California churches free to worship, within limits
by Lynde Langdon
Posted 2/06/21, 05:52 pm
Members of the San Diego–area South Bay United Pentecostal Church; Harvest Rock Church in Pasadena, Calif.; and some other California churches worshiped indoors Sunday after a divided U.S. Supreme Court set aside the state’s ban on indoor worship. The decision brought to an end a rule that closed churches but allowed retail stores, hair salons, nail salons, and Hollywood studios to open.
Can churches meet freely now? The court’s six conservative justices united in striking down the ban on indoor meetings but allowed California to impose a 25 percent capacity restriction on places of worship. The justices also declined to overrule the state’s bar on singing and chanting in services. But they indicated the churches involved could present new evidence that the state was not applying the remaining restrictions in a fair manner. Harvest Rock's pastor told his congregation Sunday they would continue singing.
Dig deeper: Read Steve West’s report in Liberties about the high court’s repeal of coronavirus worship restrictions in New York last year.
Editor’s note: WORLD has updated this report since its initial posting.
Read more from The Sift Sign up for The Sift email