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The city of Malibu vows to thwart Kirk Cameron’s New Year’s Eve prayer event/singalong in Malibu, but the actor and evangelist says his sunset gathering will go forward.
As the Malibu Surfside News reported first on Tuesday, the 50-year-old evangelist and star of the 1980s sitcom “Growing Pains” is planning to hold a sing-in and “prayer for our nation by candlelight” at 4:30 p.m. Thursday. The exact location will be announced at 3.
Social media commenters have called Cameron’s gathering a super-spreader event.
City officials plan to stop it.
Without naming names, an email from City Hall on Wednesday afternoon stated the city “has been made aware of an unpermitted, planned event at a currently undisclosed location” in the city on New Year’s Eve.
“At a time when the pandemic is at its most dangerous level since it began, such a gathering would be reckless and dangerous,” according to the statement from Susan Dueñas, public safety manager. “Public and private gatherings are prohibited according to the Los Angeles County Public Health Order, and they put the Malibu community as well as first responders who may be dispatched to such events at risk.”
“The city and the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station are attempting to reach the organizer to inform them that they cannot hold an event in Malibu,” the statement continues.
“City code enforcement staff will be on call.”
Surfside News later confirmed the target is Cameron.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled earlier this month that Gov. Gavin Newsom’s restrictions on religious gatherings violated the First Amendment. The Los Angeles County Public Health Department responded by announcing that indoor religious services would again be permitted.
Cameron’s gathering, like others he’s hosted, would be outdoors.
Given the Supreme Court ruling, how exactly does the city plan to go after the actor and his religious gathering?
“From the city's perspective, and under the city's purview, it is not at issue whether this would qualify as a First Amendment protected religious service, which is indeed exempt under the county and state prohibitions on gatherings,” city spokesman Matt Myeroff explained to Surfside News.
“This is an unpermitted event. An event in the city requires a Temporary Use Permit and (the Cameron event) does not have one.”
Earlier this year, amid the pandemic, a group organized and held a Black Lives Matter protest at Webb Way and Pacific Coast Highway. Among the participants was then-Mayor Karen Farrer.
Surfside News inquired whether that group had to obtain a permit for its gathering. The city did not immediately respond.
Meanwhile, Cameron was back on Instagram Wednesday afternoon, where'd announced the gathering, to say it was going forward.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva has been cracking down on super-spreader events in the county.
“The goal of these enforcement actions is to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and the risk to our vulnerable populations,” he said in a statement.
But, so far, the sheriff has targeted “underground parties,” not people gathering in prayer.