Supreme Court to California County: Allow Churches to Meet Indoors

The U.S. Supreme Court last month temporarily barred California from enforcing COVID-19 restrictions on indoor worship services but allowed the state to limit indoor capacity to 25 percent and continue to ban singing and chanting under Tier 1, pending a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

But Santa Clara County ordered churches to remain closed, despite the decision. The county argued that its temporary ban on indoor worship services should remain in place, claiming that it didn’t treat churches differently than secular organizations.

The Christian Post reported that the high court wasn’t persuaded by this argument and ordered the county to stop enforcing the ban on indoor worship. The county must allow churches to meet indoors at 20 percent capacity. An excerpt:

The Supreme Court’s three liberal justices dissented.

“This outcome is clearly dictated by this court’s decision in the South Bay United Pentecostal Church v. Newsom,” Friday’s Supreme Court order states.

In the South Bay case, the justices ruled that the state could cap indoor services at 25% of the building’s capacity and continue to ban singing and chanting.

In a concurring opinion of the South Bay case, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that he understands the state’s arguments that singing indoors poses a heightened risk of transmitting COVID-19 but doesn’t believe the state had scientific reasoning for wanting to ban in-person worship entirely when some churches are large and cavernous.

Some Americans are concerned that even with a vaccine, the government will continue to restrict our freedom, using the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse.

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