May 20, 2020 | Lassen County Times | source
“Simply put, there is no pandemic exception to the U.S. Constitution and its Bill of Rights”
“DOJ tells Newsom to reopen churches”
“The U.S. Department of Justice has warned California Governor Gavin Newsom that his plan to reopen the state discriminates against churches and that “the Constitution calls for California to do more to accommodate religious worship,” and he places an “unfair burden” on them that violates civil rights protections through “unequal treatment of faith communities,” according to a statement from Liberty Counsel.
In a letter to the governor, Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband, the head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, pointed out that Newsom’s plan allows a variety of businesses to reopen in “Stage 2,” but does not allow churches and other houses of worship to reopen until “Stage 3.”
Dreiband stated that Newsom should allow some in-person worship under the current second phase of his four-part reopening plan. Currently, restaurants and other secular businesses are being allowed to reopen under social distancing guidelines but not churches, which are limited to online and similar services.
The letter also reads, “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.”
Religion and worship continue to be central to the lives of millions of Americans. This is true now more than ever. Religious communities have rallied to protect their communities from the spread of this disease by making services available online, in parking lots, or outdoors, by indoor services with a majority of pews empty, and in numerous other creative ways that otherwise comply with social distancing and sanitation guidelines … Simply put, there is no pandemic exception to the U.S. Constitution and its Bill of Rights,” wrote Dreiband.”
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