Well, $2,150,000 to be precise.
The state negotiated a settlement to reimburse legal fees of $1,600,000 for religious discrimination efforts against South Bay United Pentecostal Church and $550,000 for religious discrimination efforts against Father Trevor Burfitt.
Both settlements also come with a permanent injunction forbidding the state from imposing religiously discriminatory rules on any houses of worship anywhere in the state anytime in the future.
If you recall, South Bay Pentecostal had to go to the United States Supreme Court three times, three times, before the state finally realized they were not allowed to engage in blatant, intentional, irreparable religious discrimination against people of faith.
Running total of legal fees
This is on top of a permanent injunction and $1,350,000 in legal fees to attorneys for Harvest Rock Church and Harvest International Ministry.
The state has now collected three permanent injunctions.
Running total of your tax dollars consumed by the state of California to reimburse legal fees for the state’s religious discrimination:
- 1,600,000 – South Bay United Pentecostal Church
- 550,000 – Father Trevor Burfitt
- 1,350,000 – Harvest Rock Church
- 3,500,000 – running total so far
That does not count the massive amount of staff time the state devoted to their unconstitutional efforts to stop free exercise of religion.
Additional settlements in the future
There will be more settlements in the future. The Thomas More article mentioned below indicates Grace Community Church and Pastor John MacArthur will be in the Los Angeles Superior Court later in June filing a motion to lift the injunctions against the church.
The next step by GCC will be to seek reimbursement for legal fees. Article says there is a multiplier available for violating constitutional rights. I’m not familiar with such multiplier effect so I will keep a close eye out for a settlement.
I had not previously heard of the case by Father Burfitt. What that tells me as there are likely other cases around that have been in court which are also going to result in an injunction and significant reimbursement for legal fees
For further reading
A number of news articles have described the $2M settlements.
For more information, check out article at the Thomas More Society website on 6/2/21: Religious Liberty Triumphs Over California Governors Covid Prompted Overreach.
If you want some entertaining reading, check out the actual injunctions in the settlements. Be forewarned it is dense reading, yet quite informative (yeah, yeah, go ahead and pray for me that I find settlement agreements interesting to read) :
- South Bay United Pentecostal Church, et al. v. Gavin Newsom et al. – – Judgment Entering Permanent Injunction, Awarding Attorney’s Fees, and Dismissing Action with Prejudice
- Father Trevor Burfitt, v. Gavin Newsom et al. – – Stipulation Regarding Final Judgment Entering Permanent Injunction, Awarding Attorney’s Fees, and Dismissing Action with Prejudice