A Victory For California Churches

The Supreme Court just delivered two victories for California churches over blocking state COVID-19 restrictions imposed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Houses of worship have been treated far worse than some of the other businesses, included an attempted ban on singing and chanting indoors.

Two churches, South Bay United Pentecostal Church and Harvest Rock Church, filed lawsuits against Newsom, who made it abundantly clear that religions were being targeted and treated differently. California was the only state that went so far as to ban all indoor religious services, even when most retail businesses in the state were operating at 25 or 50 percent capacity.

The Supreme Court voted 6-3 in favor of churches and deemed Newsom’s orders ‘unconstitutional’ and violate protection of the free exercise of religion. The justices voted that the state could cap indoor services at 25% of a building’s capacity, but could not enforce a ban put on singing and chanting.

The double standards set by Democrats were also quite clear after California banned a single soul from entering churches, synagogues, and mosques, but allowed Hollywood to continue hosting studio audiences and filming singing competitions.

Six justices blocked Newsom’s “Tier 1” prohibition on indoor worship services while three justices had voted to grant an injunction to block all restrictions on capacity and singing. Delaying that injunction would give California 30 days to prove to the courts that churches are “essential” in stopping the spread of COVID-19. If they failed to present compelling evidence, the injunction would lift some of Newsom’s harsh restrictions.

The Supreme Court granted temporary relief, which will remain in place until the Ninth Circuit finishes its appeal consideration. They lifted the ban on the prohibition of indoor worship services but did not persuade the majority to block enforcement of all capacity caps or block the state’s prohibition on singing in the church. Then the church will have an opportunity to petition for full review and the Supreme Court will decide whether to take up the case.

“Finally, Governor Gavin Newsom’s total ban on worship has come to an end. A pandemic is no excuse for violating the Constitution. Until today, California imposed the most severe restrictions on places of worship. Not anymore. We will continue to press this case until religious freedom is totally restored,” said Liberty Counsel Mat Staver who praised the 6-3 Supreme Court ruling.

Any politician issuing “orders” that clearly violate the 1st Amendment should be removed from office immediately. It seems that Democrats have found a way to make unconstitutional orders then “fight” to remove them in the Courts. It was tragic that banning churches was ever in question.