Take note: Believers won't be muted by guv's order

Tuesday, July 7, 2020
 | 
Steve Jordahl (OneNewsNow.com)

youth worshipDespite being ordered not to do so, some pastors in California vow to continue to making a joyful noise to the Lord during church services – and they have the backing of an attorney who argues they're on solid constitutional grounds.

California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) has banned singing or chanting in church in response to a rise in the number of reported COVID-19 cases. The 14-page order, issued on July 1, states:

"[Places of worship must] discontinue singing (in rehearsals, services, etc.), chanting, and other practices and performances where there is increased likelihood for transmission from contaminated exhaled droplets. Consider practicing these activities through alternative methods (such as internet streaming) that ensure individual congregation members perform these activities separately in their own homes."

The governor's guidelines also limit church attendance to 25% of building capacity or 100 people, whichever is less.

Pastor Stephen Feinstein of Sovereign Way Christian Church in Hesperia, northeast of Los Angeles, has been trying his best to care for his flock and be a good neighbor – but he says this crosses a line.

"When he's going to say you can't sing, at that point we draw the line," the pastor tells OneNewsNow, "because singing is a command from God – and Caesar cannot tell us in what way and in what manner we obey God."

Feinstein admits he's frustrated with the obvious double standard when it comes to who does and who does not have to comply.

"It's getting harder and harder to justify this in our minds when we saw that they gave just full-on approval to protesters standing in the street, two feet from each other, shouting at the top of their lungs," he shares.

Feinstein says it is, however, in Newsom's political DNA to issue such repressive restrictions.

"Democrats, by and large, believe in big government," the pastor notes. "They believe they have the authority to control the everyday actions of people and the economy, and I think that we are seeing the fruit of that in the decisions that they're making."

"First the state told us when to worship. Now they are telling us 'how' to worship. We have been patient, and safe … even wearing masks. Our church will sing to the Lord Sunday. The heavens declare His glory – and so will we."

Dr. Paul Chappell, pastor
Lancaster Baptist Church
(during an interview with Todd Starnes last week)

Attorney Brad Dacus of Pacific Justice Institute says Newsom's guidelines are clearly unconstitutional.

"This violates the First Amendment rights, the free exercise rights, the free speech rights of churches as well as the equal protection [guaranteed under the Constitution]," says Dacus. "The hypocrisy is blatant, the violation of our constitutional rights is obvious, and the science simply isn't there."

Columnist and radio host Todd Starnes notes that Newsom's office hasn't indicated how it intends to enforce the ban. But he asks: "Can you imagine the optics of National Guard troops storming into California church houses and arresting choir members for singing 'A Mighty Fortress is Our God'?"

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