COVID-19 restrictions crack down on California churches
Earlier this month, California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a ban on in-person worship in an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Worship practices and performances, according to the state’s Department of Public Health, “[P]resent an increased likelihood for transmission…through contaminated exhaled droplets.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also claimed that singing at services has proven to spread the virus, saying that transmission could come from the “emission of aerosols, which is affected by loudness of vocalization.”
In response to the ban, three northern California churches — Calvary Chapel in Ukiah, Calvary Chapel in Fort Bragg, and River of Life Assembly of God Church in Oroville — have gone to federal court to challenge the state’s ban. The churches argue that the ban violates constitutional rights to freedom of speech and religion while also outing out religious services over recent protests.
As part of their suit to underscore singing in a place of worship, the churches cited Scripture, saying “The book of Ephesians in the Bible commands that Plaintiffs ‘be imitators of God’ and ‘speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.'”
Back in March, Newsom issued an executive order that prohibited all in-person worship services. Churches were permitted to reopen in late May, but during the first week of July, the state issues the temporary ban on indoor singing and chanting.
By: Maytinee Kramer