SAN JOSE (KPIX) — Mike McClure, lead pastor of Calvary Chapel San Jose, was greeted by a large and largely mask-less group of supporters when he emerged from a contempt of court hearing Thursday.
“I wanted to thank everyone for being here today. Honestly, all we’re trying to do is minister to our community like we’ve always done. It’s sad that the state is battling the church and the church is battling the state,” McClure said.READ MORE: Gov. Newsom Signs Executive Order to Halt Pandemic Evictions Through June
Leaders of Calvary Chapel San Jose are locked in a protracted and costly legal battle with the Santa Clara County Public Health Department. Pastor McClure says the county’s health order banning large, indoor worship services violates his religious freedom.
“What made American great was our trust in God and I still think this is a great nation,” Pastor McClure told his supporters and members of the media gathered outside the courthouse.
A restraining order was slapped on the church where Sunday services have often attracted parishioners in the hundreds with few wearing masks. The judge found the church in contempt of court back in November for repeated violations of that restraining order.READ MORE: Armed Guards, Volunteers Join Police to Patrol Streets in Oakland's Chinatown
Thursday’s court appearance was for a contempt hearing and it provided an opportunity for Calvary’s legal team to present its defense.
“We had our day in court and you know what? We’re not done. We’re still fighting,” said Robert Tyler, lead attorney for the church.
Calvary’s legal team did not complete its defense prior to court adjourning Thursday evening. The contempt hearing will resume Jan. 28.MORE NEWS: COVID: California Moves to Boost Vaccinations in Underserved Communities - 'We Have To Be Bolder'
Calvary Church has racked up more than $1 million in fines during its protracted court battle.