Supreme Court Allows Indoor Worship in California

Permits certain restrictions while lifting others.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled late last week that California churches could resume meeting indoors. The divided decision still allows for the state to limit service attendance to 25% of capacity and enforce bans on singing or chanting. The court left the door open for churches to make a case that the COVID restrictions on singing and chanting are not being applied to everyone by the state.

The justices issued a variety of opinions with the decision. Justices Thomas and Gorsuch stated they would have allowed churches to reopen with no restrictions, noting, “if Hollywood may host a studio audience or film a singing competition while not a single soul may enter California’s churches, synagogues, and mosques, something has gone seriously awry.” Justice Alito agreed, with the caveat that he would have allowed the state additional time to present proof that the measures placed exclusively on indoor religious gatherings reduce the spread of the virus any more significantly than other “essential” activities.

Chief Justice Roberts was still inclined to show deference “to politically accountable officials with the ‘background, competence, and expertise to assess public health.’” But he stated that the indoor worship ban “appears to reflect not expertise or discretion, but instead insufficient appreciation of the interests at stake.” 

As the Lord Leads, Pray with Us…

  • For the justices of the high court as they issue rulings on cases regarding First Amendment rights.
  • For U.S. officials at state and local levels who are enforcing COVID mitigation strategies.
  • For the Supreme Court to be discerning in the cases it accepts for heaging.

Sources: SCOTUSBlog, Fox News


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