California churches defy worship restrictions

Worshippers, many without masks, filled Grace Community Church’s 3,500-person-capacity sanctuary in Sun Valley, Calif., on Sunday. Pastor John MacArthur on Friday wrote that his church would not comply with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s renewed coronavirus restrictions, arguing that the government overstepped its authority by regulating worship. The Democratic governor halted reopening plans in several counties two weeks ago following a surge of COVID-19 cases. Other churches in the state met on Sunday in defiance of restrictions, as well.

What are courts saying? The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday voted 5-4 to deny an appeal from Nevada churches asking the justices to strike down a 50-person cap on worship services in their state. Nevada has allowed casinos, restaurants, and other businesses to operate at 50 percent capacity. Justices Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh, and Neil Gorsuch all wrote sharp dissents. “There is no world in which the Constitution permits Nevada to favor Caesars Palace over Calvary Chapel,” Gorsuch said.

Dig deeper: Read Steve West’s report in Liberties about Newsom’s singing ban.

Editor’s Note: WORLD has updated this report since its initial posting

This story originally appeared in WORLD. © 2020, reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.
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