The DOJ has sent a warning to Governor Newsom that his plan to reopen California needs to include churches:
CBN NEWS – The Department of Justice is warning California Governor Gavin Newsom that his plan to gradually reopen the state discriminates against churches.
In a letter to the governor, the head of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division wrote that some in-person worship services should be allowed.
Eric S. Dreiband pointed out that – unlike churches – restaurants, malls, and other locations are being allowed to reopen gradually. This puts an “unfair burden” on churches and discriminates against religious freedom through “unequal treatment of faith communities,” the letter reads.
“Simply put, there is no pandemic exemption to the US Constitution and its Bill of Rights,” the letter states.
As of now, Gov. Newsom has allowed the reopening of “lower risk” workplaces like clothing stores, florists, and sporting goods stores under Stage 2 of his plan. This places churches in Stage 3 of the state’s reopening plan, which could be weeks or months from now.
Dreiband’s letter to Gov. Newsom doesn’t threaten a lawsuit but comes across as a warning to The Golden State.
“Religion and religious worship continue to be central to the lives of millions of Americans. This is true now more than ever,” the letter said. “Religious communities have rallied to protect their communities from the spread of this disease by making services available online, in parking lots, or outdoors, by indoor services with a majority of pews empty, and in numerous other creative ways that otherwise comply with social distancing and sanitation guidelines.”
While we are only in phase one of our reopening in North Carolina, there are some churches already holding Masses outside under the guidance of the governor. While that only works in good weather, it at least shows that our governor is including churches in his reopening plan, which hopefully will become even more relaxed on Friday.
If California has done so well fighting off the coronavirus, unlike New York, why is there the double standard with churches? I get that churches can get pretty crowded and I’m betting after months with no church, many will certainly want to be there. But it’s up to the churches to make their environment as safe as possible.
I’m glad the DOJ is standing up for churches here. Hopefully Newsom heeds their warning and allows them to begin reopening soon.