Heavy fines and a COVID explosion? This California church doesn’t care.

Faced with a court order and nearly 2 million coronavirus deaths in the state, a California church is still planning to hold indoor services for Christmas.

The church, Calvary Chapel in San Jose, has been cited on several occasions for violating local health rules that prohibit gatherings inside, including for religious services. But Pastor Mike McClure has so far refused to pay the fines or shut down his weekly services of 700 people.

He reportedly said he didn’t even care that the violations landed him in jail.

“I respect the judge and I respect what the law says,” he said at a press conference outside of a hearing earlier this month. “But there is a greater law. I must be told, you follow God or you follow man. I must follow what the word of God says.”

The church is currently advertising a Christmas Eve candlelight service on its website. It’s unclear how many people will attend, but the event page describes it as “family service” and encourages worshipers to “bring the kids.” The church did not respond to calls and emails seeking comment.

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