California Churches Respond To Newsome’s Ban On Singing.

A few weeks ago we reported that California Governor Gavin Newsome had banned “singing and chanting” during religious services.

As we noted at the time:

So while people will march, chant, and sing in protest, if you do that in a church, you can face criminal and civil charges.

Three churches in California have filed suit against the state and Newsome.

Three northern California churches are suing Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and other public health officials over a ban on singing and chanting in houses of worship during the coronavirus crisis.

Several advocacy groups, including the American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ), filed the federal suit Wednesday on behalf of Calvary Chapel of Ukiah, Calvary Chapel Fort Bragg and River of Life Church, in Oroville, Calif.

The lawsuit alleges Newsom’s order prohibiting singing and chanting in places of worship violates the churches’ constitutional rights.

Newsom’s order issued on July 1 says, “Places of worship must therefore discontinue singing and chanting activities.”

The churches say the order unfairly targets places of worship, over other institutions, after the governor supported protests over George Floyd’s death and police brutality that included chanting during the pandemic.

Other churches are said to be preparing similar lawsuits.

According to the lawsuit (seen below):

On or about July 1, 2020, at the time Defendants announced the new Worship Ban prohibiting singing and chanting in places of worship, all dine-in restaurants/bars/wineries, casinos, family entertainment centers, day camps, hotels, shopping malls, childcare centers, schools, or music, tv and film production remained open and were not subject to the ban on singing or chanting.

Following Newsom’s more recent order issued on or about July 13, 2020, worship services, together with protests, fitness centers, offices for non-essential actors and personal care services, as well as day camps, hotels, shopping malls, childcare centers, schools, and music, tv and film production are permitted to remain open in the counties in which Plaintiffs are located. Singing and chanting, however, is only banned in places of worship.

Therein lies the problem. As Newsom allows and even encourages protests were people sing and chant, he is banning singing and chanting as a means of religious expression.

The Sacramento Bee reports:

Numerous lawsuits have been filed over portions of the governor’s stay-at-home order and other restrictions, and judges so far have largely rejected requests for restraining orders or injunctions, saying the state had broad authority in dealing with public health emergencies.

Generally speaking, that is true. The state does have rather broad powers when it comes to pandemics and the spread of disease.

However, courts across the country have ruled that applying one standard of compliance to one group and not applying the same standard of compliance to another group is unConstitutional.

Newsom simply cannot say “go out and protest – yelling, singing and chanting – and we support you, but if you are singing and chanting in a church, you are breaking the law.”

It is a shame that groups have to waste time, energy, and money to file cases like this, and at the same time, it is a shame that taxpayers are paying to defend such suits.

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