In Los Angeles – a city inside a state buckled with COVID-19 restrictions including that of no worship services to be allowed and no indoor dining – crowds filled the streets after the Los Angeles Lakers claimed the NBA title after defeating the Miami Heat.
“I think none of us are going to go to sleep early tonight,” Mayor Eric Garcetti told reporters just after 10 p.m. “What a year it’s been, and I think Kobe’s passing at the beginning of this year reminded us the Lakers are one of the spiritual hearts of this city. And boy, could we use this good news in what has been such a tough year.”
The mayor did not criticize the crowd for their lack of social distancing, just weeks after his city issued a cease-and-desist letter threatening the arrest of John MacArthur, Senior Pastor of Grace Community Church, after they held a worship service.
MacArthur said, “God has not granted civic rulers authority over the doctrine, practice, or polity of the church.”
“As His people, we are subject to His will and commands as revealed in Scripture,” the statement read. “Therefore we cannot and will not acquiesce to a government-imposed moratorium on our weekly congregational worship or other regular corporate gatherings. Compliance would be disobedience to our Lord’s clear commands.”
According to Mayor Garretti, only one arrest was made at the celebration, but it was not related to violating COVID-19 restrictions.