Limits on attendance for reopening churches 'a travesty,' says attorney

Friday, May 29, 2020
 | 
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

empty pews in churchAn attorney representing a group of California churches says state guidelines for reopening houses of worship reflect "grotesque" and unequal treatment by the government.

Churches in northern California are forging ahead with their lawsuit against their Democratic governor. The lawsuit, filed by Pacific Justice Institute in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, seeks to restrain Governor Gavin Newsom's "unconstitutional treatment of religious assemblies in his executive orders."

"We are continuing our lawsuit against Governor Newsom on behalf of churches in Calaveras County, California, who want the same freedom and right to reopen as secular businesses and schools and other institutions," says Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute.

Dacus

"The fact that the governor issued some guidelines for churches to reopen is really a false pretense of being sensitive to churches in that it outrageously limits churches to no more than 25% of their capacity or 100 people, whichever is less," the attorney adds.

The guidelines also recommend worshippers wear masks, limit singing, refrain from shaking hands or hugging, avoid sharing prayer books or prayer rugs, and skip the collection plate. These guidelines were issued in recent days, and follow a set of guidelines issued on May 4 that laid out four stages for reopening the state.

Calaveras County, in the midst of Stage 2, was permitted to open schools again for educational purposes, but churches had to remain closed down until Stage 3.

"This is a travesty for small churches and large churches," Dacus continues. "We will continue our litigation until we have this grotesque, unequal treatment of churches corrected in federal court."

KPIX TV in San Francisco further reports that houses of worship and their parking areas also would need to be reconfigured to maintain social distancing, and the sites would need approval from county health officials before going ahead with the amended religious services.

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