Worshipers tracked, fined for worshiping file suit

Worshipers tracked, fined for worshiping file suit

Worshipers tracked, fined for worshiping file suit

A local church is suing Santa Clara County for tracking its members during the pandemic without their knowledge and without the proper warrants.

Going along with the "15 days to slow the spread," Calvary Christian Fellowship went to online services when the pandemic initially struck. But soon after, the church went back to normal, defying mask mandates, social distancing requirements, and all the rest.

Senior Pastor Mike McClure says the county, which sits in the heart of Silicon Valley, started tracking church members using their cell phones.

"They knew which phones went to who and which people had COVID that had come into the church," he reports. "They're tracking everybody walking into the church, no matter who you are. If you have your cell phone on, they're tracking you."

Pastor McClure says the county confirmed his suspicion that the mandates were not about health concerns when he was told no one was allowed to sing in church.

McClure, Mike (Calvary Christian Fellowship) McClure

"I can't believe you could tell us not to sing when the Bible is all about singing and worshiping God," he says. "You're telling us we can't openly sing and worship God? I am telling you I'm absolutely not going to enforce that. They went ballistic, saying, 'We'll see you in court. You're done.'"

But when the county realized they could not force the church to shut down, they tried to bury Calvary in fines.

"Social distancing, masking, if you were singing in church, if someone hugged someone else, they would write up a $5,000 fine and an additional $1,000 for someone who didn't have a mask on," the pastor recalls.

The church racked up $2.8 million in fines.

"I think we know now that this is spiritual. This isn't really about any kind of COVID disease," McClure concludes.

For unconstitutionally spying and tracking Christian worshipers through secretive "geofencing" using congregants' cell phone data, the church filed a federal lawsuit against the local government last week. Advocates for Faith & Freedom attorneys are seeking to nullify the fines and hold the county responsible for violations of the First and Fifth Amendments.