It looks like Calvary Chapel Bible Fellowship (a.k.a. “The Barn”) and Pastor Clark Van Wick are ready to beat back the heathens in Temecula’s Wine Country. According to a Press Release by Advocates for Faith and Freedom, Calvary Chapel is preparing a Federal Lawsuit to challenge Riverside County’s ban on all churches in the designated Wine Country area.
The dust-up pits Calvary Chapel and area Christians against the local Governments, the Wine Country Vintner’s Association and others in the area who support the current Land Use restrictions for the designated zone. At issue is that CC “The Barn”…while grandfathered in for their existing location…wants to do an expansion and those additions are prohibited under the current statutes. Calvary Chapel, Wick and their supporters appeal to religious freedom and invoke Chick-fil-A in their recent public relations battle…and according to the article:
“Hundreds of area Christians and church members are expected to attend the planning commission hearing. As a sign of thanks, the church will serve Chick-fil-A to all those who attend during the lunchtime break.”
Calvary Chapel, who is being assisted and apparently represented by the Advocates for Faith and Freedom, while invoking Chick-fil-A, seeks to frame the controversy as an attack on religious freedom rather than free speech and views the Riverside County zoning restriction as a violation of the church’s right to assemble.
Supporters of the current restrictions via zoning laws in the designated Wine Country area frame the issue as economic and not religious (excerpt from a local news blog Temecula City Beat):
“The reason the county had proposed disallowing churches and other non-wine-related institutes is plain and simply a matter of a demand on land. It’s way more expensive to start a vineyard, produce wine and sell it than it is it to build a nonprofit, bottom line.”
A hearing is set for Wednesday, August 22, 2012 beginning at 9:00 am at Temecula City Hall.
My thoughts: Calvary Chapel has no problem playing hard-ball when it suits them. This is evidenced by Chuck Smith suing Mike Kessler over millions of dollars in the CSN Radio debacle. Calvary Chapel has no problem suing each other…as evidenced by Jeff Smith suing Chuck Smith. In the recent Calvary Chapel Idaho Molestation Lawsuits, Chuck Smith had no problem lying about having “no control, no responsibility, no authority” in the greater Calvary Chapel Movement so as to avoid liability for Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa and CCOF in those suits (now Calvary Chapel “Association”) only to learn that Chuck Smith made all the changes to the “Movement” recently and knowing the long history of the obvious…Chuck Smith exercises control, responsibility and authority, if it is something he wants done in the Movement/Association/Denomination.
This example of Calvary Chapel “The Barn” putting on the brass knuckles with Riverside County and the Vintners will be framed as Paul the Apostle asserting his rights as a Roman citizen and as a battle for religious freedom etc. Got it. If a family of child molestation victims who were introduced to their pedophile abuser through Calvary Chapel connections files a lawsuit against the holy Calvary Chapel…it’s “an attack from the devil!” and “greedy lawyers and families looking for a payday!” etc.
In this specific instance, I think CC has a legit beef with Riverside County…and ironically the same hard-ball tactics they decry in dealing with abuse in their Association…are the same hard-ball tactics they use when they feel their “rights” are being violated by their Governing Authority (Romans 13:1). I guess Calvary Chapel has a hard time submitting to the Authority over them in this instance since they think an injustice has occurred against them
Some will see the point I’m making…to those hardened CC’ites…I’m speaking Greek in a Chinese accent again.
Note to those in Riverside County who are supporters of the current zoning restrictions…even though I agree with CC on this one…if they appeal to how “good” of an organization they are…read this blog. Calvary Chapel may be right on this one, but they are very wrong on a number of issues including how they cover up and support child abusers in their Camp and how they tolerate abuse, corruption and injustices from the top (Chuck Smith) on down.
Links to two articles that deal with the Calvary Chapel vs. Riverside County controversy here: