Three Northern California churches sued Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday in relation to their battle over coronavirus restrictions. The churches seek to abolish the governor’s ban on singing during religious worship services.
Several attorneys filed the suit on behalf of Calvary Chapel of Ukiah, Calvary Chapel of Fort Bragg, and River of Life Church in Oroville. It seeks to block Newsom’s July 1st ban. Newsom prohibited singing in houses of worship to limit the spread of COVID-19.
“Places of worship must, therefore, discontinue singing and chanting activities and limit indoor attendance to 25 percent of building capacity or a maximum of 100 attendees, whichever is lower,” new guidelines read.
The “Worship Ban”
Attorneys, who have previously led lawsuits against Newsom’s ban on in-person services, filed the suit. They indicated that the governor banned singing in churches but not anywhere else. They say the governor “has been unwavering in his support of massive protests” against police brutality.
“On or about July 2, 2020, following implementation of the Worship Ban, when asked to explain whether people should heed Newsom’s mandate and avoid large crowds and gatherings, Newsom refused to place the same restrictions on protesters and explained ‘we have a Constitution, we have a right to free speech,’ and further stated that ‘we are all dealing with a moment in our nation‘s history that is profound and pronounced … Do what you think is best,’” the lawsuit said.
“Singing and praying aloud as a body of Christ is an integral part of worship for believers and plaintiffs,” the suit pointed out.
“Let me be clear, the state does not have the jurisdiction to ban houses of worship from singing praises to God,” said Robert Tyler, one of the lawyers filing the suit.
According to Fox News, California has also faced several other lawsuits alleging first amendment infringement. This happened after the state mandated that houses of worship must close amid the COVID-19 pandemic. It, therefore, led the governor to allow them to reopen on May 25th at limited capacity.