented for their compliance to Covid tyranny, whereby they declared Caesar head of the Church over Christ?

If they do not upon confrontation, then can they truly be trustworthy in the next battle?

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