LODI, Calif. (KTXL) -- San Joaquin County’s interim public health officer issued an order prohibiting public assembly at a Lodi church after officials say church members defied a previous request.
According to the city of Lodi, the police department had previously requested that Cross Culture Christian Center members suspend their meetings since it “violated the County’s public health order prohibiting gatherings.”
The new order was issued Friday and applies to Bethel Open Bible Church, which is where the Cross Culture Christian Center had continued to hold meetings, according to officials.
Police first noticed the members meeting on March 25 and approached them to inform them they were violating the stay-at-home order. On March 29, the city says officers noticed they were still meeting.
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“We hold truly to the belief that the church should be meeting as much as possible,” Pastor Jon Duncan told FOX40.
The church’s attorney sent the city of Lodi and the Lodi Police Department a cease and desist letter citing their religious freedom had been violated.
“We simply believe that constitutional rights are not suspended by a virus,” said attorney Dean Broyles.