Tags: Coronavirus | Religion | california | churches | covid-19 | justice department

Justice Department to California: Reopen Churches

piece of paper taped to the outside of a church says they will offer livestreams of the service
(Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 20 May 2020 07:30 AM

The Justice Department is telling California Gov. Gavin Newsom to take steps to permit in-person religious gatherings in the state.

The warning came in a letter from federal attorneys expressing “civil rights concerns” about the state’s coronavirus restrictions, Politico reported. Those restrictions prohibit in-person gatherings at houses of worship. The letter noted other sectors of the economy had been deemed “essential” and were permitted to stay open during the pandemic.

“This facially discriminates against religious exercise,” the letter said. “California has not shown why interactions in offices and studios of the entertainment industry, and in-person operations to facilitate nonessential ecommerce, are included on the list as being allowed with social distancing where telework is not practical, while gatherings with social distancing for purposes of religious worship are forbidden, regardless of whether remote worship is practical or not.”

Newsom has said the state could clear the way for the reopening of churches in the coming weeks as COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations go down.

Earlier this month, a federal judge ruled Newsom had the right to temporarily ban church assemblies in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The ruling came after a church alleged Newsom’s stay-at-home order violated constitutional rights to freedom of religion and assembly.

And the Justice Department maintained “reopening plans cannot unfairly burden religious services as California has done.”

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The Justice Department is telling California Gov. Gavin Newsom to take steps to permit in-person religious gatherings in the state. The warning came in a letter from federal attorneys expressing "civil rights concerns" about the state's coronavirus restrictions, Politico...
california, churches, covid-19, justice department
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2020-30-20
Wednesday, 20 May 2020 07:30 AM
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