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COVID: Calvary Chapel San Jose Defies Judge's Contempt Of Court Ruling; Plans Continuing Indoor Worship Services

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) – The day after a judge ruled a San Jose church in contempt of court for violating county COVID-19 health orders, Calvary Chapel San Jose plans to continue with indoor services.

Calvary declined an on-camera interview with KPIX 5, but a spokesperson confirmed the services listed on their website will go on as scheduled for Sunday at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. The website also lists a Christmas Eve service at 5 p.m.

A video recording posted to YouTube, dated December 6, features pastor Mike McClure delivering an indoor hour-long service, to an applauding congregation.

McClure emerged from court in downtown San Jose Tuesday, to about 200 cheering supporters, many of whom were not wearing masks.

Calvary Chapel San Jose
Calvary Chapel San Jose on December 9, 2020, following a contempt of court judgement against the church and pastor Mike McClure over violations of COVID-19 health orders. (CBS)

Santa Clara County Judge Peter Kirwan found Calvary in contempt for continuing to hold indoor services with hundreds of people without masks or social distancing, despite a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction.

"You got to either follow God or you're going to follow man. I have to follow what God's word says," said McClure on Tuesday.

County Counsel James Williams also declined an on-camera interview Wednesday, and instead referred to a written statement released on Tuesday:

"Given the current surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, it is absolutely vital for all individuals and entities to urgently and fully comply with all public health orders," Williams said. "These public health orders are literally a matter of life and death; they are designed to reduce COVID-19 transmission, avoid serious illness, and save lives. This entity's ongoing violations put the whole community at risk, and they won't be tolerated."

The Rev. Jethro Moore, a pastor at Emmanuel Baptist Church, and the president of NAACP Silicon Valley Chapter, pointed to COVID-19 data indicating the pandemic disproportionately affects Latino and Black communities, many of whom work front-line essential jobs in foodservice and grocery stores.

Moore is currently ministering to a small congregation online.

"Because they are not caring about their neighbors and that's concerning to me," said Moore.

"Christians love to talk about judging. So it's not about judging, it's about examining the fruit that they have. He says you can look at them and tell by the love they show, one for another. Love means sacrifice. Sacrifice means not willing to maybe meet for another three months until we get this under control."

Calvary plans to appeal the case in federal court, and has secured a hearing for December 17.

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